G-AMS Kindness Club plans walkathon for fellow student

Shawn Hardy
Emma Strait

Local residents can take steps Friday evening, July 6, to help a Greencastle-Antrim Middle School student who is battling leukemia.

The G-AMS Kindness Club will host a Walkathon for Emma Strait from 5 to 8 p.m. on Kaley Field. Participants are asked to give $1 a lap and proceeds will go to the family of Emma Strait. The 13-year-old, who is going into eighth grade, was diagnosed with leukemia late last year. Paris Thiele, G-AMS Kindness Club organizer, hopes to raise $500 to help the family with "whatever they need" such as gas.

"It's for a great cause and it's a night to socialize in the summer," says a poster for the walkathon.

The event has been posted on social media and Paris said a lot of Greencastle-Antrim students and kids from other districts are planning to attend.

"I wanted to help them and give the family a bit of a boost," Paris said. She does not know Emma personally, but "I've seen her around school and I hear she's a wonderful girl."

 Show a little kindness 

Paris, the 2017-18 G-AMS student council president and daughter of Mark and Michelle Thiele who plans to attend St. James School in the fall, recently started the club and this is its first event. The adviser is her seventh-grade algebra I teacher Joshua Fretz.

The club grew out of a disappointment she experienced when she did not get into a camp program.

Her dad said to turn a negative into a positive so "I decided to start a club to help people with trials and tribulations. You can always get something good out of a bad situation and that's how the club was formed."

The announcement for the club reads: "Have you ever seen or known of a local family in need? Someone who just needed some help, or a break to fall their way? Those are just who we want to help with a new club at our school called the Kindness Club. We just want to be a group of service-minded students who want our community to know that even a group of kids can help when it matters most. We will then do various fundraisers like walkathons, car washes and donation boots and gather funds for one unsuspecting local family in need each month.

"There is a famous story of a child and her father walking along the ocean. The little girl sees hundreds of starfish washed up on the sand, knowing they all will die soon without water. As she starts throwing them one by one back into the ocean, her father exclaims, 'Why bother? You can’t save them all,' to which the daughter replies, 'I just made a difference to that one.'

"Will you help us make a difference to someone in need? When we succeed locally, we can impact 12 local families each year. When we spread the success and through social media and word of mouth set up kindness clubs in every PA county, we could impact 804 families each year. When we spread the news of our success and kindness clubs are set up in every city and major town in America, we could impact 420,000 families each year ... but it has to start with one, and some volunteers. Will you help us make a difference to one local family each month? Will you help a possible national movement get started right here in Greencastle? Let's show our community what Greencastle-Antrim Middle School is all about."

For more information, call Paris Thiele at 717-491-5401 or Michelle Thiele at 717-377-1779.