Greene County woman named May Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Greene County woman named May Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner

Shawnda James explains her involvement with Rotaract. (Source: KAIT-TV) Shawnda James explains her involvement with Rotaract. (Source: KAIT-TV)
Shawnda James receives $408 for being named a Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner. (Source: KAIT-TV) Shawnda James receives $408 for being named a Gr8 Acts of Kindness winner. (Source: KAIT-TV)
Shawnda James embraced by her best friend after hearing she won the Gr8 Acts of Kindness for May. (Source: KAIT-TV) Shawnda James embraced by her best friend after hearing she won the Gr8 Acts of Kindness for May. (Source: KAIT-TV)
PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -

Shawnda James just turned 22 years old.

Driven to serve, the young woman has her eye on volunteerism on both a local and global level. James is the President of Rotaract in Paragould.

“My parents always pushed me and my sister to be in church, to be active in the community and help people whenever you can,” James said. “It’s kind of like second nature now.”

“There’s not anything that she won’t sign up for or volunteer for,” Meredith McMillon, Paragould Rotary secretary said. “She wants to help every way she can.”

And that includes a project close to her heart. Her goal is to put teddy bears into the hands of children who need reassurance.

“I’m the vice-president of Zeta Tau Alpha chapter," James said. "Around Christmas, we collect a few teddy bears every year to donate to the Jonesboro Police Department.”

Not only did James come up with the idea, she keeps finding sponsors.

“They have gotten so many more than what was expected,” McMillon said. “It’s been amazing!”

Her soft spot for children started with a child named Saintamene in Haiti.

“My first mission trip, she runs up and grabs my head and starts speaking French,” James said. “I was like oh, I don’t know what to do.”

Shawnda soon discovered that language doesn’t matter. Now she sponsors Saintamene and remembers her every time she tries to help foster children in Greene County.

“They get taken away from whatever situation they’re in—generally in whatever clothes they have on,” James said. “That’s it. As a child, I cannot imagine.”

Nor could she imagine winning Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

“We want to say thank you for all you do for your community,” Allen Williams, Community President at First Community Bank, said.

And 200 more dollars are being given by a private donor to the charity of her choice.

“My mother has congestive heart failure,” James said. “She has been struggling with it for a year now. I’d like to donate it to the American Heart Association.”

That is a fitting tribute to a young woman who leads with her heart.

“She is so deserving of it,” Kaitlyn Poe said.

Poe nominated James for the honor.

“She is one of the best women I know," Poe said. "One of the strongest women I know. I am so proud of her.”

James used her winnings of $408 to purchase backpacks, hairbrushes, and other items to assemble comfort kits for the CASA program.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Live in Montgomery: The Day before the Big Game

    Live in Montgomery: The Day before the Big Game

    Friday, December 15 2017 11:41 PM EST2017-12-16 04:41:07 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:49 PM EST2017-12-16 04:49:15 GMT
    The A-State football team visited the Rosa Parks Museum this week as part of bowl festivities for the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. (Source: KAIT)The A-State football team visited the Rosa Parks Museum this week as part of bowl festivities for the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. (Source: KAIT)

    It was a busy Friday as the A-State Red Wolves finished the final preparations for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery. 

    It was a busy Friday as the A-State Red Wolves finished the final preparations for Saturday's game against Middle Tennessee in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery. 

  • Greensborough Village project sees first building construction project

    Greensborough Village project sees first building construction project

    Friday, December 15 2017 11:18 PM EST2017-12-16 04:18:27 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:38 PM EST2017-12-16 04:38:31 GMT
    A developer said Friday that the Greensborough Village project is moving ahead. (Source: KAIT)A developer said Friday that the Greensborough Village project is moving ahead. (Source: KAIT)

    A 200-acre property project in the Hilltop area of Jonesboro is moving ahead, a developer of the project said Friday. 

    A 200-acre property project in the Hilltop area of Jonesboro is moving ahead, a developer of the project said Friday. 

  • breaking

    One dead, one in custody, investigator says in Lawrence County shooting

    One dead, one in custody, investigator says in Lawrence County shooting

    Friday, December 15 2017 9:17 PM EST2017-12-16 02:17:05 GMT
    Friday, December 15 2017 11:17 PM EST2017-12-16 04:17:18 GMT
    Lawrence County deputies were at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Highway 91. (Source: KAIT)Lawrence County deputies were at the scene of a shooting Friday night on Highway 91. (Source: KAIT)

    According to Sgt. Jamie White of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, authorities there are investigating a shooting in which a woman was killed. 

    According to Sgt. Jamie White of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, authorities there are investigating a shooting in which a woman was killed. 

Powered by Frankly