If you want to feel inspired today, listen to the story of Shelby Grebenc, a 13-year-old student from Colorado. Shelby’s contribution to her family’s needs gives ‘family home care’ new meaning.
Shelby’s mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis several years ago. Shelby talks of the time her mother was going through a particularly difficult time with her disease, “It was sad, it was really sad… she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t feed herself… she was pretty much dead on the couch.”
Nancy, a pharmacist, and her husband John Michael, who works at a water treatment plant, made a good living. Eventually though, Nancy’s condition worsened and for a time, she had to be admitted into a nursing home for more extensive care. With the loss of Nancy’s income and the nursing home expense, the family’s finances were crumbling; the couple was going bankrupt.
Shelby was told none of this, but she knew all of it. She said of her father, “I could see how sad he was and I decided to help him.”
So Shelby decided to become a poultry farmer. At the age of 9, she got a loan from her grandmother and purchased chickens. She ran the numbers and figured there was money in eggs if you did it right. Happily, Shelby did it right. Today she says she has around 135 hens.
Shelby has become the youngest farmer in America to win the Animal Welfare Seal of Approval. Her chickens are treated with the utmost care. She also provides home delivery for her eggs. Her company now makes about $15,000 per year.
What does her father think of her contribution? Where would the family be without Shelby stepping in? “I think we would have been homeless,” he says. “We would have lost it. She kept the wolf away from the door.”
Today Nancy is at home again and is a little better. The family’s financial situation has improved as well, so Shelby’s income is now channeled toward a college fund. Shelby says, however, that should the need arise, family remains her first priority.
If you have younger ones in the family, don’t ignore the possibility that they want to make a contribution to the family home care as well. We’re not saying they need to create a free-range poultry farm in your backyard! But would it be empowering to them to help with meals, do a little dusting or sweeping, or plan entertainment for the family? Even in small ways, they can feel their contributions are valuable, and of course, they truly are.