OAKWOOD — Several Oakwood girls are getting started on community service at an early age through the Steps of Kindness group founded this fall by Oakwood High School senior Lauren Murphy-Zahora.
The group already has about a half-dozen Harman Elementary School sixth-graders involved.
“I wanted to teach young girls that if you just step outside your front door, there are many, many people that you can help,” Murphy-Zahora said.
She started the group after competing in the Miss Ohio Teen pageant and being named Cover Girl and State Ambassador.
“With my opportunities to meet so many people, I thought what a great way to give back to the Miami Valley,” Murphy-Zahora said.
In the past month, Steps of Kindness members have participated in a fundraising Breast Cancer Walk in Dayton, and they put together more than 150 Halloween tray bags for young patients at Children’s Medical Center who won’t be able to trick or treat this year.
“I felt pretty proud of us, because there’s not many people our age doing this,” said sixth-grader Jenna Geisenfeld.
Her classmate Amanda Price said she realizes there are people much less fortunate, and it’s a good thing to give back when they can.
Murphy-Zahora knows there are plenty of organizations that need help, so Steps of Kindness is already preparing two more projects. They’ll help the Dayton Foodbank’s Kids Café, which gives backpacks full of food to kids who might go hungry during the weekend, and they’re hoping to partner with Procter and Gamble on a “Tide Drive” for the St. Vincent homeless shelter, which is in need of detergent, among other items.
Steps of Kindness is also hoping to add more members. Murphy-Zahora’s younger sister, Ann, is a member and said the projects are more fun because friends are doing them together. Emma Penry said she’ll try to get her soccer and basketball friends to join, too.
“The more helping hands we have, the more good we can spread throughout the Miami Valley,” Lauren Murphy-Zahora said.
Anyone interested in the group can contact Murphy-Zahora by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Steps of Kindness Facebook page.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2278 or jkelley@DaytonDailyNews.com.
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