Memories for Mom
Eleventh grader Ally Hopkins couldn’t sit still any longer.
As a member of Chick-fil-A Leader Academy at Wheeler High School, Ally and her fellow classmates were working through an idea for their Impact Project. But choosing something everyone could agree would make a big impact was tough. Ally was actively involved in the community, with a passion for women and children at a local shelter where she volunteered. During a standstill in the meeting, Ally offered an idea: “What if we work with the women’s shelter and do something extraordinary for those moms?” Suddenly, an idea was born.
Students brainstormed all the ways to surprise these moms and their children. There were powerful ideas, yet something didn’t feel right. The group decided to abandon their plans and actually find out what these moms wanted most — not by guessing, but by spending time with them and simply asking.
What happened next was unexpected to all.
The answer they found was simple yet powerful: moms wanted a memory that would last, namely, a professional photo of their kids that they could keep in a frame. The team chose “Memories for Mom” as their Impact Project and went full steam ahead.
The students decided to go above and beyond the photo. With the help of Wheeler High School facilitator Dr. Cheryl Crooks and Chick-fil-A Operator Chris Darley, these students created a day to remember filled with a surprise brunch, brand new outfits for all the kids, and fairytale-themed princesses to escort everyone to the photo shoot. Over the next few weeks, students divided tasks and picked a date.
Memories for Mom.
When the day came for their Impact Project, students arrived with hands stuffed and hearts full. The Chick-fil-A Cow joined to help serve brunch, and students surprised each family with new clothes for the kids. One by one, each child had their picture taken in a new outfit and met their favorite princesses. The day was a complete success, with students promising to return. And they did.
A few weeks later, with photos and frames in hand, students came back to fulfill a promise with the pictures they took. There were smiles, handshakes, hugs, and tears as these “memories for mom” were placed atop nightstands and stories from that day were recounted with joy. When asked about their Impact Project, Ally shared the following: “If indeed a picture is worth 1,000 words, I feel like we made a million memories together. And that’s something I will always remember.”