Eleanor Abraham, 18, of Brookings, South Dakota, a senior at Brookings High School, founded and chairs a community service committee at her church that has conducted monthly projects included raising money to provide 20 beds for children in need, helping to collect cold-weather gear for more than 300 families, roofing a garage for a mother and her adult daughter, and delivering meals to senior citizens. In 2018, Eleanor attended a national church youth gathering in Houston, where part of her time was spent doing yard work for elderly people in a low-income neighborhood. “I was struck by how such a small effort on my part could make such a huge difference in someone else’s life,” said Eleanor.
When she returned home, she asked her pastor if she could form an “action team” of volunteers at church that would “connect people with time, talents, and monetary gifts to assist others.” Soon after, the “Face of Grace” committee was formed with the mission of performing one or more monthly acts of kindness. Eleanor’s committee, comprised of both students and adults, meets once a month to assess needs in the community and decide on projects to address those needs. One such project was a breakfast fundraiser for a nonprofit that buys beds for children who don’t have a comfortable place to sleep. Eleanor and her team raised $3,000, enough to purchase materials to build 20 beds. They then built, delivered and set up the beds in homes around their community.