In honor of Family Volunteer Day, Nov. 22, Points of Light and Disney are recognizing the exceptional work of volunteer families with the Daily Point of Light Award. Meet today’s winning family, the Wilder Family of Las Vegas, NV, and nominate someone in your community.
When the Wilder family visited a local animal shelter in Las Vegas, Nevada they hadn’t planned on tackling a new service project that day. But as Lexie Wilder, age 10, walked around the shelter, she was struck by the conditions the animals were living in.
“As we walked around the shelter, the animals did not look to comfortable on the concrete floor,” says Lexie. “I knew we had some extra towels, but not that many for all of the cats and dogs at the shelter.”
With that, Lexie enlisted the help of her mother, Tammy Wilder, her grandmother, Barbra Wilder, her aunt, Brenda Asay, and her cousin, Hannah Asay, to round up towels the animals can use for their bedding. Turning the project into a family affair has allowed the Wilder and Asay families to spend more time together, doing something positive for animals living in shelters.
The Wilders realized the hospitality industry in Las Vegas could be their endless source for towels and bath mats. Lexie started her campaign by writing to areas hotels with an appeal to donate their excess supplies so she could bring them to the animal shelters. Then she had the idea to plan a towel drive through her school and Girl Scout Troop. The project turned into a community-wide commitment to help the animals living in the shelters.
As Lexie’s effort picked up steam, the rest of the family got involved to help in the driving, organizing, mailing and delivering of the soon to be thousands of towels and bathmats.
According to Tammy, “It is our job as a family to support each member in our family; just as our family continues to learn through our service activities that it is our job as community members to support the members in our community.”
Lexie’s grandmother, Barbara Wilder, agrees, offering her perspective that “Letting the youngest volunteers take the lead enables them to build life-long skills such as leadership, budgeting, delegating and following through with projects and commitments.”
With the support of her family, Lexie was able to expand her goals. She reached out to her city councilman who has connected her with even more resources to gain new donations. Thanks to the efforts of the Wilder and Asay families, thousands of towels and bath mats have been donated to local shelters and countless animals are sleeping more comfortably tonight.
Their efforts are making an impact. But Lexie and Hannah don’t really see it as a job. According to the girls, “We get to meet new people, do something different and understand how working together can make a lot of good things happen.”