We’ve been writing about Alanna Wall and her Polished Girlz for the past three years, and our readers have been generous in responding.
The story provides a great example of the way one person can make a difference.
When she realized she was too young to volunteer for most nonprofit organizations, 10-year-old Alanna decided to start her own.
She loved drawing, nail polish and glitter, and offered to paint the fingernails of hospitalized children or those with special needs.
She discovered that the one-on-one sessions could brighten the lives of others and make them happy.
The project has grown and now includes cities throughout the nation and worldwide.There are now more than 700 volunteers who serve on Polished Girlz teams.
“We’ve expanded to 20 states, to Australia, and she has a team in Canada,” says Alanna’s mom, Valerie Ragland, who is a nurse and works as executive director for the organization. “She now serves hospitals in Dallas, San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York.”
Alanna has become a national celebrity: she’s been a guest on the “Ellen” television show, she was just in New York during fashion week as a lead nail designer for Raul Penaranda, and she’s currently is featured in Jet magazine as one of its first “Top 40 Under 40” — labeled as “heroes blazing a trail toward a better future.”
Locally Alanna was a nominee for WHIO-TV, Channel 7’s “Making a Difference Award” and last weekend she did nails for children with cancer at the Cure Search event.
Now 13, Alanna is an eighth-grader at Stivers School for the Arts where she studies violin. She hopes to be a veterinarian someday.
“I’m glad I started Polished Girlz, we’re making lots of kids smile,” she says proudly. “Lots of people want to help us.”
The nail sessions range from plain painted nails to fancy designs. The focus is on children and adults with disabilities and critically ill children in extended stay at hospital facilities.
“I also love that I get to teach them about how important hand washing is and that it can keep them from being sick as often,” Alanna always tells us.
Polished Girlz is in always need of the following items:
- Colored and clear nail polishes
- Nail polish remover
- Nail art stickers
- Hand sanitizer
- Cotton balls
- Nail art brushes
- Pink tablecloths
- Paper towels.
Items can be mailed to Box 60293, Dayton, OH 45406 or dropped off at United Rehabilitation Services, 4710 Troy Pike, Dayton, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
For more information, go online to www.polishedgirlz.org or e-mail email@example.com
HELPING OUR COMMUNITY MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Make a Difference publishes wish lists of nonprofit organizations, connecting our readers with those groups that are in need of gently used or new items.
If your organization would like to be featured, please send details to Meredith Moss: MMoss@coxohio.com
Please include a daytime phone number.