Mount Vernon Junior Alma Merchant has a heart for helping others, and this Helping Hands Day, through a non-profit that she began herself, she’s partnering with Lower School students to make a difference in the lives of children across Atlanta.

Creating a Smile, Inspiring Hope is the name of Alma’s non-profit. According to the website, “Creating A Smile, Inspiring Hope, provides children in hospitals with a calming and relaxing experience. They stay in hospitals for several months and even years on end while constantly fighting with everything they have. We craft hand-made, care bags for those in Atlanta hospitals, establishing a more comfortable and enjoyable environment. These bags come in a variety of forms: the Book Worm Bag, Board Game Buddies Bag, and the Picasso Bag. They include a range of art sets, books, and board games for the entire family to enjoy. We also contribute daily necessities and toiletry items, so families are not worried about any external expenses. Such examples are socks, blankets, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.”

This year for Helping Hands Day, Lower School students partnered with Alma and participated in a book drive. Students donated new books and spent the day sorting them and packaging them so they can be delivered to children in the hospital through Creating A Smile, Inspiring Hope.