After the Final Bell: 11-year-old raises $1000 for SECU family house

Published 12:10 am Thursday, October 4, 2018

Rachel Seavey is a remarkable young lady. This is the consensus of family and friends who have been inspired by a recent fundraising venture that she organized to raise money for the SECU Family House. The story of this sixth grader at Meadowlark Middle School is heart-warming and inspirational.

The eleven-year-old first became involved in volunteering at the Family House when she and some friends went with Sue and Stan Morgan of Clemmons and her grandparents Carol and Garry Griffith of Winston-Salem to serve meals for individuals who were staying there.   

The Family House is a facility that serves patients and their families from out of town who are staying there while receiving medical care at local hospitals. Lisa Northrup, the director of community relations, indicated that the Family House is similar to the Ronald McDonald House except that it serves adult patients and their families. Guests are offered prepared meals and scheduled transportation as well as housing in one of the 45 bedrooms.

When Rachel began her volunteer work at the Family House, she noticed that there was a pantry, and she wondered where the food came from to stock it. She asked her mother Katie about this, and her response was, “Why don’t you ask at the front desk?” Rachel took her mother’s advice, and when she inquired about the pantry, she was given a brochure with some information about donations for the pantry.  This inspired her to make her own brochure to begin a fund-raising campaign to raise money to stock the pantry. Her brochure includes a picture of the Family House, and a comment that reads, “You don’t let your shelves go bare, so why let theirs.”

Rachel developed a well-organized strategy to raise funds for her project. She approached her mother about the possibility of presenting her brochure to the employees at Northwestern Mutual where her mother works. Despite being rather shy, Rachel did a presentation to her mom’s co-workers about the need for food and supplies for the SECU Family House. This result was an amazing fund-raising success that netted $1,000 in cash donations as well as a generous supply of food and household items.

Katie remembers that when she and Rachel dropped off the donations, “the kind people at the Family House told us that we could go home, that we had done enough. Rachel wanted to stay and help itemize the donation and put all of the items on the pantry shelves where they belonged. On the way home, she said to me, “I would never just drop off the donation and leave all of that work for someone else to do.”

Rachel’s story of her altruism and regard for others can serve as an inspiration for other young people to find ways to help their community. What is perhaps most impressive about what she did is that it was purely her own idea. The suggestion for her project did not come from others, and she did not do it for attention or personal recognition.   

For anyone interested in following Rachel’s example of volunteering at the Family House, it is located at 1970 Baldwin Lane on the Richard J. Reynolds and Marge M. Reynolds campus in Winston-Salem.

Lisa Northrup indicated that the facility opened in 2011, and it has served clients from 95 North Carolina counties and 38 states. She noted that one patient came from as far away as Los Angeles to receive treatment at Baptist Hospital for a medical condition that could not be treated where he lived.

When Katie asked Rachel what motivated to volunteer at the Family House and to organize the fundraiser, her daughter said, “When I served dinner there I noticed the faces of the people who came to eat. Many of them looked tired and sad, like they’d had a hard day.  I wanted to do something to make them smile.”

Rachel has plans to continue helping to stock the pantry and the Family House. She and her friends are planning another drive next spring at River Oaks Community Church.

As a proud mom, Katie has a unique perspective on her daughter’s character. “Rachel is kind-hearted and likes to help others, so her desire to do this for the Family House didn’t surprise me. What touched me most was her hard work and willingness to face her own fears so that she could help others. Of course, I’m proud of her, but more than that, I’m humbled by her example.”

If you know a young person in our community who has made a significant impact on their school or in the community, please email Larry Stombaugh at for consideration for a story in a future edition of After the Final Bell.