About nine or ten years ago, I met a young girl named Abigail Kelley. It was shortly after 9/11 that I decided to end working in the corporate sector and decided to work as an Americorps volunteer. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was meant to do- but I did know that I wanted my footprint to be one of change in this world. I was fortunate to get assigned to a youth center in a small town called St. Albans, in Vermont. The youth center was struggling. It had inconsistent hours, staffing, and funding, but it was well needed and youth came up and visited everyday. One of those youth was twelve year old Abigail Kelley. She was an incredibly resilient young girl. Her homelife was in disarray, and she quite often subbed as a mom.
She loved the youth center and became involved in most everything we did, and I slowly became another big sister. After some unexpected tragedy in her family, I became her official mentor so we could have time one day a week to focus on her. Much of my spare time went into my work with the youth in St. Albans, and Abigail was always at my side. She began going to meetings with me, writing press releases with me, and even grants. She was so willing to learn and always so full of appreciation. When she was a junior we drove to Maine so she could check out a college she was interested in attending. After she graduated, she attended the college and double majored in fire science and paramedicine. Now Abigail is twenty-two. When I was in ICU after getting hit, she drove down from Maine and checked in on me. Today, she returned to see me and held my hand during wound changes and cried with me when I stood and my wounds bled onto the floor.
Sometimes, we never know what seeds we plant during our actions with other people- when the seeds grow and bloom the gift is so great.
Today, she is a paramedic and lives in Maine, and I am so thankful that little twelve year old girl now stands as a strong and confident woman. I am blessed. Thank you little sister.