11/9/2017 4:04:00 PM The gift of reading Big-hearted 8-year-old collects books for African library
Westview Elementary third-grader Ava Jenkins (left) and Iron City Barbell owner/operator Jamie Ball were all smiles about the number of donated children’s books which were dropped off at the business. Ava directed a book drive which resulted in 670 books being collected which will be donated to a new library in the African nation of Ghana. (Telegram Photo By Pete Wilson)
If there is anything that Westview Elementary third-grader Ava Jenkins loves more than reading, it's helping others who are in great need.
Ava founded Ava's Chicks Ministry as a vehicle to help others and is driven to carry out these humanitarian projects due to tragedies she has dealt with in her life. In spite of the limitations that come with being only 8 years old, Ava has found numerous way to help out others with the loving support and assistance of her grandmother, Carole Kuenzli.
Ava's first project was selling crocheted bun hats for $10 each. Kuenzli crocheted the hats and Ava then made tags for each of them; then asked family members and friends to buy them. The proceeds were used to rescue a child from sexual slavery.
Ava's second project involved making a blanket for a friend who was going through a medical emergency.
Ava's third and just completed project was a natural one as it blended her love of reading with her desire to provide that same opportunity to impoverished children in Africa. When she learned that the pastors at her local church, the Rock Family Worship Center, were collecting books for a new library to be built in the African nation of Ghana, she jumped in to help with both feet.
"Ava enjoys reading and she could not believe other children did not have access to books like she does," Kuenzli recounted. "So when she heard about this, she was on a mission."
Supported by her family members and her church family, Ava spent nearly three months collecting books in the Jackson area. She would ask everyone she would meet to help her collect books they were no longer using for the new library in Africa. She asked other local churches to participate through donations and she even visited yard sales and asked those conducting them to donate any unsold books.
With Kuenzli's help, Ava also reached out to local businesses and offices and asked them to serve as collection points and to also promote the project. Among these drop-off locations in the Jackson area were: Iron City Barbell, the Jackson Area YMCA, Show Dolls Baton Studio, Callahan Hardware, the Jackson City Library, and the Rock Family Worship Center.
Ava's zeal and efforts paid off as she collected a total of 670 books, which have already been shipped to Ghana. She would like to thank the businesses and public places which were willing to serve as collection points, but she appreciates the donation of every single book and was extremely excited by the positive response she received.
Being the thoughtful person she is, Ava thanked all of her supporters with a personal thank-you card.
Who knows, maybe someday Ava will visit Africa and meet a child who read a book which came from the local book drive. Nothing would make her smile more.