BROCKWAY, Pa. – You probably know Selena Buttery from her prowess on the tennis and basketball courts for the Brockway Lady Rovers.
And while she’s busy preparing for her senior year of high school, she’s also taken on a new mission, and that is Project Grace.
The mission is simple – Selena hopes to make the Brockway community a better place.
“I was actually on a mission trip in Pittsburgh (New Kensington) with my mom,” Buttery said. “My mom and I were on the trip and she said if I should do something, it should really be here in my hometown. She really pushed me.”
That’s how Project Grace began, with helping families in mind, families who may be in need of a variety of items whether it be school supplies, Christmas gifts, birthday gifts or any other event or special holiday.
“I just thought it would be a really good way to bring the community together,” she said. “So for the school items, we’ve been collecting binders, lunch boxes, backpacks, colored pencils and things like that. Most people can find these things but sometimes it’s harder when you can’t travel very far and with us only having a Dollar General here in Brockway.
“As far as the toys go, we’re collecting Legos, Barbies, stuffed animals and most things that kids like to play with.’
She’s also been in contact with the guidance staff at Brockway Elementary School to collect items there as well.
Her Facebook campaign kicked off a week ago, and the response has already been overwhelmingly positive from individuals and businesses.
“We also just started an Instagram page,” she said. “I’ve had a worker from Subway reach out to me to put a box there to collect items. I’ve been in contact with The Hut Family Restaurant in Brockway. I’ve been getting lots of donations privately as well from people who want to help and have me do the shopping for them.
“I’ve also had lots of kids respond on Snapchat to me. There has been a lot of people coming together to get the whole thing started. I didn’t expect a small town to react this quickly.”
And Buttery has some big goals for the project as the 2021-22 school year begins.
“I think that the biggest goals we have are to keep it going,” she said. “So after the school year starts, start collecting toys for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and things like that for families who don’t have the money to provide gifts.”
There are also Project Grace t-shirts, which can be found on the group Facebook page here.
And this isn’t just a short-term project, but one she hopes has a long and lasting impact.
“When I graduate and go to college, my hope is that someone will keep the project going,” she said. “I’m hoping that someone will pick it up because it will be difficult for me being away at school. “It’s all about providing help in the community and spreading love,” Buttery said.