ASHLEY COOK: 2021 KID KINDNESS GRANT WINNER
6-year-old Ashley Cook of Hudson, N.H., is a young girl with a big heart.
This first grade student at Presentation of Mary Academy in Hudson loves Barbie dolls, playing with her friends and cheerleading. Our Y staff may know Ashley from Camp Create. She’s also taken swimming lessons and kids’ yoga!
What sets her apart from most 6-year-olds is her interest in doing good in her community. She has started a program to help those less fortunate in her community by creating “Socks in a Box,” care packages that she will give out. “I felt very sad about homeless people because they I want them to have a happy life. I want to help everyone because they should feel nice and feel kindness,” Ashley shared.
With the help of her mother, Ashley applied for a Kid Kindness Grant and was awarded funds to expand her project. This competitive grant process drew interest from around the country. “Ashley is a girl who lives and loves to play and have fun. She has an imagination that is boundless. In her world, her stuffed animals come alive and she is sparked by her love and compassion. This project is to make her world become a reality by paying it forward and caring about others. She has a spark that is going to turn into a flame to make this world better. We could not be more proud of her and her vision to care and help those in need,” Noel Cook, Ashley’s mother, shared. Noel is a Senior Accountant at the YMCA of Greater Nashua.
In her application, Ashley pitched her cause, “I am trying to be helpful to homeless people and I want you to have a great day. I am going to give homeless people some gloves, hats, mittens, socks and a blanket because they need to stay warm. I see people at the grocery market and on the street and sleeping on chairs at the mall. I will give them my box of socks with my parents helping me because they want me to be safe while I help people who are homeless. We will keep our box of socks in our car to give them out when we see someone who needs one. I also want to bring some box of socks to the soup kitchen to help families.” With the help of her sister and two friends, she has assembled “Socks in a Box” care packages and is ready to distribute them with the help of her parents. “We will have the boxes in our cars, ready to share with homeless people who look like they could use some help,” she said. Each box is hand decorated by the girls and contains socks, a blanket, a hat and gloves. Ashley has them marked specifically for a boy, girl, adult female and adult male. “I decorate them with happy pictures, like of the ocean with seagrass, starfishes, and the sun.” Through this grant, Ashley hopes to assist 50 people in the community with these care packages.
If you’d like to learn more about Kindness Grows Here, the nonprofit behind this grant opportunity, check here: www.kindnessgrowshere.com. The organization shares that they “foster kindness in the next generation of children in order to make the world a better place. Certainly, we will gladly support events, causes, and ideas that seek to spread kindness to adults. But, our focus is children because if we get it right with them, they will one day be the adults, and they will lead with kinder hearts and more compassionate souls, and our world will be better for it.”
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