Middle school isn't an easy time for anyone, but my daughter Abby is on a one-girl mission to make her school a better place! She attends public school in a Title One district, where poverty compounds family issues and makes it difficult for many kids to succeed. Abby chooses to spend each day at school looking for ways to brighten the lives of students and teachers around her. Abby starts by reaching out to her many friends, listening to their problems and letting them know that they are loved. She has walked with friends through tough circumstances like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, child abuse recovery, and other mental health challenges. Some of her friends go home to parents with serious struggles. When Abby comes to me with a question about how to respond to one of her friends’ needs, sometimes it breaks my heart! I wish she didn’t have to deal with these things at the age of thirteen, but I’m so glad her friends have her by their side. But Abby doesn't just stop with her friends: she finds ways to love her entire school! This is the third year in a row that Abby has voluntarily helped to clean the cafeteria every day after lunch. Her school janitor, Tressa, appreciates her so much that she buys Abby candy for Christmas every year! One year, Tressa even coordinated a surprise party for Abby’s birthday, arranging pizza delivery to an empty classroom where Abby and her friends could gather. This year, Abby even gave up some of her summer vacation to help her school. During the last week of summer, Abby volunteered to go in to school for hours every day so she could help teachers paper their bulletin boards. The entire school looks great with matching purple bulletin boards!Abby’s friends and classmates recognized her positive spirit by voting her 8th grade class President this year. I am so proud of my daughter’s servant heart, leadership, and can-do spirit. If she wins this contest, she and many of her middle school friends will be thrilled to attend the concert!