Jan. 6, 2017



Jaxson Andrews  
Most 9-year-old boys usually request a skateboard, bike or
the latest videogame or action figure for their birthday. Jaxson Andrews has a
different approach.


Instead of asking for more toys to add to his personal
collection, the third-grade student at Harrison Parkway Elementary School in
Fishers asked his friends for sporting equipment. He had the same request for
his 8th birthday party.


The gifts, however, aren’t for Jaxson, an avid sports fan
who plays multiple sports (basketball, football, hockey and golf).


For two years in a row, Jaxson has donated his birthday
presents — basketballs, footballs, jump ropes, baseball bats and more — to students
and staff at IPS’ Brookside School

He isn’t fulfilling a personal request from the school; he is
simply doing what’s in his heart.


“We (my younger brother and I) have a lot of toys and we didn’t
really need any more, so I thought about donating stuff for my birthday. That’s
when I got the idea of just getting sports equipment and donating it,” said
Jaxson. “I knew somewhere in Indiana some schools don’t have very many things
for PE or recess.”


The donation was both surprising and heartwarming for students
and staff at Brookside.


“We were a bit surprised that a kid this
age would give up his potential birthday gifts for kids he doesn’t even know,”
said Sheila Richardson, community coordinator at Brookside and a fulltime
employee at the John Boner Neighborhood Centers.


It is also another example of the reach
that Northview Church in Carmel has with Brookside. Jaxson and his
family attend Northview, which is one of the school’s community partners.


“Northview has a strong presence at
our school on a daily basis and they show a running story about our school
during their services,” said Richardson. “They encourage members to get
involved, and this was Jaxson’s way of getting involved and giving back.”


In 2015, Jaxson donated about 15 items to
Brookside. In 2016, he donated more than 30 pieces of sporting equipment. Many
of the items Jaxson donates often cannot be replaced during the school year
because of limited funds, according to Richardson.


“The donations to Brookside Elementary
are extremely important for us because we do not have a budget to get items
such as recess equipment, classroom board games for inside recess or free time,
and other items as they become torn and worn out throughout the year,” said


Knowing that their son is helping to
fulfill a need — without being asked or forced — is a proud moment for Jaxon’s
parents, who are both schoolteachers. Mom, Jamie, is a teacher at Riverside
Junior High School in Fishers. Dad, Keith, is a teacher at Fishers High School.


“For Jaxson to come up with the idea to share his presents
instead of getting and deciding to give them was pretty awesome. We are very
proud of him and the servant’s heart that he has,” said Jamie Andrews. “Northview
provides us that opportunity and that outlet to find places of need and those who
will put it to good use. So I was glad that we were able to find a place that
could use those items.”


By helping others, Jaxson believes he’s setting a good
example for his younger brother, Keegan. His mom said
he’s also serving as a positive influence for his friends, who are interested
in giving to other kids and schools in need.


Asked what his plans are for his 10th
birthday — on July 24, 2017 — Jaxson didn’t skip a beat.


“I’m going to do the same thing,” he
said. “I plan on doing this for a few straight years.”