Members of East High School’s Key Club saw an opportunity to change a fellow student’s life, and they’re making it happen.
Nick Mace, a senior at the Pueblo, Colorado high school, will graduate this year despite numerous medical complications in his life that result in regular seizures, which means he can never spend time alone, Fox 21 reports.
“There is not a time when Nicolas is not with someone who can help take care of him,” Mace’s mother, Mary Ruff, told the news site. “He’s almost 18, the boy needs some independence.”
The family found a solution – a dog named Maddy from the Pikes Peak Human Society – but could not afford to train the dog to work as Mace’s service companion. That’s when East High’s Key Club stepped in, partnering with the East High School Boosters Club to set up a GoFundMe page with goal of raising $3,500 for the training, food and supplies.
The fundraiser generated more than $2,200 from 23 donors in the first month, and is well on the way to meeting the goal.
This story demonstrates that learning the value of serving others does not need a big program or a big investment. Opportunities are all around us for those with eyes to see. Researchers at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture argue that “the moral and missional ethos of a school was reinforced through a range of practices, or routinized actions all oriented toward giving tangible expressions to the school’s values and beliefs.” The reward of helping others is catching.
“This is probably the most impactful project I have ever been a part of because I get to see how it’s actually going to help, in my community, in my school,” Key Club President Jacquelyn Arellano told Fox 21.
“You can’t put a price tag on what these kids did for another person,” club sponsor Janae Passalaqua said. “There is no better feeling than doing something for someone else.”
Mace suffered from bilateral club feet as an infant, and later developed Kawasaki’s disease, which led to multiple giant coronary aneurysms. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child, which caused his ongoing seizures.
“It has been increasingly worse seizures, increasingly poor short-term memory and even long-term memory is being affected,” Ruff said, adding that she’s grateful to students who stepped up to help her son do more on his own.
Mace, meanwhile, is pretty excited himself.
“She is just going to be there, like a friend,” he said of Maddy.
Teachers and principals working to strengthen moral and citizenship in their students will find information, strategies and lesson plans at the UK's The Jubilee Centre.