She decided if the state wouldn’t help seniors, she would

Emily Brickey, BND Student of the Week

Emily Brickey, a junior at Governor French in Belleville, started a school club, Noise for Nana, which helps raise money and awareness about the declining quality of life for seniors in Southern Illinois. Noise for Nana has a goal to raise $15,000
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Emily Brickey, a junior at Governor French in Belleville, started a school club, Noise for Nana, which helps raise money and awareness about the declining quality of life for seniors in Southern Illinois. Noise for Nana has a goal to raise $15,000

Sixteen-year-old Emily Brickey puts it simply — “I like to help people.”

This desire led the junior at Governor French Academy in Belleville to launch a school club called Noise for Nana last year after learning about the state budget stalemate and its negative impact on services that benefit seniors.

“We raise money and awareness for the decline in the quality of life for seniors in Southern Illinois,” Emily said, “because the budget hasn’t been passed and there’s hardly any money going to senior centers and homes.”

Noise for Nana is trying to raise money in conjunction with AgeSmart Community Resources, which works to help older adults remain independent in their homes and communities.

Joy Paeth, CEO of AgeSmart, said it’s “incredibly refreshing” for a teenager like Emily to get involved with seniors.

“She is very conscientious,” Paeth said of Emily. “She wants to do everything correctly and right. She has a great deal of enthusiasm, which is nice.”

Despite the state approving a stopgap budget, Paeth said AgeSmart continues to struggle financially.

So far, Emily said about $1,500 has been raised for AgeSmart through Noise for Nana, which has a goal of raising $15,000. She also hopes the club can do more volunteer projects with metro-east seniors.

“We are really good at showing up at senior centers and saying, ‘What do you need?’ Emily said. “Then doing whatever they tell us to do.”

Paeth said AgeSmart and Noise for Nana will also work to create “inter-generational understanding.

“There are so many gifts each generation can give to each other,” she said.

To find out more about Noise for Nana, visit the group’s page on Facebook, which also has information on how to make a donation.

Q: What got you interested in helping senior citizens?

A: “My mom (Lynette Morris) has a medical supply company, and she supplies older people mainly. She has a degree in gerontology. She’s really interested in helping the elderly so she got involved with AgeSmart. Then AgeSmart was looking for a way to branch out into the younger generation, and I like helping people so it worked perfectly.”

Q: You are involved with Sea Scouts at school. What is that?

A: “Sea Scouts is a first response team that assists the elderly and disabled in emergencies, but our school has it’s own branch. We are Sea Guards, and we work on making the school safer in case there’s an emergency. So Sea Guard is the school branch, and Sea Scouts is the branch outside of school.”

Q: What was it important to launch Sea Scouts at Governor French last year?

A: “I did Key Club last year. We did disaster relief with that. Before I joined Key Club, I would do clothing and food drives and bake sales and things like that and raise money and get supplies and send those to areas where there were disasters — earthquakes or hurricanes or things like that.”

Q: Why did you want to get involved in community service?

A: “It’s fun. It’s rewarding. I like giving more than I like getting. I think getting is both awkward and weird.”

Q: How do you juggle schoolwork and all your extracurricular activities?

A: “I have no idea. We do our meetings during school usually, but a lot of it is balancing it after school. I have a really long drive home and back so I do my homework and things then in the car. Then I can do all the other stuff at home.”

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: “I do special effects makeup.”

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe

Meet Emily Brickey

  • Age: 16
  • School: Junior at Governor French Academy in Belleville
  • Hometown: Waterloo
  • Family: Mother Lynette Morris and 1-year-old brother Jack
  • Pets: Three dogs, Riley, Russel, Ted; and two horses, Ransom and Tucker, who is a rescue horse
  • School activities: Drama club, varsity volleyball, student council, Sea Scouts and Noise for NANA
  • Mentors: teachers Jayshree Shaw and Larissa Redmond and headmaster Phillip Paeltz
  • ACT scores: 25 first time, 27 second time, plans to take it again in October
  • Favorite class: History. “But if my teachers ask, I’m supposed to say biology,” she says.
  • Least favorite class: Chemistry. “It’s the hardest,” she says.
  • Future career: Veterinarian or surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. “I want to go into medicine,” she says.
  • College plans: “I want to get into all the Ivy leagues schools,” she says. “I don’t know if I’d actually go to any of them.”
  • Currently reading: “Rose Under Fire” by Elizabeth E. Wein “I’ve been reading a lot of World War II fiction,” she says.
  • Favorite TV show: Walking Dead
  • Favorite movie: “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”
  • Favorite food: Sunflower seeds
  • Favorite restaurant: Momma’s on Main in Waterloo “It’s Subway plus 10,” she says.