Hello again from everyone at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us here at OM HQ.
Young people like Shelby Grebenc . . . .
Shelby's tale has a tragic undertone, although hers isn't a sad story . . .
You see, it's one about courage and strength, about drive and determination and about imagination and initiative. It's about taking responsibility, stepping up to the plate and doing something to aid others. It's about family, love and the bonds in life that tie us all together.
It's also about eggs . . .
Shelby, from Colorado, was just nine years old when Nancy, her mom, was taken ill.
The doctors diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis and, although Nancy's life wasn't in danger, things began to deteriorate for all involved.
'It was sad,' says Shelby, who was used to seeing her mom being the strong one in the Grebenc household. 'She couldn't feed herself, she was pretty much dead on the couch.'
Shelby, don't forget, was nine.
Nancy's job as a pharmacist gone, the bills soon began to stack up . . .
Her condition meant she spent time in a nursing home, which increased the pressure on Jonmichael, Shelby's dad . . .
The Grebencs facing financial ruin, Shelby's enterprising streak kicked in.
'I could see how sad he (Jonmichael) was and so I decided to help him,' she explained.
The answer, she decided, lay in eggs.
Having sought a loan from her grandmother, Shelby invested in chickens. Lots of chickens. Despite having no background in farming, her small egg firm soon took off. Her interests in animal rights, coupled with her natural business acumen (she offers free home deliveries) made for a brisk trade. She became the youngest farmer in the United States to be awarded the Animal Welfare Seal of Approval. In the process, she saved the day, relieving the pressure on Jonmichael and Nancy, and saving the family's much-loved home.
'I think we would have been homeless [had it not been for Shelby],' admits Jonmichael. 'We would have lost it, but she kept the wolf from the door.'
It is clear that he couldn't be more proud.
Shelby's egg business now makes around $15,000 a year and, with the family's future a little more secure and Nancy's prognosis a little better, the profits are going towards a college fund for a teenager who has a bright future ahead. That said, Shelby has made it clear that, should the need ever arise, she has the means to help again.
This inspires us all here at OM® and for several reasons . . .
Because Shelby's tale demonstrates that you're never too young to make a difference. Because it underlines the importance of families and of sticking together. Because we like a good egg, and there's no question that Shelby's one of those!