Making Community Better, One Project at a Time

Making Community Better, One Project at a Time

Kylie Sullivan plans service hour assembly for the entire White Oaks Elementary sixth grade.

Kylie Sullivan’s life is anything but boring. From youth group to swim team, this White Oaks Elementary School sixth grader does it all. She has been a girl scout for seven years, helps lead a mother-daughter book club and takes dance classes. She’s also a patrol captain, a volleyball player, a swimmer and a member of the 4 H Youth Development Club.

For Girl Scouts, Sullivan is expected to earn her Silver Award, which involves completing a minimum of 50 community service hours towards an issue of her own choosing. She decided to help her peers at White Oaks Elementary complete the five hours of community service required by all sixth graders.

“Kylie came to me with the proposition of organizing an assembly featuring various charity organizations. Afterwards the sixth graders would be able to choose which organization they wanted to help,” says Ryan Richardson, principal at White Oaks Elementary. “I thought it was a great idea, and I was extremely impressed by Kylie’s leadership skills and enthusiasm.”

Sullivan contacted five different charity organizations—Volunteer Fairfax, Donate Life, Operation Turbo, Kitty Awtry Tree of Life and Families on the Homefront/Operation Dandelion Kid—and planned the assembly herself. She even did one project for each organization, to show her peers an example of what they would be doing.

After the one-hour assembly, each child voted on which organization they wanted to help. One week later, the organizations came back to the school, and each sixth grader took three hours to complete projects for the charity of their choice.

“I made cards for deployed military soldiers and for children moving away from Fairfax County,” says Megan Smith, a sixth grader at White Oaks Elementary.

Thanks to Sullivan, the White Oaks Elementary sixth graders were able to finish all of their required service hours.

“I didn’t even know we had to complete five hours of service until the assembly,” says Charlotte Camarota, a fellow sixth grader. “Thank goodness for Kylie, because I would have had no idea what to do, and it was fun.”

Sullivan has completed 45 hours of work on this project thus far, but believes by the time everything is done it may be closer to 80. Her hard work and organizational skills truly paid off.

“I think service is important because it’s a way to change the community that we live in for the better,” says Sullivan. “Everyone should have a chance to make their community one that they truly want to live in.”

In the coming months, Sullivan plans to meet with principals at other elementary schools in Fairfax County to make her idea and the joy of community service widespread.