Grace Holmes, age 8, rallied her fellow classmates in her school's CureFinders® campaign to help her 3-year-old cousin Ava, who has CF.
When 7-year-old Grace Holmes approached her elementary school with the idea of raising money for CF last May, her main objective was to help her 3-year-old cousin Ava, who has CF.
"When Grace learned that her cousin had CF, she just became so impassioned," said Kelly Holmes, Grace's mother and a longtime educator. "She wanted to do something — anything — but it had to be something she and her classmates could do. And CureFinders® was by far the easiest program I've ever seen for fund-raising."
Given the green light by Principal Brenda Steadman, "just like that, we were off!" exclaimed Grace, now 8, referring to how the Charlotte, N.C.-based school and its more than 900 students set forth on what was for many of them their first foray into philanthropy.
To get students excited about the campaign, the school hosted a CureFinders kick-off assembly on behalf of Ava, whose smiling, hopeful face was pictured on posters throughout the school. Grace, who had never spoken publicly before, volunteered to appear before the packed auditorium. "She stood on stage and addressed the crowd with confidence and poise," said her mother. No amount of pressure — or noise — could drown out her small voice or the passion she had for helping her cousin.
Next came a week-long rush of change collection, with the entire Bain Elementary student body engaged in a spirited jar wars competition. Mix in "a whole lotta heart," said Grace, and that's how the school managed to surpass its initial goal of $2,500 to reach nearly $4,400.
The top three fund-raising classes celebrated with pizza parties, and not surprisingly, Grace's class was among them.
But Grace's commitment and generosity didn't end there. After CureFinders, Grace turned her energies to GREAT STRIDES and Team Ava. Grace took the lead on designing her team's T-shirt, walked enthusiastically with her family at the Charlotte Chapter's Lake Norman walk site, and ultimately helped to raise $2,700 in just two years with GREAT STRIDES.
Grace understands the fight is not over, and she continues to dedicate much of her free time to raising funds and awareness for cystic fibrosis. This junior volunteer is already a leader.