By: Katie Sobiech
It’s not every High School girl’s dream to give up her Sweet 16th birthday gifts to benefit others. But that’s exactly what sophomore Dana McKinney at Revere High School did.
McKinney, who has been giving her birthday gifts to others for four years now, was touched by the story of Findley CLC students at the Love Akron Breakfast this past September. And it was then that she decided to give them a sweet surprise.
On December 19th she passed out gift bags to all 500 of the children at Findley.
And what a treat it was, as the majority of Findley students live in poverty conditions and 50% of the students speak English as a second language.
“You would have thought these kids were at Disney World,” Pastor Mark Ford, Director of the Love Akron Network, said of their gratefulness.
Inspired to Do More
“Dana was really moved by what she saw that morning (at the breakfast),” Ford shared.
So she didn’t just let that feeling fade away. She decided to do something.
“I went to the Love Akron breakfast with my mom to help out and I heard about the Findley and Adopt a School Project,” McKinney said.
“Some of the kids from the school came in. It was really cool. I thought it would be a great cause and decided to do something,” McKinney said.
Better to Give Than Receive
From there McKinney asked all of her friends and family members that their gifts be donated to the children at Findley CLC.
She ended up receiving $900.00 in cash and department store gift cards that she used to purchase all of the gifts. And once store managers at Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, and JC Penney in West Akron caught wind of the project, each donated additional funds and gift cards.
“We wrote each department store a letter explaining what we were doing. We talked to the managers and they gave us either another gift card, or discount. It was really nice of them to do that, I thought that was really cool,” McKinney said.
With this they bought items such as socks, mittens, hats and candy to put together treat bags for all of the kids.
“When we delivered the presents to the kindergarten class they were so cute. They were all very excited. It was a lot of fun,” McKinney said.
Ford refers to McKinney as a “Rock Star”.
And this seems to be just the beginning of great things for her, and the city that she dreams to touch in a meaningful way.
Pastor Mark Ford asked McKinney to become a committee member of the Love Akron Breakfast board, which she accepted and is very excited for.
A Great Example
McKinney has also supported Toys for Tots, The Bath Church UCC hats and gloves mission project, and Revere High School’s Student Council hat and mitten drive.
She has been actively involved in outreach projects within her community since she was a little girl.
Last August she was awarded the 2013 Summit for Kids Youth Award by Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry and the Summit for Kids Awards Committee for her outstanding contribution to children and youth.
What a great impact McKinney has already had on Summit County, and she hasn’t even graduated High School yet. She should be an inspiration to us all.
For additional details regarding the Findley Adopt-A-School project, please contact The Love Akron Network at 330-384-8124 or visit on-line at: http://www.loveakron.org/adoptaschool/.
If you have any story ideas, questions, or comments you can contact: Katie@akroneur.com.