Growing It Forward


Today’s guest blog comes from Xuejun (Sherry) Gu, a scientist in Lilly’s Product Research and Development department.

I am the proud mother of a 12-year-old girl who has inspired our family to help those in need. Tara was exposed to homelessness after attending an Indiana Pacers basketball game. This experience affected her for a quite some time. We often talked about how everyone can help, and how no action is too small. Then we discovered a grant through the Indianapolis Colts.

Tara applied—and she got it. She wanted to use the funding to help children her own age, and she learned about the Joyce Kilmer Academy (JKA) by searching the Internet. We talked with the school administrator and learned that, at the time, the best way to help was by donating uniforms.

When touring the school, Tara witnessed the distribution of weekend meals and was shocked to learn there are kids who don’t have enough food to eat then. As she loves fruits and vegetables, she started a garden in the backyard. This summer, Tara provided 100 weekend meal packages along with fresh cucumbers from her garden to JKA. The rest of her story was captured in a recent Indianapolis Star newspaper article.

Through Tara’s work, I have witnessed firsthand how volunteering and donations significantly impacted the well-being of JKA kids. Thanks to her donation, uniforms have become a strong mechanism to stop bullying at the school. When we delivered weekend meals and fresh cucumbers to the kids, one of the little girls told us she can slice the cucumber to cover eyes if she starts a spa. These kids have such bright futures ahead of them, and we want to do everything we can to help them realize their potential. I was so glad when I learned about Lilly’s business alliance with Indianapolis Public Schools and support of JKA.

I am very grateful to work for a company that cares about the community and offers so many opportunities for its employees to do our part, including the United Way campaign and Global Day of Service. Lilly’s partnership with the IPS Business Alliance allows my husband and me to work alongside Tara and help children in need. My experience with JKA has offered a more intimate understanding of how much is needed and how we can help. I have learned that every action counts. Collectively, we have a chance to help these children and reshape their futures.



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