10-year-old starts ‘One Helpful Thing Challenge’ to encourage good acts during pandemic

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MISSION HILLS, Kan. — We all know medical professionals and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis are heroes, but a metro girl has come up with a way we can all be heroes during this difficult time.

It comes from the idea that one person really can change the world. 

“I’m stuck at home so I thought, ‘What can I do in my community to make a positive influence?'” 10-year-old Grace Coughlin said.

Between remote learning and lots of walks with her family, Grace is fighting boredom by doing nice things for other people.

“I’ve been drawing and writing cards for nursing homes, and I’ve been trying to FaceTime my grandparents every day because they’re really lonely, and we’re trying to get them to stay home,” Grace said. “It makes me feel good. It makes me feel proud to be doing something for someone.”

Grace’s mind continued to bubble, and her small acts of kindness became a big idea. 

“You know, we were all feeling anxious, and she just said very simply, ‘I wonder if everyone did small helpful things, if it could make a bigger difference?’” her mom, Katherine, said. 

That was the beginning of One Helpful Thing Challenge. The Coughlins starting a website with inspiration and ideas about what folks can do to help others. Nothing is too big or too small.

“One helpful thing a day could be staying home and washing your hands,” Katherine Coughlin said. 

They also created an Instagram account to highlight what people are doing or seeing to help others and spread kindness.

“A friend of ours sent her dog to a 90-year-old cancer patient so the dog could comfort her today,” Katherine said. “And there’s been a lot of touching stories like that coming our way.”

Grace’s favorite so far was a picture of a man holding a sign at an emergency room window thanking the staff for saving his wife’s life. In the photo, the man is holding the sign with one hand, his other hand placed on his heart. 

“I saw the hand on the chest, and that’s when I was really was like, ‘Oh, it’s so sweet,’” Grace said. “Like, this man, he didn’t have to do this, and I think that him taking the extra step to do this is so sweet!”

After we are on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis, Grace is not done. She plans on the “One Helpful Thing Challenge” continuing and getting even bigger.

Send photos and videos of your stories and helpful acts you have witnessed to stories@onehelpfulthing.com.

The One Helpful Thing website can be found here, www.onehelpfulthing.com and on Instagram @onehelpfulthing

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