It’s no surprise that middle school students generally spend a large percentage of their time focusing on themselves. A recent national study showed that only 20 percent of students identified caring for others as their top priority – yet MCS students Sydney, Natalie, and Keira have managed to blow that statistic out of the water with their vision, determination, and hard work.
Keira Raack is a rising 5th grader at MCS, and her passion is to bring joy to people who are sick. “Both of my sisters have stayed in the hospital before, and it really made them feel happy when they received special gifts. I wanted to do that for others.”
Inspired by chapel guest speaker Jessie Simonson of 31 Bits Jewelry, Keira decided that she wanted to get moving on her passion and “make a difference” for Jesus in her world.
From there she established Cases of Love – www.casesoflove.com, an organization dedicated to sharing God’s love and smiles to children who are in the hospital. Keira individually designs and sews pillowcases. With a $20 donation, donors choose a pillowcase and attach an encouraging message to be given to a child in the hospital. The pillowcases are then delivered to local hospitals and the donations raised are given to Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF). With the help of her family, she quickly created her own website to spread the word, and things have been moving rather quickly ever since!
She continues to mobilize her peers at school to join her. In May, 20 fellow MCS students joined Keira at Fashion Camp at the Tustin Marketplace to learn how to sew pillowcases. Together the students created 28 pillowcases. Keira recently spoke at her grandfather’s church and hosted a booth at the PCRF Reaching for a Cure Run/Walk. To-date, Cases for Love has donated $2,445 to PCRF and, in May, Keira delivered 105 pillowcases to CHOC.
Amazingly, even with a vision this big, Keira has not encountered too many hurdles. “The biggest challenge for me so far has been focusing on the sewing. It’s hard work, and sometimes I get distracted!”
Read the feature news story on Keira in the On Faith section of the Newport Beach Indy!
Sixth grade buddies Natalie Ferdi and Sydney Shelton share a common bond in baking. They also have big hearts to serve people in need. Out of this commonality the girls developed a plan for “Bake to Save” – a new branch of support for Walk4Water, a non-profit organization that provides water wells in Africa in places with no access to clean water.
The gist of the project is that the girls bake items to sell at special events and then donate the proceeds back to Walk4Water. Their goal is to inspire other MCS students to start their own bake sales, generating proceeds for Bake2Save which will in turn support Walk4Water, multiplying their impact through numbers.
Even when faced with challenges, the students are committed to push forward with their vision. “It’s difficult right now because we are trying to design a website which is much harder than people think.”
Not only are they making a big difference on the other side of the world, Natalie and Sydney are receiving more than what they’re giving. “I feel really good and happy when we’re working on this project together. We both like to help other kids and we like being with each other,” shared Natalie.
Looking ahead to this summer, the girls are excited to continue fine tuning their baking skills and accomplish as much as they can to help people who desperately need clean water!
Read the full story in the LA Times about the MCS Difference Maker Grant Program!