Inside the completion of an Eagle Scout Project

Sharing white boards with residents

by Elyssa Abbott

April 6, 2014 was the day that marked the start of my brother, Trey Abbott’s journey to become an Eagle Scout. The story I am about to tell is about the day he finished his project; January 10, 2015. The road to this day began quite differently than what he originally had imagined. It began with an idea. Unfortunately, this idea was quickly rejected, as was the next. My brother didn’t give up though. He found a place that he could make an impact. And he did just that.

My brother chose an abused women’s shelter. With the guidance from the facility’s director, my brother chose to build sixty whiteboards, one for every resident in this shelter. This is not a typical place that a soon-to-be Eagle Scout would choose for his project and neither is the project itself.

He had the idea that is now a reality. There were some problems like he couldn’t get approval from the Scouting Committee or nobody really cared. The most important reason was that the other ideas were just not something close to his heart. There were a lot of people along the way that helped out and donated their time, but overall Trey was the guiding force.

The shelter wanted us to make something that would keep the families encouraged and positive along their own difficult journeys through life. The Eagle Scout process was long and quite painful. Trey had to put the 60 whiteboards together, paint them, think of everything that he needed to get donated, and raise all of the funds for the project. We all wanted to get the families motivated so we painted them cheerful colors such as pink, purple, and yellow. It was almost 6 months when everything came together at last.

January 10, 2015 was the day that my family, friends, and I went down to the shelter to install the whiteboards. We had so much fun watching their reactions as they realized the whiteboards would be their very own. The families that consisted of five or more kids lived in a room the size of a cubicle. The rooms had no doors and the families had no privacy. As we walked in carrying the whiteboards, a few at a time, the kids looked over the half walls and wondered what we were doing.

A lady walked up to us and asked if she could have a purple one on her dorm. We realized then how much this meant to them. Trey and his helpers walked around installing the boards to the outsides of the rooms, while I being the littlest was trying to make myself useful. I decided to play and talk with the kids. I gave them markers to draw with and the excitement on their faces was amazing. It was like they were having Christmas all over again but this time from my big brother and me.

I was even more astonished when I saw what they were writing. I assumed they would draw pictures of kid things. Instead, they wrote scriptures and things about family. One little girl asked Trey if she could write family at the very top where the frame was. He replied with,” Well, than it wouldn’t come off.” “I don’t ever want it to come off,” the little girl responded. She had to ask her mother to see if she was allowed, but it was inspiring to sees these kids go through what they do and then turn around and still remember what matters most. An older girl was planning the scripture she was going to write on the board with her little sister. It was about treating people the right way. I felt sympathy for the kids, but at the same time I was impressed by the kids’ inner strength.

As we were all packing up, we were taking pictures of it all. They decided to get a group photo of Trey in the middle and the kids around him. Somebody pushed me into the picture and a little kid about one walked up to me and raised his arms as if he wanted to be picked up. Walking into the shelter I was scared, I didn’t know what to expect. Walking out I felt encouraged to give. The spirit in the kids’ eyes and their “don’t give up” attitude was inspiring. My brother will be an Eagle Scout in a few short months and I am proud of the fact he didn’t give up along this hard road.

Trey Abbott is at junior at Allatoona High School.  He is a member of Troop 2096 Silver Comet District.

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