DFWChild / Articles / Family Life / Kids We Love / SLANT45: Leading by Example

SLANT45: Leading by Example

SLANT 45, which stands for Service Learning in North Texas, was a community project program that aimed to involve children in community service.

For most little girls, a birthday wish list looks something like this: Mighty Beanz, Hannah Montana karaoke, coloring books, dolls.

For Eleanor Hébert, 7, of Fairview, it was a call to action. Rather than ask friends and family for a cartful of toys, she asked for donations to the SPCA. But charity is nothing out of the ordinary for this 7-year-old.

“Eleanor loves services projects,” says mom Melanie Hébert. “She’s got a philanthropic resume that rivals most adults.”

One thing Eleanor does, through her Girl Scout Troop 956, is assemble birthday boxes for children in foster care—giving them a reason to celebrate when they might not otherwise have one. Most recently, according to Hébert, the girls assembled a princess-themed box for a little girl.

“We filled it with everything you’d need to throw a party for a little girl: princess plates and cups, birthday cake batter, frosting, candles, party favors, games, cards, streamers,” Hébert shares. “Eleanor loves to make it special and personalized, so she came up with Pin the Crown on the Princess.”

After assembling the box during a weekly troop meeting, the girls donated it to the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, which then awarded the box. But the girls never got to know the recipient—as much as they wanted to.

“I have to remind them that part of the fun is doing something in secret,” Hébert points out.
But Eleanor’s generosity doesn’t stop at birthday boxes and wish lists; for her, any time is an occasion to give back.

According to her mom, she fills backpacks with school supplies at the beginning of every school year to give to the needy. Come Christmas, she puts together shoeboxes filled with toys and books and crayons to donate to Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that then sends donations to children overseas.

Hébert appreciates her daughter’s spirit of service—but she thinks it’s up to parents to help plant the seeds. “Here in an affluent area, kids only see others just like them. We need to make children aware of those who are less fortunate—and give them an opportunity to provide for the needy.”

So in some cases, children can look to their parents as an example of service. In Eleanor’s case, the child is the example.