Sherrell Mondaine says she was so excited to run into a Little Bit team member at an event over the summer at Yeatman-Liddell Middle School. “I told her that you all don’t know how good it feels to have Little Bit in our lives,” she says.
Mondaine, who lost her husband of 33 years in 2016, is currently raising five of her grandchildren in a neighborhood across from O’Fallon Park in North St. Louis. Two of her grandchildren attend Bryan Hill Elementary School (pictured here with Mondaine) – all of them have at one time, she says – and one recently went to Yeatman-Liddell Middle School. Both are Little Bit partner schools.
Mondaine says there have been many days the kids have come through the door with a new coat or pair of shoes to replace ones they had too quickly outgrown, so excited that “it’s mine!” She regularly tells other parents about Little Bit, encouraging them not to be embarrassed to ask for help. “They have no idea about all of the things Little Bit does, and since the pandemic, there are so many folks looking for a little hand up.”
She and the kids try to pass on the blessings they receive, she says, picking up trash and watering plants along “their section of the park.” When she learned of plans to build a 24-hour convenience store on the corner, which would “sell liquor at all hours of the night,” she and a few neighbors, along with a local minister, went to the city council to protest and also prayed at the site to plead their case to a higher authority. “We haven’t heard any more discussion about it.”
Mondaine tries to take life in stride and teaches her grandkids how to do the same. “But I also want them to know that it’s ok to raise a fuss for the right reason,” she says. Her greatest piece of advice? “Don’t be afraid to tell the truth, or it may stop you from receiving a blessing, and never turn your back on people or situations you may be able to change.”