As the youngest volunteer with GlamourGals, a nonprofit aimed at building intergenerational relationships between teens and seniors in care facilities to end elder isolation, Spencer Murray (9 | Cherry Hill, New Jersey) was determined to show that even the youngest person can make an impact. When visitors were not allowed to visit nursing homes and care facilities at the height of the pandemic, Spencer thought how lonely older people were because they couldn’t be around their loved ones and couldn’t give others hugs or even high fives without being at risk. Although he couldn’t give someone a high five in person, Spencer could give them a high five in another way.

Spencer realized that he and his friends could make cards for those living in care facilities while ensuring the safety of seniors and volunteers. Each card features a note, pictures, and a “high five”: a colorful paint handprint. To help build a sense of community within the volunteers, especially those who lived in different states, Spencer would set up monthly Zoom calls with his peers to make cards and catch up with one another. Spencer didn’t stop at just asking his friends to volunteer; he’s also had support from area Girl Scout troops, dance studios, and students from all grades at his school.

Since starting this project, over 3,000 seniors across the country have received a high five card from Spencer and his friends! As he continues his work, Spencer hopes that people never underestimate the power of a child, but more importantly, that each person who receives a card has a smile, a laugh, and hopefully one day, maybe even a hug from him!