Ava is one incredible little girl.

After learning that not everyone in India has easy access to such a simple thing like a toothbrush, Ava’s heart was pricked with a sense of urgency to do something about it.

She is an inspiration and a great reminder that everyone can play an important role in this great work.

Way to go, Ava!!

From Ava’s Mom:

Ava began this project by simply wanting to ask her kindergarten teacher if she could tell her class that she was going to collect toothbrushes for a school her Aunt Heather was volunteering at in India and see if they wanted to help. We spent time as a family looking at the Rising Star website and reading about the kids at the school who need sponsors. Our kids were able to make connections to kids who live so far away and in a different culture, and we loved looking at their smiles and thinking about how much the toothbrushes would make them smile!

What started as a small project ended up turning into an amazing experience. There was an outpouring of support and Ava’s desire to help turned into a school and community wide project. Her initial goal was to collect 500 toothbrushes and after only two week, she ended up collecting 1,838!

Ava bravely went from classroom to classroom (with the help of students from the 5th grade student leadership committee) and told students about how she wanted to help the kids in India and asked if they would help too by donating toothbrushes. The student leadership and Ava made plaster, decorated donation bags, and collected for one week. Our school of 550 students came together and donated 1,280 toothbrushes! Students were even asking their dentists if they would donate. At her dentist appointment, Ava told her dentist that she was trying to collect toothbrushes to help the kids in India. We reached out to our neighborhood and left a collection box on our doorstep. Nearly every time Ava went to check the box, there were toothbrushes in it! It was very exciting for her and her little brother, Evan, to keep an eye on the donation box. She kept a record of all the toothbrushes that were donated and the people who donated. If she received toothbrushes in the box and we didn’t know who they came from, she marked it as a “mystery person” donation!

During our community collection week, we spent a lot of time on our front porch and we were able to visit with neighbors and tell them more about the service project as they dropped off toothbrushes. We were amazed by the generosity and outpouring of support and encouragement from our community. We received many messages of gratitude from people who were grateful for an opportunity to serve in a small, simple way and for the reminder that we are blessed enough to be able to give to others who are in need. This was an amazing opportunity for our family and community to be a part of.

We felt like we were able to truly lose ourselves in service over the past two weeks. The focus of our family was truly on what we were doing to help others in need and reminded us of the blessings we have when we love. This project helped us feel God’s love for all of the children in this world. Our gratitude increased and our awareness of the world was enhanced. We found our children asking us many questions about the kids in India and what their lives are like. This ended up being a simple way to 

teach our 6 and 4 year olds to love service and their fellow beings, recognize their own blessings, and connect with the world. Now we are linked to the beautiful people of India by something as simple, yet life changing as toothbrushes!

From Ava: “I felt happy and warm inside collecting toothbrushes because I knew that all of the kids would be happy to get a toothbrush and they will last for a long, long time. I’m happy that so many people besides me donated. I know that the kids will be really happy when they get their new toothbrushes. I want to keep helping the kids in India!”

– Christina Standifird

If Ava has inspired you to take action, see all the ways you can make a difference at https://risingstaroutreach.org/get-involved/.

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