The nine-year-old who sings and plays piano for local nursing home residents

When we come across someone who acts with rare kindness and generosity of spirit, we often feel inspired by their goodness. But when that person is only nine years old, we can also be encouraged that the future is in safe hands.

When Summer Wootten has spare time, she doesn’t turn to computer games or the TV for entertainment, like many other nine year olds I know.

Instead, Summer visits her local nursing home, where she sings and plays piano for the residents.

When Summer was looking for a way she could make a contribution to her local community, her mother, Jacki Wootten, suggested she might be able to contribute to the local nursing home.

Mrs Wootten has a friend who works at Gracedale, which lies in the outer Melbourne suburb of Ringwood, and so, after a few phone calls, it was arranged. And now Summer plays piano and sings once a month for residents.

Her efforts have been well received.

“Everyone says they’re enjoying it,” said Summer when we spoke to her this week. “They love it.

“They’re surprised by what I’m capable of,” she said proudly.

Among her favourite songs to play are Ode to Joy and Pachabel’s Canon. Summer practices every day, and says she loves playing the piano.

Other charitable work

Summer’s community awareness extends beyond her performances at Gracedale.

Summer is the face of ‘Kids in Philanthropy’, and she recently raised $6,000 for ‘Hangout for the Homeless’. This week she was was awarded the prize for the country’s top fundraiser raising money for the Lighthouse Foundation.

Summer is also involved in many other activities that nine year olds enjoy. She swims and plays girls football. She is very academic, and loves reading and maths at school, according to her father, Steve Wootten.

But Mr Wootten said Summer’s passion clearly lies with helping others.

Kindness runs in the family

Summer is a product of her kind family.

Mrs Wootten worked in disability, and spent many years working for the Department of Health.

She “has a very kind heart, and Summer’s of the same ilk,” said Mr Wootten.

I asked Summer if she has learned anything from performing at Gracedale?

“It’s great to give,” she replied.

“You feel good when you do something for others.”

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