Kids Are Heroes

It’s Kids Are Heroes Week, and October 23rd is Kids Are Heroes Day. When I found out about this, it reminded me of one of the reasons I wrote Believing In Horses. Sometimes it seems people are so focused on the negative, they fail to see the positive. So many of our youth are actively involved in trying to help today; at Freedom Hills Horse Rescue’s last fundraiser, young girls were selling food rather than riding horses – talk about commitment! A colleague recently told me about her daughter’s efforts to try and save a local park. If you take a moment and click on the Kids Are Heroes web site, you’ll be overwhelmed by just a few of the incredible projects kids take on these days — all positive.

A nine-year-old girl started Kids Are Heroes –talk about a hero. One of the stories on the we site is about another young girl, Maria, who started “Read Indeed,” a literary organization in which Maria wishes to collect and distribute ONE MILLION books to needy kids by the time she is eighteen. So far she has collected and distributed over 400,000 since early last year! She’s helped kids locally and as far away as Africa, Costa Rica, and the Philippines. You go, Maria! 

Heroes come in many forms. One of my kid heroes was Shane Douglas Schmidt, who I unfortunately found out this week was killed in an automobile accident earlier this year at age twenty. Shane was my hero when I lived in Carlisle, Penn. In my tenth Navy move in seventeen years, Shane was my own personal welcoming committee to the neighborhood. At age eleven, he introduced me to the neighbors, his family, his friends and any new friends he met in the year that I was there, and overall made me feel like I was very much part of the small town family. Shane didn’t care about peer pressure or his friends wondering what he was doing visiting some “new lady,” much older than him, when he could have been out playing with them instead. He was selfless.

Shane visited me almost every day, helped me with chores, rode his bike with me when I ran, invited me to school functions, and talked about everything under the sun about whatever was on his mind. One day when he visited, he could see I was visibly upset by something that had happened to me that day.  hen I just told him I needed some time alone, he obliged, but came back five minutes later with his mom, so she could ask if I was okay. This special young man had sensitivity at age eleven that some people never learn in a lifetime.

I don’t tell this story about Shane to be morose; quite the opposite. I know that Shane is just fine right now in Heaven, welcoming the new angels and helping the old ones in any way he can. I tell the story as a reminder to recognize our heroes while they are here, and to appreciate their heroism in whatever form it comes. If we take the time to look around, we might see there really is a lot of positivity in our youth, in their big acts, like helping worldwide literacy, and in their smaller actions, like simply taking the time and having an interest in being kind to others.


  1. That is absolutely beautiful and so true! I’m Shane’s cousin and that is just how he always was so quick to be a friend and show everyone the ropes:)

    • Thank you, Maria. Shane was so special. Just this morning I was writing some of the story for my second book, and I went to go name a charachter “Shane.” But I decided that the character I was writing about wasn’t special enough to be honored with Shane’s name. The Shane character needs to embody Shane’s spirit, warmth, and welcoming. I know many keep him in their hearts like I do, and in that way he is not gone. Thank you for leaving a note and reinforcing that I have to have the right Shane reflection in my next book.