PROVIDENCE — Mia Ricci became so inspired by the message of empowerment being offered to her and her fellow fourth graders at Oaklawn Elementary School during a Feinstein Junior Scholars event that she was immediately motivated to take action to good in the community.
When the nine-year-old got home she began to brainstorm with her mom how she could make a difference in the lives of others. After considering a range of projects, Mia decided that she wanted to offer assistance to the guests seeking shelter at the Diocese of Providence’s Emmanuel House Men’s Shelter.
Mia is a parishioner at St. Mark’s Parish in Cranston where she is an altar server and has taught prayers to first graders as they undergo their formation, so helping the church was a natural extension for her.
“I thought I could do something,” Mia said.
She began by discussing her plan with a neighbor, who generously donated 15 McDonald’s gift cards that could be part of the gift bags of supplies she planned to donate to Emmanuel House.
Additionally, her mom donated money and supplies to the endeavor which allowed Mia to fill the bags with warm socks, hats, gloves, hand sanitizer, crackers, lip balm, soap, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Diocesan Supervisor of Catholic Social Services James Jahnz received the gift bags from Mia at the chancery and planned to distribute them to the men in need at Emmanuel House.
“Especially at this time of year it’s starting to get cold out. For the guys staying at Emmanuel House, everything you have in there is exactly what they need right now, so you did a fantastic job,” Jahnz told Mia, thanking her for taking charge in her service to those in need.
Mia said she was glad to be able to do something to help the less fortunate.
“I know they’re going to be very happy and excited to have these things,” Mia said.
Mia said she was going to be praying for the guests at Emmanuel House and Jahnz told her that they in turn would be praying for her too.
“I think it’s terrific,” Yvonne Ricci said of her daughter’s wish to help those in need.
“I gave her what she needed as much as I could to support her, but it was all her idea, she took the reins on it. She took something that she learned from school, something they wanted her to focus on, and actually completed the task.”