What do you want to be when you grow up?
That’s hard to say because I’ve been doing a lot of hobbies, so there are a lot of things I’m interested in. I would probably want to volunteer to be a coach for the AYSO soccer camp in La Grange and then I would cook.
What is your favorite food?
For breakfast, chocolate pastries that I make and sunnyside up sandwiches, for lunch, pizza pockets and for dinner, Swedish meatballs.
What is your weird talent?
I can sound like Donald Duck.
Who inspires you?
All the people who have written these cookbooks I’ve been reading. I do a class at the Burr Ridge Park District and I met this girl named Chef Laura who got me inspired to do the café.
Samantha Tracy, better known as Sam to her friends and family, may only be in fourth grade but she’s already a veteran chef. The La Grange resident started cooking at age 4 through a park district class. Now she’s using her skills in the kitchen to help her community.
Since this past summer, Sam has held several cafés in her backyard to raise money for the La Grange Memorial Hospital Foundation.
"First I wanted to donate money to the pediatric unit, but they said they didn’t really need it, so they told me about the doubling program," Sam explains. For every dollar Sam donates, the Community Memorial Foundation matches it.
Although the cafés involved a lot of work and organization, her mother, Beth, says she let Sam run the show.
"She’ll do everything on her own—I won’t get involved," she says. "I say, ‘This is your thing, we’re providing the supplies, but this is your thing.’ She’s really good."
The first café, held in June, featured a breakfast menu including cinnamon muffins, chocolate croissants, fruit kabobs and drinks. Charging $2 for a fruit kabob, muffin and drink, Sam raised $70 and became the hospital’s youngest donor. She held lunch and dinner cafés later in the summer and one last breakfast café on a Saturday in September. Although it’s a little too cold to have any additional cafés this year, Sam has some charitable ideas for her 10th birthday at the end of October.
"I was thinking about for my birthday instead of presents I could ask [my friends] to donate to the hospital," she says.
Although the hospital donations were all Sam’s idea, her mother says charitable activities have always been encouraged in their family.
"We usually do a fundraiser walk or something for charity and we’ve always encouraged her to do that. So she put the fundraising and cooking together to create this café," Beth says.
For all her hard work, Sam just hopes for a little recognition the next time she’s at the hospital.
"I hope if I have to go to the hospital then they’ll recognize me and notice me and say, ‘You’ve done a really good job.’ "
Do you know a great kid age 14 and under who’s done something amazing? E-mail names and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.