Aspire’s good works |

Aspire’s good works

Dan Hamer


In late May, the students of Aspire Academy reinforced for me and my family why we’re blessed to call here home.

On a Thursday morning I was providing Elsie (our daughter) her routine morning breathing treatment. Unexpectedly, and prompted by her boss, Rachel (my wife) came home from work, and within minutes we were summoned to our front yard where the students and staff of Aspire awaited us.

Several days earlier two Aspire students had interviewed Rachel about the challenges Elsie faces with cystic fibrosis. Little did Rachel know at the time it was a part of the process in which the Aspire students had selected our family, our daughters, for their annual service project.

That morning the students informed us why they had chosen us for their project. Their words were heartfelt and meaningful; Rachel and I both shed tears as they shared how our efforts affected them.

Then, in Extreme Home Makeover fashion, they separated down the middle, and behind them lie in boxes a beautiful play set for Elsie and Abby. Then each student made the personal effort to thank us. Their work wasn’t done. They had coordinated with family and friends to entertain our daughters while several students and a volunteer contractor built the play set. By late that afternoon, Abby swung high in her swing as she has nearly every day since.

The next day they returned and placed a large surface cover down beneath the set, and filled a sand box with sand and toys.

Aspire students provided for our girls their own playground. They gave us somewhere Elsie can play if/when she cannot play with others. (And although she is a little young to truly appreciate this gift, Abby does her best to compensate for that.) I wondered that day, and often since, how many of these young people were not afforded the same pleasures; and yet they felt and provided for us, a family unfamiliar to them. But as they told us, they were compelled not by obligation but by the will to do right. Their willingness to help us speaks volumes to their character and selflessness.

Two days later some Aspire students joined us at Trinity Lutheran Church for a walk to benefit those affected by cystic fibrosis. Again, it was not prompted by duty but by good will.

On behalf of our daughters and us, thank you so much to the youth and staff of Aspire Academy. I hope you all realize you do make a difference.