Apollo High School senior Ada Parris recently founded a nonprofit organization called “Owensboro’s Saving Grace,” created in response to her desire to provide meaningful assistance to homeless people in the local community. With help from the community, donations helped provide 200 “winter necessity kits” that have been distributed locally.
Parris initially shared her idea with engineering and computer science teacher Jonathan Leohr, who encouraged her to reach out to administrators, teachers and students to involve the entire Apollo Eagle family in collecting items for “winter necessity kits.” Each kit included gloves, socks, sock caps, toothbrush/toothpaste, lip balm, hand sanitizer, masks, hand wipes, granola bars and a message of encouragement.
Parris also reached out to local radio station 97X and created a GoFundMe account for OSG, and involved fellow students in packaging the donated items into 200 winter necessity kits.
Approximately 100 kits were distributed at St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter and the Daniel Pitino Shelter in December.
Parris kept another 100 kits in her vehicle to donate directly to people she saw on the streets of Owensboro.
Parris recently contacted AHS Principal Rick Lasley with a concern and suggestion — as she begins her final semester as a high school senior, she wanted to pass the OSG project on to another student or club at Apollo.
“I would love to leave my mark on Apollo by starting a new tradition,” she said. “Not only has OSG helped our community, it has taught me so much about giving back and being selfless. OSG has allowed me to grow as a person and step out of my comfort zone by calling sponsors, connecting those who donate, and seeing the joy that comes when I pass out the kits.”
In response, Lasley said, “We absolutely will work to pass on this tradition to a senior or make it available to one of our clubs to organize and continue. Bless Ada and her work and compassion in starting this tremendous cause that has made an immediate impact on our community.”
Leohr was also appreciative of Parris’ efforts and is proud of her for wanting the organization to continue.
“To see Ada’s giving heart warms my soul to the core,” Leohr said. “To know that she is thinking about how this project can continue after she has gone on to college is just proof of what it meant to her when she started it.”
While attending AHS, Parris has been a member of the varsity robotics team for four years and has served as a team captain for three years. She served as vice president of the Civitan Club and has been active in the Beta Club and National Honor Society. She is on track to graduate with an honors diploma and plans to attend the University of Alabama next year, majoring in aerospace engineering.
Individuals, organizations or businesses who wish to support Owensboro’s Saving Grace may contact Parris at firstname.lastname@example.org.