Angelia Bostick, executive director of Brown County Home Solutions, shared a story about a recent phone call she received regarding helping the homeless.
    “It’s not unusual to receive a call like that when you work for a nonprofit,” Bostick said via email. “As a matter of fact, you count on receiving those calls. But this call was different.”
     This call, Bostick said, was from a dad who said his 9-year-old daughter was seriously concerned about the homeless in the community and wanted to help. He also told Bostick his daughter,  Tristan Paduch — a third-grader at J. B. Stephens Elementary School in Bangs — was already planning how to raise money for that purpose. She just needed a person or an organization that could get the money to the folks she was wanting to help.
    “After visiting with dad over the phone, I knew I wanted to meet this young lady,” Bostick said.
    She arranged to meet Tristan after school one weekend and traveled to Little Indian Construction, her dad’s workplace near the Lake Brownwood dam, to visit with her. Bostick also met Tristan’s mom, Karissa, and sister, Alexis.
    “I introduced myself and told her I worked with Brown County Home Solutions and that I understood she wanted to help homeless people in our county,” Bostick said. “She told me she did.”
    Bostick asked Tristan a couple of questions: what in the world had given her the idea that there are homeless people in Brown County, and what was her plan, as a third-grader, to help?
    “Tristan told me she and her dad had come to Brownwood a few days ago and they saw a poor homeless person near a shop,” Bostick said. Tristan pointed the man out to her father and said they had to do something to help.
    “What if that was me, or us, and nobody cared about us?” Tristan asked her father, “How could we make it?”
    Tristan’s father had a few dollars in his pocket and gave it to the man. “For a lot of people it would have ended there,” Bostick said. “We would be satisfied that we had done our part to address the need of the less fortunate. But not Tristan.”
     Tristan came up with a plan and enlisted some of her friends to help.  Her plan: her friend Claire would make ornaments, another friend, Juliette, would make pillows, and yet another friend, Bailor, would make necklaces and bracelets. And Tristan would make  miniature snow globes and pictures.
    “And these ladies are third-graders,” Bostick said.
    Tristan talked to the school’s principal, Candace Wilson,  Mrs. Wilson, about selling the handmade items at school. Tristan and her friends made plans to sell their handmade treasures to help the homeless at the benches in front of the school.
    “I expressed my appreciation and admiration for all the work Tristan has already done,” Bostick said. “I also applaud the parents who have raised such a caring daughter and empowered her to believe that she can make a difference – at any age.
     Tristan told me, ‘I would just be worried about them if I didn’t do something. What if it was me? Or my mom or dad? Or a sister? I would want someone to care and to help.’”