Monday, May 21, 2012

The Scoop: 2012 National Lovin' Compassion Award Winner Calista Pierce

We are so thrilled to have Calista Pierce as our 2012 National Lovin' Compassion Award Winner.  She has such an incredible heart and is an inspiration!  We know you'll adore her as much as we do!  At the end of the posting check out some of the articles written on Calista and find the links to some of the organizations she's helping.
Nominated by Donna Johnston, Special Olympics
Calista has done fundraising for Crawford County Special Olympics since she was 7; at 12 she won The Arc essay contest “See the Possibilities In People with Physical and Mental Challenges”. Since she started has raised over $12,000. for Crawford County Special Olympics. Calista also does kind; generous things for Special Olympics from helping bowlers return their shoes after practice, making bowling picture frames for awards at the bowling awards party to becoming a unified partner in bocce and swimming. She encouraged athletes by helping them learn the sports rules, helps athletes during drill practice by collecting stray balls to make more time for skill practice. Calista truly has a giving heart and a love to serve. She is visible in her community through these tasks. In addition to helping Special Olympics she helps Make A Wish Foundation, Operation Christmas Child, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, food drives for local food pantries, donating teddy bears to the pediatric wards, Macy's Believe!, Pennies for Patients, The Arc Bike/Hike fundraiser, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, Pizza Hut fundraiser for the American Red Cross, “Stuff the Jeep” for care packages to send the soldiers and she has donated 15 inches of her hair to Locks of Love.

Nominated by Carol Caler, Special Olympics
Calista is 12 years old and is in 6th grade. Calista wanted to be a volunteer for Special Olympics when her brother Austin began training and Competing with Crawford County Special Olympics. Austin was 8 and Calista was 5 at that time. She soon realized she was too young to be an "official" volunteer. About the same time she learned that Special Olympics programs had to raise all the monies needed to provide athletes with equipment, uniforms, and travel for the sports trainings and competitions her brother enjoyed. She thought about it and came up with the idea to make and sell crafts and donate the money to Crawford County Special Olympics. with the help of her mother she set up her first craft table at practices and then branched out to community events and locations. Her first goal was to raise $5000.00 which she completed when she was 8 years old. Her next goal was $10,000.00 which she reached at 10 years old. Since then she has created a website where you can track her progress. (She has given up her birthday and Christmas monies to buy supplies for her crafts). Her brother Austin qualifies for Make a Wish, so she has now added this organization to her list of donations. She is now 12 years old and has donated $12,000.00 to Crawford County Special Olympics (her new goal is $15,000.00). Plus she had donated enough monies to Make a wish to grant two wishes to deserving children locally. Each wish needs $3000.00 to be granted. She is now working on her third wish. Calista is also a unified partner for Special Olympics and has championed special education students in her middle school against bullying. Calista is our inspiration and our most hard working volunteer! Crawford County is so blessed to have this amazing girl and her family.

Nominated by Jenifer Pierce, Mother
Calista is determined to make a difference for Special Olympics’ athletes through volunteering, participating in Unified Sports and fundraising. When she was only 7 years old, she heard our local program was low on funding and immediately set to work making crafts to raise much needed funds. She is inspired by her older brother who is a Special Olympics athlete. Throughout the years, we have watched his decrease in strength, but there is always a Special Olympics event for him. To date, Calista has raised over $12,600.00 and volunteered over 3,200 hours! She has been helping to train athletes in bocce and swimming. Her encouraging personality has been an incredible help during competitions when athletes are overwhelmed or exhausted. She is always ready to lend a helping hand and looks forward to becoming an assistant coach when she is 16 and a head coach when she’s 18. As if all of this isn’t enough, Calista has set out to raise enough money to fund wished through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The cost of the average wish is $3,400.00 and Calista recently funded her third wish for a child.

A few words from Calista
     I am involved in Special Olympics as a fundraiser, volunteer and Unified Partner. I am also fundraising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and am the captain of my own Relay for Life team. I started helping out in Special Olympics when I was 5 years old because my brother is an athlete. When I was 7, I heard the Special Olympics management team talking and they said they didn’t have enough money to take the athletes to regional and state competitions. I know how much my brother loves to go to the competitions and would hate to see him not be able to do something he loves, so I decided to start making crafts to raise money. I also have bake sales and raffles to help raise money. My brother inspires me. He is in a wheelchair and has trouble talking, but he doesn’t let it get him down.
     I have been bullied about my fundraising project, Calista Cares. Some of my friends have completely stopped hanging out with me because I refuse to stop Calista Cares. I overcame that challenge by learning to stick up for myself and what I believe in. I learned to find out who my true friends are and never give up on trying to make a difference.
     So far, I have raised over $12,600.00 for Special Olympics and that has helped make sure that athletes can keep going to competitions. By helping out at Special Olympics, I have learned the rules of bocce and can help train athletes. I also learned how to swim! Our Special Olympics athletes encouraged me to keep trying when I was afraid to swim in the deep end. If it wasn’t for them, I would have never been able to overcome my fear and become a Unified partner for swimming.

     I have just raised enough money to grant my third wish for a child suffering from a life-threatening medical condition through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A little girl named Sophia will be going to Disney World in May before her fourth open heart surgery. This will be my second year having a Relay for Life team. It’s going to be harder this year, though because we will be walking in memory of my great grandpa, instead of in his honor.

Be sure to visit Calista's website at
or her
facebook page at
or her twitter page at

To read more about the work Calista is doing, see these articles:

To help some of the organizations Calista helps, try checking out these pages:

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