For just over a year, Chelsea Wilkinson has periodically been traveling to Vietnam with her husband, delivering wheelchairs to those in need with Hope Haven International.
She’s going back for a third trip next month.
And she’s brought her love for that initiative back to her classroom at the Christian Life Children’s Centre on Merecroft Road.
Her class, the Mighty Eagles, has been learning about the need for wheelchairs in developing countries around the world, and raising money to help the cause.
They’ve had bake sales and pizza parties and various other fundraisers throughout the year, but one little girl in particular has gone above and beyond in her efforts to help.
She was enjoying helping out at the bake sales and other fundraisers, but she felt like there was more she could do.
And so, 8-year-old Hailex Human and her grandmother spent many, many hours making homemade Christmas cards and ornaments to sell last fall. They went door-to-door in their neighbourhood and sold them at some of the various fundraising events put on by the children’s centre.
“I like giving,” Human says, simply. “It brings joy to people.”
She and her grandmother sold the hand made ornaments, along with an accompanying card, for $3 each.
“I don’t know how many we made,” Human says. “There were lots. One of my friends bought a whole box of them, but we had lots of boxes of them, so that was okay.”
Wilkinson says they try to deliver 100 wheelchairs each trip. But right now, they’re raising money for 200. At $250 apiece, that’s $50,000.
“It’s a lot,” Wilkinson says with a laugh, “but we’ve got a lot of people fundraising – there are 30 of us going this trip, which is pretty uncommon. Usually there are 11 or 12.”
Each wheelchair delivered to a child in need is also accompanied by a toy of some kind, which Human and her classmates have also been bringing in to pass along.
The class is keeping track of the fundraising progress by colouring in the wheels on the wall when they raise enough money to buy one. They are hoping to fill in 40 wheels, Human says.
But that’s when Wilkinson breaks the news to her.
“We actually need to do a lot more colouring,” Wilkinson says. “We need to colour all those wheels in, because we just had another fundraiser and got enough for all of them.”
Human’s face lights up. “What?” she asks excitedly. “That’s awesome.”
Because, like Human says, “If people keep giving, it’s going to be a really good world.”