Kids today sometimes get the raw end of society. From time to time, I’ll read an article focusing on what’s wrong with them or overhear a conversation over coffee focusing on the problems with kids today.

Don’t be fooled — there’s still plenty of good out there!

I was recently privy to observing a group of teens band together and make a positive difference in the world by helping their neighbors because of the action of one. It is yet another testament proving there are great kids in the world. It just so happens these great kids come from my community in rural Kansas.

It all began when Makayla Schroeder, an 18-year-old high school senior, recognized a need and made the conscious decision to take action. She had been following reports of devastation in Nebraska so many are experiencing following the recent floods. She wanted to pack a bag, jump in her truck and go help, but knew she had to be in school. She has less than a month until she graduates, and final exams are right around the corner.

Instead, what this young lady from central Kansas did opened the eyes of our small community and surrounding areas, left an imprint on her peers and spurred people to action.

Since she couldn’t pack her bags and go to Nebraska to help for an extended period of time, she decided to begin gathering items to assist flood victims here at home. She called her effort “Operation Feed the Critters.” She got her school advisers on board, rallied her friends in the local FFA chapter, made phone calls, used social media and made things happen.

It began as a post on her FFA chapter’s Facebook page letting the community know their ag shop was a collection point for Nebraska flood relief items. Her initial plan was to collect enough items to fill a pickup truck to deliver at a distribution point on a Saturday. However, a few days into “Operation Feed the Critters,” Makayla realized she would need a bigger truck.

Bags of dog food, bales of hay, milk replacer, work gloves, pallets of range cubes and other items started streaming in.

Area businesses, FFA chapters and others throughout south-central Kansas began collecting items from their staffs and communities and made trips to our small school to deliver their donations. Area stores even began offering discounts on items that were to be donated directly to the “Operation Feed the Critters” drive.

Soon, Makayla started making calls to secure a tractor-trailer. 

After a week, she needed a second semi. So far, Makayla has helped send three truckloads of supplies to flood victims. All because of the initial action one Kansas teen.

Many people were involved in collecting items, loading the donations, spreading the word, and driving the semis. All of this happened because of one individual who saw an immediate need and wanted to make a difference by helping her neighbors.

Simply put, she acted. 

The true beauty of it all was the ripple effect that took place when other teens jumped in to join their friend in serving others.

It’s amazing to see what the power of one person’s actions can do to make positive change. It’s even more amazing when those good things are done by kids these days.