Make a Difference Winner: Justin Strole


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – A young boy in Terre Haute is learning the importance of giving through doing.

The second grader at Rio Grande is using his creative idea to help those even younger than him. Eight year old Justin Strole puts wild onions in a bag and adds a red ribbon as a final touch.

Its part of a fundraiser he started to help families who have a baby in the NICU. The fundraiser is a unique idea that came to him while playing outside last spring.

“I was at daycare one day in the summer and I was digging up these wild onions and I was just going to set them back on the ground when I thought I can sell these for babies because they really need the money,” said Justin.

He began selling them at the rate of two for 25 cents, an idea that took his parents by surprise.

“I said I found all these dirty little onions in your backpack and was wondering what was going on with those, and with confidence he said I found those at daycare, I’m going to sell them and with the money I’m going to donate to sick babies,” said Dawn Strole, Justin’s mom.

“He was seven so we thought he’s saying this and a day later he will move onto something else,” said Chris Strole, Justin’s dad.

That wasn’t the case, fast forward nine months later, Justin raised over $600 for the NICU Family Assistance Fund at Union Hospital

For Justin and his family it’s a cause that hits close to home.

“My brother was in the NICU unit because of his blood sugar,” says Justin.

His brother Dylan, now five, only spent a couple of days in the NICU, but Justin realized other families weren’t as lucky. Those in the community began to take notice of the little boy with a big heart.

“He’s kind; he’s courteous, well-mannered, and intelligent,” says Julie Seal, who nominated Justin.

For reasons like that it’s not hard to believe Justin was this month’s Make a Difference Award winner.

His mom and dad are overwhelmed with pride as he receives the award.

They say Justin’s project continues to teach them about the importance of giving back.

“As adults you go to church and you put money in the basket and you do little things but at seven you just don’t think of that usually,” says Chris.

When winter turns to spring Justin will once again be on the hunt for more wild onions to continue the fundraiser that helps those who can’t always help themselves.

“I’m just happy to help the babies,” says Justin.

The money raised alleviates expenses for families by providing gas and meal cards, as well as assisting with hotel bills.

If you would like to donate to the cause Justin does have a facebook page titled, “onions for babies” at provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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