I did not go out and sign up for community service. I was not trying to fulfill hours for school, or get an award. I simple wanted to help someone.
It began small helping with a kids club once at week when I was in 6th grade. By the time I was in high school, I was knitting blankets and scarves for Romania, plus sewing baby blankets and gowns for Africa, plus working in an after school program This was not enough, I started my own organizations when I was 16. Not for more hours, not for an award, but for me. I wanted to give more.
What is the benefit? Knowing that you are making a difference. Being able to work with other people, who also care, and want to make a difference. Making friends, the sharing and talking and working through the project together. Seeing the results of what you do, can be a plus, but not always possible. Many times you will not see the people who receive your gift, maybe will not even receive a thank you. So you need to volunteer, or serve just for the good of it, and not expect anything in return. That way, when you get the note or the photo, or the thank you, it will be a pleasant surprise.
Community service, can open doors for you, but that is just a plus, not the reason to do it. You can receive awards, or help you get a job, and it looks great on your college application.
Fun, oh yea! Especially when you are doing for yourself, not the hours. I have completed a little over 2800 hours in 2 years, and I would not trade it for anything.
My community advocacy speech July 2012
I can’t imagine living in a foreign country without the freedoms I have here, sand in my shoes, my hair, my clothes or 120 degrees. I can’t fathom the love that our military has for us. To volunteer to put their lives on the line, leave their family, home, and security, to live in the uncertainty.
For the past 3 years I have been making and sending over 55,000 Kards to Soldiers and Lord willing, I will continue doing this for the next few years.
God has been opening doors to me, and I have been able to personally welcome home Soldiers and give them a kard. I have joined the Patriot Guard Riders, you know, the Veterans who wear black leather jackets and ride motorcycles, I however show up in a dress, high heels, and my crown, and together we welcome home soldiers. . I have been able to meet Veterans and personally thank them for their service, attend a Purple Heart ceremony, and meet Blue, Silver, and Gold Star moms. And hand each one of them a kard. So thank you to any one of you who have served.
Our Lord said this; Greater Love has no man, but that he would lay his life down for his friend. That is what our military is doing for us; the least I can do is to make sure they are thanked for their service.
Ruth believes, and has some foundation to claim that each card she gives reaches five to ten people. It is the ripple effect as she explains it. Not only the maker of the card, and the recipients but family members, staff, nurses, doctors, and friends are affected by the attitude of the card recipient. 65,000 cards have been given to hospitals nursing homes, soldiers, veterans. This also included the thank you notes she sends to government officials Like: Senators, Assemblymen, Mayors, and City Council members. The people who receive her cards, and send them on to soldiers, or delivery them to the patients have been profoundly affected. If every card only affects three people that is 195,000, but realistically it is more like five people that is 325,000 people. Ten people would be 650,000. The number of letters, certificates, and emails she has received is over a thousand. Considering many of these soldiers are now overseas, and can’t find the time to write, or the hospital patients she has no contact with. The letters that she does receive are well worth the efforts. The heartfelt words have a positive impact on those who receive them, and have been known to make Marine’s eyes “sweat.”
Testimony & remarks from an application for Woman of Worth:
Ruth is a wonderful role model to her peers. She is enthusiastic, and always shares new things she is involved in, and all the projects she is doing. I believe that this helps other youth see that they too can help, and give back to their community. When kids hear all that she has done, they realize that they could at least do something. She leads with a smile, and glad heart and you can’t help but want to join her also. Ruth does not just do one project, or offer to help one time, she gives and gives. She is consistent, and diligent in whatever she does. She does not drop a project or event, even if something more fun comes up. Although she is soon to be 19, she does not have a driver’s license, or permit, she does not date, or go out with friends very much. “No time” is what Ruth says. She basically, goes to school, and spends the rest of her time, making kards and giving back to the community. You don’t find many young people that are that committed, that they give up pleasures and entertainment to serve the community.
The projects she has completed, and the projects she continues to work on have been a great benefit to the community. She has touched many lives of people she does not know, and many she has never meet. She did not choose projects that gave her great exposure, great support, or much applause. She chose quiet projects that benefit many, regardless of the how they affected her. In many of these projects, she never even received a simple thank you, yet she continues to serve anyway.
Every time she sees a new opportunity, she finds a way to make a card for that person or event, and incorporate it into her service. Examples are Military Moms, Veterans going to Washington DC to visit their memorial, and Wounded Warriors coming for surfing and relaxing at the beach, and living.
”Ruth is inspirational in how she is interested in reaching out to the community. Her love for people is evident in her activity. ”Franz Kratz
“While most teenagers are hitting the mall, texting and watching TV, Ruth can be found at home leaning over a stack of cards. Throughout the year Ruth is hard at work creating cards. We would like to commend Ruth for making the world a better place and a little brighter just one card at a time.” Allan Villatuya, Sr. PA Representative, Kaiser Permanente
“The cards were placed on each of our patients food trays. The cards were very well received. Our patients appreciated getting a special message created by a kid our community.” Elizabeth Bailey, Nutritionists Services Manager
Remarkable. Your support of our Soldier, and Veterans “You are a God-send and what a sweetheart to think of so many ways to give to others. Your parents must be so proud of you, and the goodness you bestow on others is certainly returned to you a thousand-fold. Thanks ever so much, Ruth. And thank you for your participation in PGR, a really wonderful organization.” LeAnnThornton, Homecoming Greeter & Families of the Fallen Response Team“
“I just wanted to say thank you for the Kards4Soldiers that were sent to my unit. Your cards brightened the day in my unit and I just wanted to say thank you. Keep up the good support and God Bless America.” Kimberly D. Nash Major Army National Guard Battalion out of the Heart of Dixie, Alabama
“Thank you for what you are doing. It means a lot to soldiers to know there are people like you out there. Thanks.” SGT Dana Cox
“To Ms. Ruth Cormier-On behalf of the Paratroopers of my section, please accept the attached letter of appreciation to you and all involved in your wonderful movement of support!!” AIRBORNE!” MAJ Dale Papk
“It is good to hear that you have started something good. Troops need to be reminded constantly that people back home care about them. You can forget things like that when you do the same job day in and day out. Thanks for starting something big across the states and reminding troops that you support them. Jonathan, soldier
“Thank you for the Valentine poem. As Soldiers we really do appreciate your patriotism and your commitment to support we who are serving down range. Take care and God bless.” Chaplain Rod Gilliam UNIT .CHAPLAIN
4. The uniqueness of Ruth’s project is that she is does not limited her service to just one type of people. Everyone enjoys kards, and everyone needs encouragement. She wants to reach out to as many people as she can. Not only the recipient of the card, but also the maker of the card. She sees people that need something to do, and enlist them to help make cards. She finds groups of people that need cards, and finds ways to get enough cards made for them. She has meet the needs of the schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, soldiers, veterans, town council, mayors, congressman, assemblymen.
The volunteers who help with Ruth’s projects are very diverse. School children, professionals, college students, scrap bookers, adults, church groups, afterschool programs, teacher supply store, assisted living facilities, girl scouts, and boy scouts. Even people from different states, make and send cards to Ruth.
The other unique thing about Ruth’s organization it that she has a large following of adults. Some adults have emailed and asked how to start making kards, not even knowing that she was a teenager. It would be likely for kids, and even a few adults that knew Ruth to possible want to help her out, the unusual thing is the number of adults that are making Kards 4 Soldiers are now in the hundreds. This just goes to show you how important the work of Kards 4 Soldiers is to the community, and beyond. The fact adults would take time out of their busy lives to join an organization run by a 18 year old is quite unique. To find someone at this young age with such a deep devotion, and patriotic spirit is quite unusual.
“The WWII Vets of the Honor Flight last Friday were so grateful for your heartfelt cards. They are the sweetest group of men and women. Your sentiments meant a lot to them.” Le Ann Thornton USO San Francisco Airport
“Your project Kards 4 Soldiers is an impressive & ambitious project. Young people like yourself, show promise for our country. Your parents have much to be proud of. ” Congressman Mike Honda
“In an age when people cry about how lazy or unattached our youth is, people like you prove the critics wrong. You give me great hope for the future of our country. I appreciate your civic minded project, (I speak) as a soldier, and an educator” K. Carsey, Captain USA stationed overseas
“Thank you for your generosity, and thoughtfulness to the needs of our troops. Your kindness has certainly made a positive impact on the lives of our service members.” Michael Dinneen Msgt USAF, stationed overseas.
“Whatever you need, let us know when & where we can best accommodate your mission. We are very impressed with you devotion and good will.” Jeff Jimerson Staff Sergeant USMC, Wounded Warrior Battalion West – serving at Palo Alto Veterans Hospital
“Ruth is a young woman with a heart of gold, and boundless energy. What can someone glean from a young woman investing her time, energy and heart into a project where it’s sole purpose is to bring a smile and warm a heart? A gift with no cost, free to those who wish to receive it. Ruth is to be commended for making the world a better place and a little brighter, just one card at a time.” Dawn Thompson, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center – Santa Clara.
”Ruth, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the Kards you will supply to the returning “single” Marines!! I know they will feel the LOVE you put into each one! You are such a blessing! With sincere admiration.” Marypat Birrell
“Hello Ruth, I just wanted to take a moment to pause and say thank you for the beautiful card you gave me at the Veteran’s Day Parade in San Jose. You see, I was a corpsman (medic) who saw and heard the last breath of my fallen Marines. For many years I have struggled with the nightmares of my dark pass and often wondered if my/our sacrifice really made a difference. I see so many youth who have no respect for the flag or who just don’t care about our history and though I should not pay attention, it causes my heart to burn. You need to know that you have touched my life and given me hope to carry on. Your smile & words, I will treasure for the rest of my life. God Bless you always. Freedom is not free.” Roland “Chappi” Garza USN/USMC HM2 Veteran
“I think it’s a great thing you’re doing for all the veterans. I know it’s well appreciated by everyone.” James Howard -Advocate for Veterans
“The physicians, nurse & staff of our Kaiser Permanente – San Jose Medical Center would like to thank you.” Margot Hardy Communication manager
“Thank you for your selfless efforts not just in our local community, but to our country’s soldiers as well. The Town of Los Gatos is honored to have you among its residents.” Joe Pirzynski, Mayor Los Gatos
“I am impressed by your leadership and your humility in your service. It is fantastic that you have given so much of yourself at such a young age” Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose
“Your generosity is appreciated in ways that most people won’t understand. It does not go forth into a void, but into a treasure chest that returns a level of gratitude that few ever receive. Few things have ever touched us the way your gift did, and with every fiber of my bring I say those simple words, Thank You” William B. Williams, 1LT USA, serving in Afghanistan
“Ruth, we are very happy to hear about your efforts. I do believe that we can work together on some projects. We want to get Care Packages to the Troops and you want to get the “Kards” to them.” Chuck and Teri Palmer Proud Parents of USMC Cpl Charles O Palmer II
“Talk about being humbled! That someone at your age could already have such a big heart for others is hard to fathom. It was so special to meet you tonight.” Wanda Palacios