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Third-grade student uses action project to help others

Alexa Ambrosius, 8, hopes to launch her food drive in November

One 8-year-old has set an example for her community by planning a canned food drive.

Alexa Ambrosius, a third-grader at Oregon Trail Academy, is the mastermind behind a food drive that will collect food during November for the Sandy Community Action Center.

Her idea came from conversations around the dinner table with her parents, Mike and Rhiannon Ambrosius, about not wasting food. After Alexa’s parents told her that many families can’t afford food, therefore she shouldn’t be wasting the dinner put in front of her, the enterprising young girl decided she wanted to do something about it.

“I just wanted to help the people in need in the Sandy area,” Alexa said. Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Alexa spoke at Oregon Trail Academys parent teacher meeting to pitch her idea for a food drive.

Becca Reel, Alexa's third-grade teacher, said Alexa has really gone above what Reel asks of her students.

At Oregon Trail Academy, students are encouraged to generate action projects starting in kindergarten. Reel said there are simple actions, such as being kind and sharing what you learn with others, and then there are big actions like Alexa's project.

"Kids are so very compassionate," Reel said. "They're helpers by nature. So it's not so surprising that they see needs and want to help. What makes me proud of Alexa is the prep she's done ahead of time to make sure this is successful."

Alexa began her project by visiting Sandy Community Action Center and learning of the needs of families in her community.

After meeting with OTA's parent-teacher group to pitch her idea, Alexa is now working with Reel to put the finishing touches together to be ready for her project before her projected start date of Nov. 1.

Not only will Alexa have donation bins set up at OTA — her plan is to send peers home with paper bags to fill up if they’re able— but at Sandy Cinemas as well. With a goal of collecting 500 pounds of food, she hopes to get as much community support as possible.

Alexa’s mother, Rhiannon, said the movie theater has been a great partner throughout the planning process.

In addition to agreeing to set up bins at their business, the owners of Sandy Cinema donated four sets of movie tickets to give away as an incentive for Alexa’s classmates to donate.

Every student who donates food will have his or her name entered into a drawing. At the end of the drive, four winners will be selected to receive the tickets.

Alexa is still working with Aaron Smith, Oregon Trail Academy music teacher and professional musician, to organize an additional incentive for students to donate. She hopes to give away tickets to one of Smith's performances to each student who brings in food.

The Sandy Action Center serves families in the Sandy area by providing 8 tons of food a month, a fact Alexa learned when she visited the organization.

She also learned families are in greatest need during the month of December, which influenced her choice to collect food in November.

Reel said Alexa will be helping not only hungry families through her project but her classmates as well.

"What she's doing is going to inspire other students," she said. "She's modeling the process of what to do. That's where it really starts growing."

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