Student receives $300 for study abroad

By Sabrina Squire - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – We don't typically pass it on with orchestral fanfare, but then 13-year-old Jake Phillips isn't your average eighth grader. When he not's making music in middle school, he's taking high school Latin, going the distance with the cross country team, scaling new heights with his boy scout troop, coaching kids at church or helping serve the homeless.

"He goes and helps with serving the food, preparing the food, sitting and talking with guests that we have there at church," said Jake's mother Lisa Phillips.

And when Jacob reached out across the pond for an exchange trip to England, his parents were as excited as the oldest son.

"He came home and said 'Dad, I got accepted to the trip,'" said Steve Phillips, Jake's father. "The foundation that this is going to build for him and his educational and professional career, this is going to open up so many doors for him."

But the exchange program's $1,600 cost gave them sticker shock.

"It actually did, because we're at a place right now where that's a difficult thing for us," Lisa said.

Jake's mom teaches special education and tutors evenings, and his dad is starting his own business after losing his job with the recession. Their fellow church member, Larry Davis, contacted Acts of Kindness.

"He's a good young man; he's kind of struggling to get to where he needs to be on this trip. Everyone these days could use a helping hand," said Larry Davis.

Sabrina Squire: "$300 for an upstanding young man's education abroad."
Larry Davis: "Thank you. I appreciate your program and I've seen where it benefits many folks."

It takes a village to pass this on - Jake's parents, principal, counselor, librarian and church member all surprise him in class.

Sabrina Squire: "We're looking for Jacob. We're with channel 12 and we do a program called Acts of Kindness. You're our recipient Jacob, congratulations."
Larry Davis: "Mr. Jacob you know you've done such a god job in scouting, band, track and field, you also do coaching at the church. I felt you were well deserving, so we wrote you a letter, we nominated you and you're the winner buddy, you've going to England. On behalf of Channel 12 I'd like to give you this $300."
Sabrina Squire: "We hope it helps."

Jake was understandably shell shocked.

Jake Phillips: "I'm really excited."
Sabrina Squire: "What are you most looking forward to about this trip?" 
Jake Phillips: "Getting to see what the culture is like over in England." 
Sabrina Squire: "What attraction, landmarks do you want to see most?"
Jake Phillips: "Big Ben."
Sabrina Squire: "Ok."

Jake and 15 other students will spend ten days in England this July, until then he'll keep busy fundraising. He and his classmates will keep the lesson of the power of one Act of Kindness.

"So if you hear one person can't make a difference, Jake obviously made a difference that letter made a difference too and it's led to all of this. Now you all are going to be on TV," BBMS Principal Mike Gill said.

If you think someone you know deserves an Act of Kindness, send your nomination to

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