When I first met Mia Russo, I quickly noticed her desire to help the vulnerable and voiceless. While many other 10th graders might spend their Saturday mornings sleeping in, she was volunteering for an event to help a local pregnancy center. After spending a few minutes talking to her and hearing her story, she explained how seeing the passion in others to help people sparked in her a desire to do the same.
Mia was first introduced to orphan care through her babysitter, Emily Barton. Emily is on staff at 127 Worldwide and is the founder of Sweet Dreams, a non-profit that provides mattresses to orphans and widows in Africa. Mia remembered Emily making trips to Africa to serve the people there. As Mia entered grade school and saw the dedication of her 5th grade teacher to help others, she began to think of ways that she could help those who were less fortunate.
When Mia was in 5th grade at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, NC, she took a class where she learned to make dresses out of pillowcases. By 7th grade, Mia started a club at her school with ten other girls to make pillowcase dresses for orphans. She, along with a couple of her teachers, worked to teach the other girls in the club how to make the dresses. She remembered that Emily had spent time in Africa helping orphans so she asked Emily if she would take the dresses they made on her next trip to Uganda to give to the orphans. From January through May, Mia and the other girls in the club worked hard and made seventy dresses. The next year, Emily was able to take the dresses with her to Uganda and distribute them to local orphans.
Mia knew as she entered into her freshman year she wanted to continue her work. She made more dresses for 127 Worldwide and also took over a club at her school called Global Ravens. She, along with thirty other students in the club, look for ways to help the vulnerable in their community and around the world.
Mia is a justice-seeker and an influencer. She not only works to help orphans but also encourages and teaches others to do the same. She says that helping others is now a part of who she is. Seeing the impact of the dresses she was able to send to orphans sparked a desire in her to always look for ways to help others. It has changed her whole view on life and how she sees other people. It is also affecting her plans for the future as she hopes to go to medical school and eventually work with Doctors Without Boarders.
Mia took a simple task of making pillowcase dresses to reach those in her community and around the world. She was inspired to help orphans by seeing the example of others who were doing the same. Does Mia’s story inspire you? What simple gifts and talents has God given you that you can use to impact those in need?
by Emily Wise