DG Caleb asks the question, “Can one person make a difference?” Shelton Rotarian Kristin French is proof that one can.
Kristin is a local girl and ran cross country at Shelton High School. The team trained and hosted meets at the Huff n Puff trail, directly across the street from the school. The place means a lot to her. It also had meaning for her Rotary Club because years ago, the club had helped fund an Eagle Scout project for a local kid, Abe Gardner, to erect a memorial at the start of the trail to recognize and remember Shelton school kids who had passed away while students.
So last year, when Kristin had two incidents of being harassed while using the trail and was distressed by the graffiti and garbage she saw there, she decided to do something about it and enlisted her club to help—and the club rallied around.
Kristin, now an attorney with the local Public Utility District, organized a meeting of city, county, and school district officials and got commitments to install video surveillance cameras, increase police patrols, and resurface the parking lot. She has organized multiple club clean-up days, found the Eagle Scout, Abe Gardner, and enlisted his help. He helped to clean graffiti off the memorial and is working with the school district to add the names of kids lost since it was installed.
Shelton Rotary has officially adopted the trail, and today, it looks a lot like it did when Kristin was in high school. The club does trash pickup twice a month, the graffiti is gone, and the memorial is cleaned up.
And Shelton folks are returning to the trail because they feel safe there now and it looks better. The Shelton Family YMCA has organized a walking group that uses the trail regularly, and the local women’s shelter recently had a fun run that started and ended at the trail.
In Shelton, we have the answer to Caleb’s question of whether one person can make a difference.
It’s yes, and Kristin French is living proof.