Within a few weeks of accepting a generous amount of donated items from a kind-beyond-her-years fifth grader from Poland, hospital staff identified a need for it in the community.
The Community Outreach, Education and Support Center of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley received a call about one of our patients where Children’s Services had to get involved. There were 6 kids in the house, and they had absolutely nothing.
The staff put together a package of new blankets, winter hats, gloves, coats and other necessities, most of which came from donations from 11 year-old Alyssa Glaros and the center’s employees.
Alyssa had recently hosted a birthday party among her friends, and unbeknownst even to her parents, she included a note on the invitations she designed that said, “Instead of getting Alyssa a gift, please bring new blankets, gloves, hats, and toys for the Children’s Hospital.”
Kathleen Ashton, director of program integration and development at the center and Alyssa’s grandmother, said Alyssa came up with the idea all on her own. She said she wanted to help the kids in greatest need, so she asked what they could use most.
Kathleen, whose center educates and provides support for high-risk children with the most prevalent of chronic conditions in the Mahoning Valley, asked for new winter clothing items and blankets.
“We see lots of kids and families who are in need of the basics, and our bins tend to empty fastest in the winter time when it gets cold,” Kathleen said. “It’s not just a Christmas-time thing for us; it’s an all-year need.”
Kathleen said Alyssa, a student at McKinley Middle School in Poland, shies from the spotlight and likes to do things for people without a big fuss being made.
“She just hopes that because she did it, someone else will carry it forward and do it, too,” Kathleen said. “Wouldn’t you know, one of the girls at her party, Lauren, decided to do the same thing, and I understand some others in her class plan on following Alyssa’s lead, as well.”
Alyssa’s parents, Keith and Julie, have long recognized her generous nature. She routinely makes craft items and sells them to friends and family, and then donates the proceeds to the hospital.
“Alyssa is a very loving and giving little girl,” her mother said. “She is always thinking of others and how she can help. She wants to make sure that all children are being taken care of, and she wanted to be part of that. Alyssa had her share of visits to Akron Children’s emergency, and knows first-hand what a difference a little gift can make.”
Anyone interested in donating items to the hospital can contact the Volunteer Office at 330-746-8350.