FLORENCE, Ore. — Kaylee Graham and her mom recently spent a day at the park. A year ago, this was just an empty field, but for Florence citizens, transforming it into a dog park was a top priority. It’s completed now–one of many projects tackled during last year’s Power of Florence Day–a day that 13-year-old Kaylee organized.
Kaylee is now preparing for the third annual Power of Florence Day–a day of community and volunteering. She hatched the idea when she was just 11 years old.
“I wanted to have a volunteer camp for a week, but my parents thought it was too big of an idea. My parents said I could do one day and I could invite as may people as I wanted…so I told her I wanted to invite the whole community,” Kaylee said.
She wasn’t joking. But it meant preparing a presentation for the Florence City Council. They approved the idea. Not only that, but last year councilors dedicated the third Saturday in July every year to be known as the Power of Florence Day.
Last year more than 30 nonprofits joined the cause with service projects and fundraisers. Kaylee says there were easily three times as many volunteers as the first year, and she’s expecting to see a repeat.
“We are just waiting to see how many events there will be,” Kaylee said.
Kaylee oversees it all: monitoring volunteers and projects. And the day of the event she visits each one, like the clean-up project at Siuslaw Elementary.
Many people are joining forces because one person wanted to make a difference.
“Just cause it make me feel good to know that I’m helping people,” Kaylee said.
“I’m proud of her, not only for this project but all of the things she’s done growing up. I mean, she’s a hard worker in school. She’s just a kind-hearted girl,” said Shannon Graham, Kaylee’s Mother.
Her idea is transforming Florence. The dog park is one example. The city of provided materials. Volunteers with the Church of Latter-Day Saints provided the manpower. She provided the day.
“If you want to do something, it doesn’t have to be super big. It can be small. But whatever you do, it makes a difference,” Kaylee said.
It just takes the power of one.