Shelley Compton was an extremely giving and caring person to all who knew her.
The much loved Brighton kindergarten and first grade teacher passed away in 1996. She spent some of her last days planning a fund to care for local children in need before even thinking about her own funeral, according to Suzanne Johnson, a friend and fellow Brighton teacher.
"She was one of these people that gave and gave," Johnson said. "She would adopt families for Christmas. She would supply food and clothing to families of her students in her classroom. Her intent was to carry on that giving spirit that she had. She planned everything."
Shelley established a fund to help families with one of more children at the kindergarten through fourth-grade level by assisting with housing needs, counseling, food, clothing learning materials and medical care.
Different things come up each year and families have requested aid with utility bills, clothing, food and gas cards as well, according to Hilton Principal Peggy Moyer.
"People don't realize that we have teachers all the time that if somebody needs a snowsuit or doesn't have boots, the child comes and opens their locker and there might be a new snowsuit or boots in there," she said. "Teachers do those kinds of things. And she (Shelley) was kind of extraordinary at that in many ways."
The fund is run by a committee of an administrator, a teacher, a parent and a school social worker. Moyer and Johnson fill the administrator and teacher roles on the committee.
Each year, the fund committee holds an Angel Tree drive in Hawkins, Hilton, Hornung and Spencer Elementary schools during the holidays to raise money. Children and parents can decorate angels and bring them in with any kind of donation - or even without donations.
Johnson said they welcome any kind of donation - even coins and it's all about kids helping kids.
"We've had kids empty their piggy banks or bring in their allowance," Peggy Moyer said.
"I Love when they come with their little envelopes with their change just clanking," Johnson added. "That says it all."
Memorial angels were established during the Angel Tree Drive last year as a way for children and their families to honor the memory of a loved one that has passed on.
Johnson said the first-graders at Hilton have really taken heart with the memorial angels and make their angels very personal.
Last year, Shelley's fund helped raise $2,800 for children in need.
However, Moyer said it has been less and less over the years and the committee is concerned. And while they understand the economy accounts for the fall in donations, more needs have arisen because of it too.
The Shelley Compton Memorial Fund Angel Tree Drive will continue in all four Brighton elementary schools until Dec. 21.
Donations are accepted year round, and can be sent to the Shelley Compton Memorial fund, Care of Hilton Elementary School, 9600 Hilton Rd. Brighton, MI 48114.