Local girl receives community award for service to Guatemala

Reported by Erica Shaffer - email

Posted by Kate Oatis - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Beatrice Thaman has touched more lives at 12 than many of us will touch in a lifetime.

Beatrice was one of just two children on Tuesday to receive the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in Ohio. She was honored for having started a fundraising drive to gather vitamins for the children of Guatemala, collecting more than 150,000 vitamins for the malnourished children.

Her inspiration came after hearing stories from a family friend.

"She came back and told me of the great poverty down there and how they needed so much help and so many vitamins. And I knew I needed to do something," Beatrice said.

To kick off her venture, Beatrice made frequent announcements to let students know they could donate vitamins as well. She set up collection bins at football games, Christmas parties and her church.

She even got a helping hand from drug manufacturers.

"It's really exciting for me, but it's more exciting for the children of Guatemala because now I hope many people will realize the need," Beatrice said.

Teacher Jason Huther was a witness to the children's excitment after traveling to Guatemala last summer.

"Every day, the kids look forward to getting their pills so the first thing they do is they run up to the nannies and the nannies hand them the pills while they're holding out their hands. It is really one of the highlights of their day," Huther said.

Although Beatrice has never been to Guatemala, she says her sister inspires her to keep going.

"My sister Rose is adopted from Guatemala, and that's when I really started learning about (it). I wanted to give all the children a chance to have a good as life as her."

Beatrice says she will continue to collect vitamins because after all, "There's no point in just trying a little and then giving up."

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