For 9-year-old Taylor Baxter, of Fenton, it was a lemonade stand that sparked a lasting interest in helping others.
Taylor, a fourth grader at in Fenton, and her friends set up a lemonade stand in her driveway as a way to help Backstoppers, a local organization that provides funds for families of first responders who are killed in the line of duty. Before it was all over, the lemonade sales generated $500.
"When we donated the money I saw how happy the guy was and I just wanted to keep doing this," Taylor said.
Taylor needed help to coordinate more charitable and volunteer efforts, however. So she asked her friends, and her brother, Blake, 11, asked his friends, and those friends recruited even more kids who now are part of a group called Y.E.A.H. (Youth Excited About Helping). The group started with about eight members and has grown to more than 50. There are no dues, no officers and no bylaws. It's just a group of kids who have charity in their hearts.
Last week Y.E.A.H was on hand in Fenton as the Shoeman Water Projects organization opened a new facility. George "The Shoeman Hutchings, collects new and used shoes that are donated to underdeveloped countries and sold to provide water wells and water purification systems to those in need. Y.E.A.H helped in a variety of ways, from doing face-painting to collecting donated shoes.
Blake, 11, a sixth grader at , says the Shoeman is a regular part of Y.E.A.H.'s volunteer efforts.
"Once every other month we sort shoes," he said, adding that the group is planning a shoe drive in April.
Taylor says she enjoys being a volunteer.
"I love helping people out and I want to see people happy," she said. "It makes me feel good."
Y.E.A.H. has volunteered for several other projects, including helping clean up at a church and serving dinners to the elderly.
Dylan Chandler, 16, a sophomore at in Fenton, has helped organize a high school contingent into the Y.E.A.H. group. Why does he do it? In what is a familiar refrain among the Y.E.A.H. kids, Dylan said, "I just like helping out. It makes me feel good."
Taylor says Y.E.A.H. has a simple, informal gudeline for its volunteer efforts.
"One day can make a difference in the world," she said.