Alyssa Jamis, a first-grade student at Indian Trails Elementary School, has a big heart. She wants to help people in any way she can.
“I realized I have what other people don’t,” Alyssa said. “I’ve been to Disney World and I get to go again. Most people don’t get to do that.”
That’s one of the reasons she started a community service initiative called The Heart Squad about a month ago, with the help of her parents Jim and Sierra. Its mission is to “spread love throughout the community one day, one task, one person at a time.”
Once Alyssa came up with The Heart Squad, Jim had T-shirts made and made a website (theheartsquad.com), and created business cards, Facebook and Twitter pages.
“She has a serving heart,” said Indian Trails principal Emily Cross. “She has a pay-it-forward type of mentality.”
And those she serves include first responders and police officers and does work around the school.
“My favorite thing is being with officers,” Alyssa said. “We give first responders and officers cookies and Goldfish. We also clean up our community and we pull weeds over there at our school.”
Alyssa also helped those at VFW Post 6603 clear out things in their old trailer and load it into their new one.
“We do anything we can to help,” Jim said. “Alyssa has been wanting to do that for a long time. We almost put it off, but she’s really insistent and wants to help. She almost gets upset when we don’t have time to do something.”
“She’s got a huge heart and wants to spread it around.”
What Alyssa has done fits what Cross said the elementary school pushes students to do.
“We talk a lot about contributing,” Cross said. “She has just run with the idea of contributing to a larger community and has taken it upon herself. I think she’s going to start influencing others to give back to the community.” And her efforts have even inspired her parents.
“It’s been a lesson for us even,” Jim said. “When is the last time someone went out of their way to help somebody? Not holding open a door or picking up a piece of trash. This is, we are stopping what we are doing and going to help someone for no reason other than to help.
“It’s a huge lesson for us. I would never do something like that if it wasn’t for her.”
The work Alyssa does is spontaneous. None of what her and her parents do is planned out. However, Jim said they hope to plan events in the future. In the future, Alyssa wants to branch out and visit patients at Children’s Mercy and VA hospitals.
“It’s hard to get the word out,” Jim said. “Most of this is just impromptu. I think once the word gets out, more people will get involved."
“She’ll want to do this forever.”