Sparkt Bridges

Meet the Girl Behind a Movement to Make Life Better for Seniors

We already introduced you to Ruby Kate. Now we got a chance to meet her and you can too!

This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.

Sparkt fans will remember when we first told you about Ruby Kate Chitsey. She's the girl who started an amazing outreach to people in nursing homes in her hometown of Harrison, Arkansas by giving them simple things they wished for but couldn't afford..

"Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents" was starting to get national attention when we first did our story in April: Girl Grants Wishes to Nursing Home Residents

Ruby & mom (center) with two women who plan to start their own Three Wishes chapter in Ohio.

Now her idea has gone so viral she's been invited to travel around the country to speak about it. When she came to Pittsburgh to be the keynote speaker at a statewide conference of nursing home ombudsmen (a fancy word for advocates), we had to go and meet her. Her words and her sunny, can-do attitude taught us a lesson about caring, just like she did a room full of adults who are experts on how to care for people in nursing homes.

Ruby's and her mom Amanda's goals for Three Wishes are growing. They're starting chapters in other towns and states. With 15 thousand long term care centers caring for 1.5 million residents in the U.S., the need is great, and growing. "Our biggest dream is to see Three Wishes chapters in every state and our volunteers helping all of those residents in five years," said Amanda. "I don't want this to be a viral moment."

Ruby with Pearl, whose friendship started it all.

"Our goal has always been to help every resident in need. I think we can do it." Amanda Chitsey

Meantime, Ruby is getting a little reward for all her wish-granting. When a Three Wishes supporter in Louisiana asked Ruby what were her three wishes, Ruby said going to an Ariana Grande concert was one of them. Guess what? Thanks to that supporter, she's going to a concert this summer!

Ruby still shops for her residents, but she has a little more help!

If Ruby has inspired you as much as she's inspired us, there are many ways you can get involved:

Or, just visit a nursing home in your area and see how you can help even one resident live a happier life by giving a little of your time and granting three simple wishes!

The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced

with the generous support of UPMC.

Life Changing Medicine.

How can you start something good?
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