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Mountain Ridge senior makes it a point to help the needy

It’s difficult enough carrying a 4.0 GPA in high school and being part of the National Honors Society, and when you add in a life as a varsity softball pitcher, well, that would seem like more than enough.

But for Mountain Ridge senior Alexandra Burcham, it isn’t.

A nominee for the Arizona Sports Character Counts contest presented by Parker & Sons Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, Burcham volunteers her time to, among other charitable ventures, help the homeless.

“I do a lot of work with my mom down at the homeless shelter downtown,” she said. “We pass out food and clothing and stuff like that. We do a lot of things.”

Burcham said a few weeks ago she made birthday cards for the children at the homeless center. As she said, she’s “really trying to outreach in the community.”

She has succeeded, and she’s not stopping anytime soon, as Alexandra will be attending Grand Canyon University as part of their nursing problem.

“That’ll expand my helping people campaign,” she said.

That’s all in the future, one that looks incredibly bright for the 17-year-old middle child with dreams of becoming an athletic trainer. She has two brothers (both of whom she described as “awesome”), 25-year-old Ryan and 12-year-old Zach, and said they — along with her parents — have made helping others a family affair.

“They support it and they’re behind me every step of the way,” she said. “They just love that I love to help people. And me, my mom and my dad always try and help as many people as we can, donate stuff.

“Every weekend we make a meal for the homeless down there, so my entire family will help. Or we’ll go to the store, like Goodwill or something, and we’ll buy clothes and just kind of stuff like that. We all kind of contribute to it, and they’re very supportive.”

She said Ryan is was in Mexico over the weekend building houses with his fiancé, and wishes she could have gone with but softball season meant she couldn’t get away.

And that’s fine, really, because one can’t be expected to be helping others all of the time, even if Alexandra would like to.

One of the things she’s enjoyed the most, she said, was when many foster girls hung with her softball team. She and her teammates taught them how to play whiffle ball along with some other games.

“Seeing how they interacted with the other girls and how happy they were to be there,” she said, “was just so emotional for me, I actually — like, I became emotional.”

Burcham added the girls then went to see the softball team’s first home game, and they were all happy and excited to be there. They made shirts to show their support.

“It’s really cool to see how they open up to us and really become our friends,” she said. “It’s awesome.”

People who do charity work do so for different reasons, but the important thing is that those in need benefit. Alexandra has done whatever she could to impact as many lives as possible, and no doubt she’s made her community a better place.

So, what’s her reason for doing it all?

“It’s pretty much just helping people,” she said. “I love to see the hard work of other people helping, and just the smiles on the faces of those that I help and just knowing that it makes their day and stuff like that. That’s pretty much it.”

Character Counts is a registered trademark of the Josephson Institute.