Nov. 11, 2016



Herman “Reese” H. isn’t your average 8-year-old.


While other kids his age spend their free time playing
videos or watching cartoons, Reese (as he’s known to family and friends) is
strategizing ways to help the people in his community.Herman Hamilton


“Herman watches cartoons sometimes, but he’s really not a
cartoon person. Instead, he wants to turn on the news, like CNN and newscasts,”
said his mother, India Jefferson. “When he comes home from school, he does his
homework then he pulls out his blue folder and starts writing down the things
in his head — the ways he wants to help people. He said he doesn’t just want to
change his community or Indianapolis; he wants to change the world.”


Reese’s efforts to “change the world” gained local attention
in late October while organizing a peace walk in his Eastside neighborhood.
Tired of hearing about people being killed (including his favorite uncle and
one of his friends), and sick of seeing that garish, yellow police tape in his
community, Reese voiced his concerns about the violence in the city through his
Oct. 22 peace walk.


About 80 people participated in the walk, including
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, neighbors and even members of Reese’s football
team (the TAB Colts). “A lot of people came out and supported me,” said Reese,
a soft-spoken third-grader at IPS/Butler Laboratory School 60.


But if you think the peace walk was all that Reese had to
give, you would be mistaken. He is currently collecting money via his Go Fund Me page to feed the hungry
and keep the homeless warm this holiday season through his Blue Ribbon Project.


Reese’s goal is to feed at least 20 people for Thanksgiving
and to provide gift bags and donated blankets to the homeless for Christmas. He
has enlisted his mom to prepare the food, which they will deliver on
Thanksgiving Day. The deadline to sign up for the Thanksgiving meal delivery is
Nov. 18.


“Not everyone has food and shelter, and it’s not fair for
them not to have the things that we have,” said Reese. “So I came up with this
idea to help people who are hungry and homeless.”


Ron Smith, the principal at Butler Lab School, says he’s
extremely proud of the work that Reese is doing in his community.


“He’s really sort of caught that service-work bug, which
makes me really proud,” said Smith. “The mission statement at our school is
‘Inspiring children to transform the world.’ And what we mean by that is not
one day when the kids grow older they will make a difference, but that kids
will know that they can make a difference now and show they care and take
action to make a positive difference.”


Smith said that the school would never take the credit
for all of the good work that Reese is doing, “because it’s coming from him and
his good heart. But it certainly makes us feel good to see him living the
Butler Lab School mission in that way.”


Reese’s mom said she’s extremely proud of her son, too.


“I’m very proud of him and I’m glad that he wants to make a
difference,” said Jefferson, who doesn’t mind the time or money that she’s put
into her son’s efforts to improve his community and the people in it. “My son
has a dream and I have to fulfill that dream for him. I want my son to feel
safe and I want him … I’m glad that he notices what violence can do to you and
to your family and how it can change lives in a split second. I’m glad he’s
able to see this right now before he gets up in age and starts messing around.”


Smith said that since the peace walk, he notices how Reese
holds his head up just a little higher than usual in school.


“I think he clearly feels good about the work he’s doing and
that’s been the thing that I’ve noticed most,” said Smith. “I know that he has
caught that bug for doing good work and he really feels like he’s making a
difference, and he is.”


Reese, however, believes he’s only doing what is necessary
and hopes that he’s serving as an example for other kids.


“I’m showing other kids about not being selfish,” said
Reese. “And I’m teaching them that if somebody needs something really bad, you
should really help them because not everyone has the things you have and they
really need them.”


Overall, Reese is happy that his friends and family support
him. “I really do feel appreciated.”


The deadline to sign up for Reese’s Thanksgiving Day meal
delivery is Nov. 18 at Reese.blueribbon@yahoo.com.
To donate money to help Reese provide gift bags for the homeless during
Christmas, visit his Go Fund Me page by clicking here