Grace Trester is the kind of kid who simply does everything she's asked ... and she'll even write a thank-you note for allowing her to help.
When a member at Palos Verdes Peninsula Village needed her house cleaned out because she was moving to a retirement community, Trester was there.
Not only did the Palos Verdes High freshman clean, but she brought the woman’s donations to Goodwill.
Trester has accompanied Village members to doctor appointments, taken them grocery shopping and helped them put their groceries away when they got home. She's worked at some of the Village Member Social events, lightening the load of the staff and interacting with the members.
When a housebound Village member was lonely, Trester brightened her day by playing the piano for her. She's taught other members how to use their iPads and she's pitched in on creating a slide show for a Village event.
Trester and another teen volunteer, Shivani Sharma, organized the garage of Village member, Zita Barr.
“The girls were just so wonderful,” said Barr said. “They worked beautifully together. They were very able and confident—able to organize everything," said Barr, who added that Trester wrote her a thank you letter “before I could get one off to her!”
The Rancho Palos Verdes resident started volunteering with the Village through Colleen Cotter, a family friend who is also a former Village executive director.
The Village is a nonprofit that provides outreach and social events for seniors who want to remain living independently in their own homes.
“We were the first group of teen volunteers at the Village,” Trester said, “and I completed many different projects there.”
Trester's 50 hours of community service at the Village earned her a Girl Scout Silver award.
The Silver Award requires a small group of the scouts to carry out 50 hours of community service. Malia Carson, Tester’s Scout Leader said,
“I've loved watching Grace grow and mature in Girl Scouts," said her scout leader Malia Carson. "She is a patient and compassionate girl who leads by example and treats everyone with kindness.”
In addition to her work at the Village, Trester is a photographer and member of the PVHS Triton yearbook staff. She plays piano and is a figure skater who hopes to study special education in college.
Trester also volunteers with the Palos Verdes National Charity League and she recently worked for 4 weeks at the Friendship Foundation Beach Camp for special needs children.
“At beach camp I followed the child's lead," Trester explained, “So sometimes it meant a lot of time in the ocean and other times we played games in the sand."
She said she had to take an individualized approach to the students since some were as young as 7, others teenagers.
"I loved the chance to connect with the kids on a one-on-one basis," said Trester, who added that's why she was drawn to the field of special education.
And, she's not finished. Trester is a member an organization at her high school titled Palos Verdes Assembly.
The club teaches the importance of elegance, grace and manners while conveying a humanitarian spirit of service to the community, she said.