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Giving back

A sixth-grade student shows what she can do for her community

David Pressgrove

On pay day Nancy Gutierrez signs her check and sets approximately 10 percent of the earnings aside. After depositing her share, Nancy then has a decision to make which local non-profit will she donate to this time?

A thoughtful gesture for anyone, but even more extraordinary considering Nancy is an 11-year-old sixth grader.

Once the young philanthropist decides who will be her benefactor, she normally hops on her bike and delivers it by hand. Some of the organizations she has donated to include the Red Cross, Lions Club, the Budget Center, the Visiting Nurses Association and Grand Futures.

“It feels good to give back,” the soft but not timid-spoken Gutierrez said. “I was raised in an atmosphere of giving back to the community and I like to do it.”

Gutierrez’ father, Roman, is the Moffat County High School wrestling coach and his wrestlers help the community with their turkey leg sales and her mother, Vicki, used to be the coordinator of Toys for Tots. Additionally, the Gutierrezes gave money this summer to Mt. Elim Bible camp to help fund well digging for the camp.

“I think it is wonderful that someone so young is giving back,” said Buddy Grinstead the president of Lions Club, which has been a two-time recipient of Nancy’s donations. “It says a lot about her and her family’s involvement and caring for the community where they live.”

It is not often that an 11-year-old rides her bike up to a non-profit group and gives money. Nancy said she has been well received, but that some people have been surprised.

“When I went in into the VNA, the lady there was like, ‘OK, why are you … what am I supposed to … well, thank you.” Gutierrez said . “She was pretty confused but she ended up taking it.”

Gutierrez said she decided to give some of her earnings back after a visit to the Casa Benita restaurant in Denver with her family.

“At the restaurant they said that they give the money that is thrown into the pools to charity,” said Gutierrez. “I thought it was a good idea so I asked my mom if I could give money back and she said it was fine.”

Gutierrez’ income is earned at her job at local radio station KRAI. Nancy cleans the station, where her mom works as the account executive, twice a week. Additionally, the 11-year-old also sets up an occasional lemonade stand and sells homemade lollipops.

Besides the direct donations to non-profits organizations, Nancy has helped raise money as a top fund-raiser for several community and school activities.

For two out of three years, she was the top Girl Scout cookie and nuts seller. She was the top ticket seller for the Substance Abuse Prevention Program dinner and has been one of the top sellers for Jump Rope for Heart.

Nancy credits her ability as a fund-raiser and ticket seller to spending time with her mother at the radio station selling ads.

But her mom thinks it is more simple than that.

“I think 90 percent of it is that she just isn’t afraid to ask people,” she said.

“What’s the worse thing they can do, say no?” added Nancy.

“She is an intense, directed child,” her mother said . “We may have set her in the direction of what she is doing, but it is her own personality and drive that keeps her going.”

Part of the drive and intensity can be seen in Nancy’s interest in saving her earnings. According to her mother, they explained the idea of accruing interest to their daughter when she was about five. Since then she has been putting money in the bank to watch it grow.

“She has visions of the credit union having a room set aside just for her money,” Vicki Gutierrez said . “She had a savings account until she realized that certificates of deposits (CDs) pay more back. Now she’s working on her fourth CD.”

The early investor is saving her money for reasons more than just to watch it grow.

“I want to go to Harvard Medical School,” she said with a big smile. “Saving now will make my future plans more possible.”

When she’s not working, selling tickets or donating and counting money, Nancy said she likes to fish with her dad, go horseback riding and figure out math problems.

“I know it is weird, but my idea of fun is a page of math problems,” Nancy said . “So sometimes I ask my dad to make a page of problems for me and I fill them out.”

The young mathematician earned straight As as a fifth-grade student at Craig Intermediate School.

“Nancy will stay in the library sometimes when her classmates are out playing,” said Sandy Feeney, the Craig Intermediate School librarian. “Nancy is generally always very helpful while some of her peers might prefer to sit around and do nothing.

“She has ideals that I wish other kids had,” Feeney said. “So many 11 year olds would spend their money on the latest (compact disc). She is always looking to give back in

some way.”

“She has a big heart,” said her mother, seemingly summing up her daughter’s motivation.

As the summer reached its midpoint, Nancy sat in the KRAI office after finishing her cleaning and announced, “This is about the time when I start to become bored in the summer.”

Who knows what the ever-busy young lady means by bored, but don’t be surprised to see her around town doing something extraordinary just to keep herself amused.


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