College student, store manager and hometown hero are just a few ways people have described Katie Mettert.
Mettert, who manages the Five Below in San Dimas, donated $400 of her own money to help a local Girl Scout troop host a special event for foster families in the community and, in turn, earn their Bronze and Silver Awards.
“We were calling different businesses to see if they could donate any items,” Girl Scout Aleena Corrales, 11, said.
At least five businesses turned them down before Mettert came to their rescue.
Marley Fejeran, 13, and her mother Glenda started Troop 5654 in 2016. The troop, based in Glendora, is made up of nine girls ages 11 to 13, ranging from Juniors to Cadets.
Girl Scouts can earn Bronze, Silver and Gold awards by “making the world a better place,” according to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website. Each award is earned through a different set of requirements, service hours and action steps.
In order to earn their Bronze and Silver awards, Troop 5654 partnered with Victor, an organization that serves foster families in Pomona, to host a carnival for 28 foster kids and their families.
The event was initiated and executed entirely by the scouts.
“With the award, you must plan everything from all the way in the beginning and also take action, which is what we did at the foster event,” Fejeran explained.
Leading up to the May 14 event, the Girl Scouts reached out to local stores and businesses seeking donations of toys, clothes, school supplies and other household necessities. Foster families were then invited to select from the items and enjoy a carnival with games and treats, hosted by the troop.
Without Mettert’s donation, the event would not have happened, according to Aleena Corrales’ mother Ana Corrales.
The Girl Scout troop had reached out to multiple businesses, but “a lot of places were not willing to donate,” Ana Corrales said.
“Because of Katie, this event is possible.”
Fejeran said Mettert’s generosity taught her about the power of kindness, especially from strangers.
“Without her, the event would [have been] much less than it was.”
While Five Below corporate was initially unable to make a donation to the troop, Mettert invited the Girl Scouts for a shopping spree at the store — on her.
Although she has no connection to the Girl Scouts (other than buying their cookies annually), Mettert said she was inspired to pay it forward because of generous donors who made it possible for her to graduate from the University of La Verne debt free.
“It was my time to give back,” Mettert said.
And the smiles were worth it.
“It was really fun to see the big smiles on their faces because they [the Girl Scouts] got to choose what the [foster] kids were going to shop from,” Mettert recalled. “Seeing that joy in their faces — that was a really awesome moment.”
Mettert will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration later this month. After graduation, she hopes to continue to advance her career with Five Below.
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