Ross Kelly, a six-year-old in Australia has received an award for going above and beyond, after he learned sign language so a new student at school would not feel left out.
Isam Gurung is profoundly deaf and moved to Kelly's school around a year ago. When he first started at the school, Gurung was very shy and did not want to attend his classes. Ross Kelly didn't want Gurung to feel displaced so he decided to befriend him and try to help out.
"We started out writing notes to each other and I decided this wasn't very efficient because there was always a delay," Kelly told ABC News. So he decided to take it one step further by learning Auslan (Australian Sign Language) so they could efficiently communicate. The two are now very close friends.
Fred Hollow Foundation
"Ross has used his skills to interpret whole school assemblies, pass on messages to Isam and sign at Scout events," their teacher Sara Jayn Middleton, said in a statement via email. "His attitude towards inclusivity is one many can only be in awe of."
Even though the school provides an interpreter, it's still not the same as having a fellow student that can communicate with you. For Gurung, Kelly's actions are more than an act of inclusion, they're an act of friendship. The pair has even taught their Scouts group the Auslan alphabet and numbers up to 10.
Kelly's dedication to including Gurung earned him the Fred Hollows Humanity Award, which inspires students to show care and compassion for others and to make a positive impact in their school community. With the award, Kelly gets to choose a charity for a $5,000AUS (or $3779USD) donation. He has chosen a program run by the Fred Hollows Foundation that promotes eye-health in Cambodian schools.
What a kid!