Hadley Gray, a 12 year-old philanthropist from Surprise, has been involved in giving back to the community since she was 4.
Around Hadley’s 9th birthday, she decided instead of asking for birthday gifts she wanted to have people donate items for homeless shelters and pet shelters. Then for her 11th birthday she organized a donation drive for foster youths in need of luggage and basic living essentials.
She was recognized as the 2021 Arizona’s Middle Level Honoree for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award.
During a drive to the mall, Hadley noticed the sign for Soldier’s Best Friend and decided to Google their name. She found out Soldier’s Best Friend is a Peoria-based nonprofit devoted to helping veterans and making a positive impact on the pet overpopulation problem.
Soldier’s Best Friend finds local shelter dogs and trains them for our U.S. Military veterans that have suffered combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury.
Hadley felt like she needed to raise money for this nonprofit. She picked this nonprofit because her love for animals, she has veterans in her family, and to continue to raise awareness about mental health especially for veterans that give so much for our country.
Hadley says this nonprofit saves two lives at once. This is her largest project to date.
She decided the best way to raise money would be a baseball game. With the help of friends and the Peoria Diamond Club, she was able to organize a doubleheader baseball game at the Peoria Sports Complex on April 25.
This event brings together four Peoria Unified School District high schools teams. Rivals Cactus and Peoria high schools will play in the opener at 4 p.m. and rivals Sunrise Mountain and Liberty high schools follows at 7.
Liberty is the 2021 6A champions. This is a rare opportunity for the players at these schools to play on the main field at the Peoria Sports Complex, just weeks after spring training.
Hadley said she wanted to make sure she met the players of all the teams playing, let them know why this event is so important to her and thanked them for participating.
Many of the event sponsors have known Hadley since she was little.
Her mother, Angella Gray, said Hadley is trying hard to raise $15,000 and is almost halfway there as of the start of April.
Besides the admission fees, the Gray family has also organized a silent auction with many items; a Rawlings custom glove worth $500, a VIP Total Wine tasting party for 20 people, Diamondbacks dugout tickets, two night stay at the Wigwam and more.
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