You may have seen Grace Mies around.
“When you first meet Grace, her ever present smile is the first thing you notice, even before her beautiful, bright red hair!”, Mahomet resident Kelly Trevillian said.
In a letter to the Mahomet Daily nominating Mies for the Classic Plumbing P.L.U.M.B.E.R. of the Month, Trevillian wrote, that she belives Mies is a perfect candidate for the award because of “her kind and shining spirit and generous soul.”
The Mahomet-Seymour incoming senior doesn’t shy away from being involved in the community. Growing up in the Mahomet-Seymour School District, Mies was involved in soccer, band and her church. Now as a young woman ready to venture out into the world, Mies’ focus not only remains on participation, but also in giving back.
“I think it’s very important for me to be involved in my community because it allows me to meet a lot of people, talk to a lot of people and relate to them,” she said. “And it makes me feel good knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life.
I’ve definitely learned about the different types of lifestyles that people have. And how lives can be different from my, but just as enriching, just as full. It’s just cool to learn about different people and different strokes of life.”
When Mies turned 16 she decided to give back as she celebrated her birthday.
“I wanted to do something special for it, so I donated my birthday to this organization called Alex’s Lemonade Stand.”
Founded in 2005, Alex’s Lemonade Stand focuses on raising money to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families, and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer. Community members all over the United States help to raise funds by hosting a lemonade stand and conating the funds.
Joined by her friends, lemonade drinkers and a few large donors, the group raised nearly $500 for Mies’ birthday.
Mies also gave back for her 17th birthday when she hosted a Facebook fundraiser to donate funds to Unbound, an organization that partners with families living in poverty, empowering them to become self-sufficient.
She also spent part of her summer in Charleston, South Carolina, building homes through Habitat for Humanity with others from her church.
“It’s really hard. You don’t think how hard it is to build a house form the ground up, but it’s amazing work that they do.”
Working on three homes, Mies helped dig a foundation, work on framework, paint and install insulation.
While the work and giving back are paramount to Mies, she also enjoys the relationships she builds while serving others.
In Interact’s first year as a club at MSHS, Mies joined as a junior. Each month, the group networked with local organizations to serve the needs in Mahomet and Champaign-Urbana.
“We hosted a canned food drive, planted trees at 13 Acres and worked at the Crisis Nursery Holiday shop,” she said.
“It’s really fun to get to meet other people from your school that you might not get to talk to everyday.”
“As students we get to plan the activities. It gives students a sense of responsibility and leadership while also getting to help others.
As a mentor of the MSHS Freshmen Mentor Program, Mies works with fellow mentors to make sure incoming freshmen have an upperclassmen to connect to.
“I’ve made so many friends through FMP, it’s really cool to just get to know these girls throughout the year. At the beginning it’s kind of awkward and everyone is shy; then by the end, everyone is best friends: you’re singing in the car and hanging out in football games.
“The other mentors inspire me every day to be a better person, she said. “I hope that they just understand the value of kindness, the value of being honest and respectful, and being there for other people.
Among all the activities Mies participates in, she also has to take time to focus on her school work.
“It’s very difficult at times because sometimes you don’t want to choose, but you have to. Sometimes if I want to do an activity with Interact, like raking leaves, I won’t have as much time to study or do my homework.
“You just learn how to balance. I think it’s something that just comes with time. Freshmen year I wasn’t as good at it as I am now; and I’m still working on it.
“It’s difficult, but doable if you prioritize.
There will still be more oportunities to see Mies around town over this next year. She is looking forward to forming strong bonds with her peers in FMP, she can’t wait to see how Interact blossoms in its second year, and she’s excited about the academic opportunities that will come her way.
You may have seen Grace Mies around.