Teen volunteers at senior community since he was a toddler

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A young man learned the importance of volunteering at just the age of two.

15-year-old John Henry Donnelly is hoping he'll inspire others to give back where very few his age usually ever go.

Lynn Mathews remembers when, John Henry, was just two years old when he first walked into the doors of a senior community, Parkway Place, to volunteer with his mom.

"I mainly just walked around talking to people, shaking their hands and getting to know them," said John Henry.

John Henry soon started building bonds and each week he would spend hours with Mr. Mathews.

"I would come to Mr. Matthew's room and play with his little toy cars. And now Mrs. Matthews is here so I come back to visit her," said John Henry.

After Mr. Mathews died years ago, John Henry held on through his widow.

"He always brought a gift. It was always a label. It could be a label of a talking train, or a purple monster, but he always had something to give," said Lynn Mathews, Parkway Place Resident.

Years went by, but still John Henry was there volunteering thousands of hours.

He sets-up games, events or just says hello and through the years he gained something far greater.

"I wanted him to develop an appreciation for the older generation because they've been through decades of life. They have so much to offer in terms of their experience, the wisdom that they've gained," said Jessica Donnelly, John Henry's mother.

John Henry teaches us the power of volunteering and the difference you can make, no matter how old you are.

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