Power of Children Award Winners: Grandpa Floyd Left Big Shoes to Fill
Every year since 2005, The Children’s Museum has recognized incredible youth who have impacted their communities with extraordinary service. The Power of Children Awards, inspired by the Power of Children: Making a Difference exhibit, awards these winners with a partial university scholarship to IUPUI, UIndy, or Butler University along with a $2,000 grant to continue their philanthropic projects.
- Kaylie Meehan
- Grade 12
- Hometown: West Terre Haute, IN
- Project: Grandpa Floyd Left Big Shoes to Fill
When Kaylie Meehan was just a sophomore, her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was moved into a care facility which Kaylie frequented for visits. She noticed that many residents in the nursing home didn’t receive gifts or visitors during the holidays. To honor her grandfather, a WWII vet, Kaylie created a project in his name to give back to older generations.
She began to speak with visitors and devise a plan to give back, but then, her grandfather unexpectedly passed, leaving her heartbroken and discouraged to carry on. Her community countered that, encouraging her to persevere. With that, she felt a stronger urge to honor and give in her grandfather’s name.
Friends, family, and teachers worked with Kaylie to deliver care packages to all the residents in the nursing home. She deemed the project, “Grandpa Floyd Left Big Shoes to Fill.” Shoeboxes upon shoeboxes were filled with snacks, socks, blankets, puzzles, and holiday cards. Furthermore, each resident received a gift and plenty of smiles and hugs.
According to Kaylie, “It is so important to show older generations that our youth support them, especially because some residents don’t understand how much they are appreciated.”
Now in its third year, Kaylie’s project has expanded to other facilities and has become a community-involved effort. Teachers recruit students to create cards, high school students have learned the value of volunteer work, and a myriad of nursing home residents have celebrated the holidays with a smile.
“It’s a big deal to see several vans of students with arms full of boxes and bags pull up to the entrance of these facilities: 100% student-led,” says Kaylie’s former teacher Melanie Beaver.
With her Power of Children Award money, Kaylie will continue to expand her efforts into other local nursing homes, especially those who care for World War II veterans, filling Grandpa Floyd’s shoes along the way.