Good People Doing Good Things — Ruby Kate Chitsey

A young lady, eleven-year-old Ruby Kate Chitsey, has popped up on my radar no less than three times in the past week, and with good reason.  Ruby’s mom, Amanda, is a nurse-practitioner who works in various nursing homes in and around their town of Harrison, Arkansas.  Whenever possible, Ruby accompanies her mom on her rounds several days a week.  I’ll let Ruby tell you in her own words what defining moment inspired her to begin her wondrous project …

“One day as my mom and I were leaving the nursing home, a patient named Pearl was glued to the exit doors staring for a long time at something. I figured whatever it was must be pretty exciting because I hadn’t seen anything exciting all day. So I hurried to catch up to her before whatever this was disappeared. I thought maybe it was a baby bird? A wreck in the parking lot? Ambulance? 

I get up there and there is a normal dog being led out on a leash to a car by a normal lady. That was it! Boring. I asked her what was going on and she said that was her dog of 12ish years. The dog had come to visit for the day and she was staring at the door because she didn’t know the next time she would see her dog again.

Pearl’s face was so sad.  I thought of all the things in this world Pearl could have, she would probably just ask for more visits with her dog. I know it costs $12 for a pet sitter/visit. I’m eleven and I have enough money saved in my piggy bank to get Pearl a few visits with her dog.”

Ruby-3Now, Ruby has already proven herself to be possessed of a huge, caring heart.  When she was nine-years-old, she started a project “to promote the kindness of Harrison people and its businesses through a painted rock project, called Harrison Rocks.”  Ruby gives credit for her inspiration to paint rocks to her cat, Bubba. Her first painted rock was a Bubba rock.

“My cat, he’s very inspiring and not everyone has a Bubba. I thought maybe if we put out a painted rock it would be like a little Bubba. It could make someone feel happy.”

But that was a precursor to her current project.  After her encounter with Pearl in the nursing home, Ruby started thinking.  Just $12 didn’t seem like much, but after talking to her mom and some of the nursing home residents, she learned that many of the people in the nursing homes are on Medicaid and while their daily care is covered by Medicaid, they are given only $40 in cash to purchase those extras each month.Ruby-4Ruby started spending more time with the residents, and began asking them a simple question:  “If I could bring you three things in the whole world, what would those be?”  The answers were surprisingly simple … fresh fruit, haircuts, snacks, or a book.  And Ruby began keeping a notebook …Ruby-notebook

And thus, The Three Wishes project was born.  With the help of her mother, she set up a GoFundMe account  that took off like wildfire, earning over $96,000 since its inception two months ago!

One man, when asked by Ruby what he would like, said “I want some pants that fit!”  Ruby’s mom says she has known that patient for over 18 years and never even realized that his pants were all too tight.

“I have been working in this field for 25 years, and you get used to caring for people’s medical needs, but you can forget about the need for joy.”

Ruby-2.jpegA visit to The Three Wishes Facebook page tells of the many special projects Ruby has done, such as the day she handed out over 100 candy bars to residents, some of whom said they had not had a candy bar in years.  And the first week in February, Ruby and her mom delivered McDonald’s Happy Meals that were a hit with all!Ruby-McDonaldsRuby has also begun creating artwork to adorn the residents walls.  Here’s a recent post by Ruby’s mom, Amanda …Amanda-post

Then there was the robotic cat (yes, there really is such a thing … I checked it out and then threatened to replace the Sig Six with them if they don’t behave! 😾) Ruby provided to a patient who absolutely adores cats more than anything in the world. This cat will sit on her lap all day if she likes and interact with her just enough to provide comfort.robotic-catIn addition to local media, Ruby’s project has attracted international attention, being featured on CNN as well as BBC.

Ruby visits the nursing homes (5 in total) a few times a week while Amanda makes her rounds, but to fill in the gaps, she has recruited a helper, one Marilyn Spurlock, who says …

Marilyn-Spurlock“It gives me something to do. It took away a lot of my depression — because I felt worthless and couldn’t do anything to help anybody. I’ve been here so long, I was no longer useful. Every day that goes by, I get a little more excited. I go out into in the hub — the areas where people sit. I look and talk to them and ask if there’s anything they need.”

Ruby Kate Chitsey is only 11 years old, and yet she has discovered something that many people my own age still don’t understand … a simple concept that there is much joy to be gained from helping others.  I hope never to be in a nursing home, but if ever I am, I hope there is someone like Ruby Kate to bring a ray of sunshine into my life! As I often do when writing about the very young who are doing good things, I have to give partial credit to Ruby’s parents, Dr. Blake and Amanda Chitsey, for they have obviously been superior role models.  And I give a huge thumbs-up to this young lady for dedicating her time and energy to helping so many people!

47 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Ruby Kate Chitsey

  1. Ruby Kate , has always been my hero. Genuinely, the sweetest grandchild a Nonnie could ever have. I’m so very proud of you and what your doing . I love you , forever sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruby’s dad here. Thanks for the kind article. She and her mom make me proud on a daily basis. It’s delightful to see them get any recognition as they certainly never expected it

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Chitsey, you just made my day!!! Thank YOU! I am a political writer, but every Wednesday I go in search of people who are making this world a little bit better. Your daughter is an amazing young lady and deserves high fives, but you and your wife deserve credit also! As you can see from the comments, my readers fell in love with your daughter. Thank you again!

      Like

  3. this is a great post and it makes my heart happy to read about these selfless inspiring people. They certainly have a huge impact on the world with their enormous hearts and their abundant energy and spirit of never growing weary of doing good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad to have been able to bring you a bit of pleasure, since I usually bring you angst! It is encouraging to see people so young with a sense of selflessness, a desire to help others. There is hope for our future, as long as there are Ruby Kate’s in the world!

      Like

  4. Dear Jill,

    Ruby Kate Chitsey proves that heroes come in all sizes and ages. Her just visiting folks in a nursing home is a blessing and then her giving them things that make a real difference, like pants that fit, is awesome. And kudos to folks who donate to her gofund request.

    Thanks a million for sharing this info.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sure they enjoy Ruby’s smile as much as the treats. To have to give up your own home and independence is so hard. My sister takes her dog when she visits Mum in her care home. Therapy pets that visit are also a great idea.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I agree with you. I have told my daughter that I NEVER wish to go to a nursing home and would prefer that she shoot me first if I can no longer be independent. I had just a tiny taste of losing my autonomy before my eye surgeries when I could not see well enough to even drive myself to the store and I hated every minute of it. Some people like being taken care of, but I am a stubbornly independent wench! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What a nice kid. I spent every Sunday between my ages 7 and 13 1/2 at a terminal hospital in the Bronx visiting my great-aunt, whom they had only expected to last three months. We hung out with ll the patients in the ‘solarium’, which was really a smoking room, and they taught us everything like crocheting, making leather goods, everything. We became dear friends with so many people, but their life expectancy was three months, so it was hard to make and lose friends over and over for those six and a half years–it was very worthwhile, but it never occurred to me to start a charitable foundation for them at that age.

    Liked by 5 people

    • How awesome that you and your family visited your great-aunt so often! While doing research for this piece, I found that there are many in nursing homes whose families never visit, which is why so many are in need of the simple things, for they don’t have family who think about them. You may not have started a charitable foundation, but I bet you brought much joy to the residents you talked to, and I’m sure it made their day to be able to teach you some of their own skills.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. RUBY is a blessing!!!! Wow, she is magical!!!!! So much insight and love…. coming from such a little girl! We should all strive to be…. even a fraction of what she is, as a person! Mega KUDOS!!!!! Thanks for sharing this lovely story with us! 💙

    Liked by 3 people

    • Indeed she IS magical! I was trying to think, as I wrote her story, what I was doing at age 11. I had a pet mouse, played football in the yard with the neighborhood kids, read a lot, and that’s about it, as best I can recall. How many 11-year-old kids would be willing to spend 2-3 days a week visiting elderly people in a nursing home, let along do all that Ruby has done? This young lady is going places … I hope she runs for Congress some day, for her heart is in the right place!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jill, Ruby is living a life worth living, helping others. I remember visiting my mother and a woman was invariably waiting at the door for her husband. Her declining mental and physical issues were beyond his ability to help her. Yet, he visited her daily, even though she could not tell you his name.

    The gift of time is a marvelous less that Ruby is teaching us. These folks relish being chatted with, with only a few exceptions. Many of our visits with my mom involved community chats with everyone nearby.

    Ruby is truly a gem. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • “The gift of time” … that says it all. At only 11, she is far wiser than many our age. At 11, I was not in the least interested in visiting people in a nursing home, let alone doing all that Ruby has done. She is truly an inspiration and I would love to see where her path in life takes her, for she’s off to a great start!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Eleven years old and this young lady has learned how to bring joy to many people from he simple method of asking what they miss most or what they need.-trousers that fit. Nursing staff in care homes are often run ragged providing basic care for the residents, they have little time for wondering if their charges are happy, that’s where Ruby comes in. Who knew a bar of chocolate could bring so much joy, and visits from a pet or even a McDonald’s Happy Meal though it’s just as well the residents don’t have to worry about their long term health. Ruby is an Angel tending to her flock of elderly friends. ,Maybe a few of her school mates will take up the cause in her town and maybe (hopefully) it will spread via Twitter or Facebook until everywhere the residents of homes have young visitors visiting and helping just with the company which is often the biggest need.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ruby’s compassion for others truly amazed me the first time I saw the story, and when I started digging, I knew this was a very special young lady. I don’t know about her peers, but I do know from my research that she has inspired others around the globe, even in Italy and other EU nations, for many others have vowed to start similar programs. I think it’s one of those things that people just don’t think about until they see something like Ruby’s story. We just assume, if we think about it at all, that the people in nursing homes have family who take care of their needs & wants. But from what I read, the majority don’t even get regular visits from family, let alone things like candy bars and French fries. I think her example will inspire many … it already has … and I would love to see where Ruby ends up 20-30 years from now, for her heart is truly in the right place.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    Jill again brought tears of joy to my eyes and some happiness to my heart. This grand young person could have been stuck in front of her own phone, tablet, or computer instead of giving one of the most precious gift we have to give, our time. She is making a difference that makes the world around her a better place, and is that not what all of us really want to have done by the time we are done here? Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • Many thanks for the re-blog, Scottie! As you said, most people her age are glued to a video game, television or computer. I know that when I was her age, I certainly wasn’t thinking about how I could help people in nursing homes … I was only thinking about what mischief I could get into, I think. 😉 And you are so right … the gift of time has more value than any amount of money. It’s something we all need to be reminded of from time-to-time. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right ! She has inspired others in many ways, some who have donated money, and others who have started similar programs. My jaw dropped when I visited the GoFundMe page and saw the total from just two months, and several donations on the first page of $200! I loved that this story was widely broadcast … perhaps this is what the world needs … to be inspired by seeing the genuine kindness and compassion of others.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, my friend! I’m glad you liked Ruby. Am I a good person? Well, I’m not a horrid person, I have a good heart and a mostly clear conscience. But the question I ask myself is: Could I be a better person? And the answer is inevitably “yes”. I tend to see my flaws before I see my good points.

      Liked by 1 person

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