She kept a “Sparkle Box” on the mantel. It was old. The corners were tattered. The glitter was all but gone and the decorations hung on with thin hairs of glue. But it was a very special box that found its home on the mantel every Christmas. In the Sparkle Box were handwritten notes of things the family had done throughout the years that were selfless and honoring of others. They were accounts of acts of love. On Christmas Eve, every year for the past fifteen years, the family would open the Sparkle Box and read the notes. The reading was always followed with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” … because these acts of love were gifts to Jesus to celebrate His birth. Last Christmas one piece of paper read, “We donated funds to Care For Kids.”
This past summer a bright young man was selected to attend American Legion’s Boys State. The price of admission was very high. The High School counselor believed in him so much she reached out to Care 4 Kids money and found a way to send him.
“One dominant idea above any other at Missouri Boys State: That the individual is the one with the power to change the world. Whether athlete or politician, journalist or scientist, each and every one of us has the power to make a difference in the world. Using our democratic system as a basis, we equip the participants, or citizens, each year to construct their own state, utilizing the core values that hold true in our everyday lives. We teach the need for competition, the value of public service, the strength of the individual voice and vote. By reinforcing these basic American ideals, we help to shape the future of our society. This is what the American Legion Boys State of Missouri program is all about. Citizens of The American Legion Boys State of Missouri are eligible to receive college credit and scholarships for participating and successfully completing Boys State.”
The young man changed during his adventure. His eyes opened, and he saw possibilities. Within weeks he had applied to college. Accepted into the Honors Program he just completed his first semester with flying colors…on scholarship!
And on His birthday, he smiled with gratitude for the gifts he had received.