Hi Everyone!! As most of you know I started up the “Little Leaders” series last year to shed some light on the little shining stars in our communities and so far it’s been amazing to see the positive response come in from everyone in support of these uplifting blogs and the number of emails that we’ve received sharing stories of Little Leaders in YOUR communities!! Our goal for 2018 (along with many others!) is to keep sharing these incredible stories coming because I am SO proud of all the kids out there who are doing SO much good and I believe they deserve to be recognized!! I want them to know THAT WE ARE SEEING WHAT THEY ARE DOING and we LOVE THEM! Kudos to the moms, dads and support system these kids have in order to live with such compassion and empathy! The point of this monthly feature is to spotlight these special little leaders and help them with their efforts and hope to encourage other kids, youth, and families to follow suit!
So without further adieu, our very FIRST, “LITTLE LEADER” of 2018 is REECE REICHELT!!
Reece’s mother reached and shared his awesome story with us and it’s no surprise that it totally blew us away and inspired us beyond words … but, at the same time, it also hurt our hearts. The reason WHY it hurt our hearts is that when we were reading a story on Reece by featured by The Province (read it here!) we found out that Reece was bullied so bad that he ended up switching schools. It’s so heartbreaking to learn that a boy with the sweetest intentions and biggest heart would be bullied. It’s time to crack down on bullying and no one should stand for this. This is exactly WHY we wanted to share with everyone just how AMAZING Reece is because the world should know this young man!!! Today we are going to allow his mother to tell his story, but first, we wanted to let you know that Team Jilly had donated $250 to Reece’s 2018 book collection in hopes to help spread the love even further this year. If you would like to donate, or, if you’d like to learn more about Reece, please follow this link!!
OH! AND … Reece JUST turned 11 yesterday so we also want to wish him a very HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!! Alright, I’m going to hand it over to Reece’s mom now to share his story with you!!
Reece is an 11 year with an old soul. He is an older brother to his little sister Gabriella who’s 5. Reece is a big book lover, a history buff, has a love for science and animals. He researches everything very thoroughly all the time. His mind never turns off lol.
3 years ago Reece wanted to make some donations to our local Christmas Hamper for kids in need. He has always donated a toy in the mall when we do our annual Santa visit. This time at the age of 7 he decided he wanted to challenge himself and get some extra toys for kids. I work at RCH in the NICU as an RN and Reece asked if I could get some help from other nurses to get some extra toys to donate. At our Christmas party that year I asked my co-workers on Reece’s behalf if they could bring an unwrapped toy to the party as Reece was collecting and would go to the site of the hamper to donate. That year with help from my co-workers, his own money he gained through chores at home, selling some of his toys he no longer used he was able to donate two large laundry baskets of toys. The following year approximately in November Reece was excited to collect again. We talked openly about what items kids would want. He mentioned books as he loves to read. I explained that was a great idea as books are missed as the focus is toys. We spoke about how a family would struggle to purchase a book if they couldn’t buy toys. Reece thought it was important to have their own book they owned as theirs. So in 2015 started the book collection. He had a goal of 50 books he exceeded well over 100 donations. Again my NICU team helped when they heard what Reece was doing, his classmates donated, our neighbors, family and again our family and Reece donated his own money too. From birth to teens we collected books. He dropped off his donations and asked for a tour of our Christmas Hamper asking all sorts of questions and how the program works. Books are free for families and don’t take away from the opportunity to get a special toy for a family.
In 2016 Reece decide he wanted to set his goal higher at approx 150 books. He again exceeded and collected 200 plus books. This time his sister who was 4 at the time and Reece was 9.5 decided that they didn’t need a Christmas gift from my aunt and uncle and cousins as they usually did. Instead, they asked for a donation to the book collection. Gabriella helped last year to pick out the young children’s books where Reece focused on novels for older children and teens.
As we approach another year Reece has been discussing for the last month ideas on how he can raise money to get more books. We thought of a small raffle. Where we would have a couple of special donations and people would purchase a ticket for $2-$4 depending on the prize they hope to win. Funds raised will allow us to seek the best deals on books so he can donate as many as possible. Reece is teaching his sister more and more about the process and they’re both eager to complete this year’s task.
Reece has always been one to donate and help where he can. Every Christmas he volunteers with the salvation army Christmas kettle ringing bells with my aunt. He did a bottle drive a few years back to help raise money to donate to his friend with CP for a specialized surgery in the USA. His latest fundraiser was created by himself with help of classmates this past June when they made pencil toppers from rainbow loom. They sold them for .25 a piece and raised over $70 in 3 days. They are donating these funds along with money raised during the Terry Fox Run for the Cancer Foundation. As you can see Reece loves to help!! At such a young age he’s done so much for so many people. He loves to help and wants everyone to feel happy. His little sister is following suit in her eagerness. – Courtney
THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your incredible son’s story with us, Courtney. Reece is truly an inspiration. WE LOVE YOU REECE!!
If you would like to nominate a Little Leader in YOUR community, please send us an email with all of the details including photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.