WILMINGTON—Isabelle Richards, an eighth grader at Wilmington Middle School, is a good kid, which is why she was nominated by her teachers for Project 351, an initiative put forth by the state in order to inspire the youth to service and leadership.
“I was really excited,” she said.
At first, she said that she was unsure as to why she was called down to the principal’s office. The thought crossed her mind: am I in trouble?
But, once she was told of Project 351, she was “really thrilled.”
“I didn’t know my teachers thought of me that way,” she said.
Calling the project “a great honor,” she said that she was pleased to participate in it and meet people “who made great impacts.”
“It’s just a great impact for everyone,” she said.
Back on January 26, she met 351 eighth graders, and they had an entire day of service. Project 351 lasts one year.
Her mother, Laura, said that each week, Isabelle has a conference call with project leaders. At the middle school she has been working with Diana Kole, an English teacher.
She also said that Isabelle has always been involved in the community—particularly, her church group. And, at school, she has been leading by example, which is why the teachers selected her.
Isabelle, in addition to making flash cards for people at the Hennigan Learning Center in Boston, has been collecting clothing for Cradles to Crayons, an organization that provides necessary items for needy communities.
According to Laura, Isabelle has been doing this single-handedly.
The collection box is at the West Intermediate School, because they believed “that age group would be the best for giving out clothes,” she said.
Both Laura and Isabelle, who is playing the lead in the school musical, hope to see an increase in donations this weekend—they’re collecting there.
Isabelle said that she has enjoyed helping the less fortunate.
“Every little bit makes a difference,” she said.
Her mother had nothing but good things to say about the program.
“I think the collection program is great. I think Project 351 is a great program as well—just to, you know, build leaders in the state,” she said.
And she couldn’t be happier for her daughter.
“We’re really proud of her,” she said.
The Project 351 website is: http://project351.wordpress.com/. Its coordinator is Carolyn Casey. The coordinator for Cradles to Crayons is Julia Boyaval.