- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2016

Many seventh-graders are content to play sports, hang out with friends and do some homework — maybe.

But 13-year-old Hannah Weigand, who attends Lorien Wood School in Vienna, Virginia, did more texting and scoring soccer goals this year. She planned and executed a drive to help single mothers in the District by collecting, stocking and delivering dozens of diaper bags to the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.

Janet Durig, the pregnancy center’s executive director, expressed admiration for Hannah and her mission.

“For a girl of her age to do a project like this she deserves not just one round of applause, but a trophy,” said Ms. Durig, whose Christian organization provides care for women who experience crisis pregnancies.

On July 8, Hannah finished her six-month fundraiser by delivering 125 diaper bags to the center. Often containing the only new clothes the baby will ever receive, each bag was stuffed with sleepers, onesies, rattles, blankets and bottles galore. The total value of all the bags, or layettes, that Hannah assembled is estimated to be $7,000.

“I met with the director of the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, and I just asked her what would be most helpful for me to do,” Hannah said. “She said in the summer they had a shortage of layettes and diaper bags, so that would be helpful to bring.”

Hannah began her philanthropic enterprise in January as part of her school’s requirement to complete a two-year service project. After finishing the assigned reading, “Do Hard Things” — a book that encourages students to transcend society’s low expectations of them — Hannah worked hard and fast and completed her goal an entire year early.

Hannah was just so on top of it and pressed really hard to make sure the layettes could get to Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center by this summer,” said Dana Weigand, Hannah’s mother. “In many ways, her project is considered finished, but I think she would like to continue helping.

From the start, Hannah knew her ambition ran too deep to complete the task alone, so she rallied support at her school and her church. One Sunday morning, she spoke to 1,000 people.

“I work regularly in the nursery here at [McLean Presbyterian Church], and in our community, expectant parents are celebrated with gifts and baby showers,” Hannah said from the pulpit. “At Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, many of the moms do not have the support of a husband or the means to provide their babies with the items they’ll need.”

After hearing Hannah’s vision to provide the pregnancy center with layettes for the summer, people jumped on board, and many surprised her with their enthusiasm.

“Babies sure get people excited,” Hannah said.

The work wasn’t easy, even with an abundance of support from friends and family. To help single mothers surmount the obstacles they face, Hannah had to leap some hurdles of her own, including public speaking and stewarding thousands of dollars.

“I could anticipate some of the hard things that maybe Hannah wouldn’t see, but I thought it was doable,” said Mrs. Weigand.

Hannah was given the responsibility of choosing how to spend $2,500 worth of donations. The budgeting process didn’t seem to worry her, though; she simply compared retailers’ prices.

“I really liked picking out the clothes and stuff and putting them all together in the diaper bags. I went with my mom to Target and Wal-Mart,” Hannah said.

The Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center not met its layette goal for the summer and should have enough to last through the winter. Hannah’s original goal of 75 layettes was nearly doubled.

“When we give what we have to Jesus, no matter how small, he always multiplies the outcome to be more than we can imagine,” Hannah said.

Hannah said she looks forward to going into eighth grade this fall and plans to continue volunteering at the pregnancy center.


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