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2nd Place Essay Winner: 9-14 Age Group

"Growing Stronger through Helping"

Lydia Werth
Sunset Elementary School
Alpena, MI

It is important to keep a community healthy. This can be done by giving our time to others. Some ways that I gave my time to others was raking leaves at a house for a lady who could no longer do it herself. Another way was by helping with bottle drives at my church. Also, I participated in a huge play that only happens every four years called The Nutcracker.

One day my church called and asked if my family would come and help rake leaves for a lady who needed help. We had to dress warm because it was cold and wet outside. It was getting dark quickly. When I arrived I was shocked at how many leaves there were. I could not see the grass anywhere. As I started to rake I realized that the leaves were so wet that they stuck to the rake and were hard to get into piles. There were so many leaves that everybody stopped raking and just grabbed handfuls to put into the garbage bags. I was lucky because I was chosen to jump into the bags to flatten the leaves. Good thing I had tall boots on. The yard was small yet in the end we had over 40 bags full of leaves. When I got done I was freezing cold but yet I felt good about what I had just accomplished.

At the end of summer, I auditioned for a play called The Nutcracker. I made it! My role was a Christmas Tree Angle and I got to dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. My family of seven was in the play together. There were about 150 kids from the community involved. We practiced for four months just to get it right. The play turned out perfect. The money that was raised was over $ 9,000 and went to eight different local charities. I learned that by giving my time, I can make a big difference in the community. I enjoyed doing it.

Even though I'm young and hearing impaired, I can still make a difference in the community. A hearing impairment shouldn't be an excuse to not help people. Hearing impaired people have a lot to offer to others. We know how it feels to have special challenges. It's especially important for young kids to learn how to support the needy people of society. That's because as they grow up into adulthood they will carry on what they have learned about charity.