Lexi Roberson named AR Youth Humanitarian recipient
Friends and neighbors of Lexi Roberson know her as a caring, kind young lady. Kind actions are just second nature to Lexi as she goes about her every day, normal life - going to school, reading her books and enjoying life.
Lexi, 12 year old daughter of Kathy and David Roberson of Caraway, has received the Arkansas Youth Humanitarian Award. She is the youngest person to receive this prestigious award.
She was nominated by Michele Freeman, a junior high teacher at Riverside.
Lexi is a sixth grade honor roll student at Riverside East Elementary.
Her love of helping others started at a book fair several years ago. Lexi had several items she was going to purchase. She noticed another student did not have enough money to buy what she had chosen. Lexi gave no thought to putting her items back on the shelf and allowing a friend to make her purchase.
"I think when we can help someone, we should always do so," she said.
That was just the beginning of her reaching out to others.
One of Lexi's best friends, Bailey Kelems, became ill. She had an organ transplant and spent a lot of time in the hospital. Bailey had an idea to collect coloring books and crayons for children in St. Jude and LeBonheur Hospitals.
"Bailey told me kids spend a lot of time coloring while they are in the hospital," Lexi said. "She asked me to help her with the project. She got sick and was not able to see the project through."
After Bailey passed away, Lexi decided to take on the project and finish it in memory of her friend. She gathered help from businesses, organizations, and friends and collected a huge amount of books and crayons. She completed the project in November.
The coloring book project is just one of the many projects Lexi has taken on.
During last year's hot summer she started worrying about elderly people in the community who might not have fans. She started raising money to purchase fans for others. The fan project put her in contact with a woman in Caraway, Lynn Ellis, who had the same concerns. They worked together and provided 25 fans for people. They formed L&L Kindness Konnections.
L&L Kindness has a webpage and a mission statement, "Smile always, give freely and be kind."
After the summer, she started worrying about the senior citizens again and decided to raise money to provide throws during the holidays.
Again, she said she received great support from the community. She delivered throws and snack boxes to senior citizens during the holiday season.
She also enjoyed creating survivor kits to give to the Caraway Police officers and volunteer firefighters.
"I wanted them to know we appreciate the work they do for all of us," Lexi said.
Caraway Mayor Barry Riley presented Lexi with a proclamation for her volunteerism to the community. She was presented the proclamation at the 2016 Harvest Festival in Caraway.
Lexi decided to host a Christmas party for a special education class. She again collected items and held fundraisers using the money to buy gifts and fill goody bags for a fun party for the students.
"We all had a good time at the party," she said. "I just love doing things for other people."
"I have everything I need and I like to share. It makes me happy to see others smile. My friend and I were giving out Valentines to people last week. We were in Jordans in Lake City and I gave a gentleman a Valentine and he thanked me. When we went to pay for our food, the clerk said the man paid for our food and thanked me for the Valentine. He said it had been a long time since anyone had given him a Valentine's Day card. It really made me feel good see it paid forward."
On Monday, Feb. 13, KARK news out of Little Rock was in Caraway interviewing Lexi on being selected for the state award.
She also received a balloon and rose from Lepanto Flower Shop, Angela Vaughn, congratulating her.
"I feel honored to be chosen for the award," Lexi said. She will attend an awards ceremony this summer at the Governor's Mansion and is looking forward to meeting the Governor and First Lady.
"When Gov. Hutchinson was in Caraway for our school's ground breaking, I was home sick and I did not get to meet him," Lexi said. "I am excited about getting to meet him. I just found out I have to make a speech so I am going to start working on it."
Lexi also said she found out there is a monetary award. Keeping in her giving back spirit Lexi has decided what she wants to do with the gift. She has no plans to buy herself a new toy, she will be giving to her newest community project idea -- new playground equipment for East Elementary campus. She said she found out she will receive $500 and she plans to put it in the playground fund. She knows it is an expensive project but she can see it happening.
She will be leaving Riverside East at the end of the school year to move to Riverside Junior High School in Lake City.
"I think it would be such a great thing to leave a legacy of new playground equipment for generations to come," she said. "I know it is a big undertaking, the equipment is expensive but I plan to get it started. I love Caraway, I love my school and I love my state. I am proud of our new school in Caraway. I love the hallways. We are like a big family here."
She is sure she will love junior high, also.
Her advice to anyone wanting to help others is, "start out in your own neighborhood."
"There may be an elderly or ill person who needs a little help with chores," Lexi said. "Helping others is very rewarding."