Kierce Smith, 12, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a sixth-grader at Glasgow Middle School, has volunteered for a wide range of service projects in his community. He felt compelled to start helping others after seeing news reports about “all the bad things going on,” he said. “I wanted to be the light in the darkness.” When his school sought volunteers to plant a garden to grow herbs and spices that could be sold to local merchants, Kierce was one of the few students who answered the call. He brought in sand, prepared soil and painted planter boxes. When he saw senior citizens struggling with heavy sandbags in advance of a storm, he jumped at the chance to fill bags for them and load them into their vehicles.
After experiencing a “dry drowning” accident, Kierce joined a swim team to help spread awareness of the danger of dying after a water rescue. In addition, Kierce helped sort, wash and fold school uniforms that are donated at the end of the school year to families in need. He also has assisted an elderly neighbor with yard work and served as a counselor at a grief camp. He is hoping to volunteer at a homeless or animal shelter next. “I learned that even if there is no reward, it is rewarding to do the right thing,” said Kierce.