Boy, 6, collects clothes and books for needy

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published January 12, 2016

 Six-year-old Dominic Miller meets with Karan Bates-Gasior at Turning Point Women’s Shelter in Mount Clemens to donate books and pajamas.

Six-year-old Dominic Miller meets with Karan Bates-Gasior at Turning Point Women’s Shelter in Mount Clemens to donate books and pajamas.

Photo taken by Lesa Swanson

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MACOMB COUNTY — Dominic Miller is doing his part to make the world a better place.

The six-year-old just completed his second year of gathering donations of books and pajamas to give to individuals who need them.

In 2014, Miller collected about 50 pairs of pajamas and 60 books, and his effort grew this past year to 150 books and 110 pairs of pajamas.

Miller, who attends Walt Disney Elementary in the Fraser School District, lives in Eastpointe with his aunt and grandmother. His grandma, Rose Swanson, has raised him since birth and said it was all her grandson’s idea. He does all the work for it, she said.

After watching a TV show in which kids were helping their community, the boy became inspired. Later, he got to see families at the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team in Roseville, and it further piqued his interest in wanting to help.

After getting ready to read a book one night with his grandmother, a light bulb went off in his head.

“He felt he needed to do something for his community,” Swanson said. “I think it really changed him to see little kids his age (at MCREST), to see them get housed.”

With help from his family, he started his own Facebook page in 2014 called “Dominic’s Christmas Wish.”

He eventually attracted responses from several businesses in the community.

JCPenney manager Gregory Gasior gave Miller the opportunity to use his store’s location as a springboard to advertise his cause, putting flyers on windows to spread the word. Barnes & Noble donated cash while Andary’s Grill and Deli on Gratiot Avenue provided free exposure by putting pictures up of Miller’s endeavor.

Miller donated items to Turning Point in Mount Clemens, MCREST and Lighthouse Outreach Center in Roseville. The age range for the collected items extends from newborns to tweens.

While Miller has helped many the past two years, he contends with his own struggles.

He suffers from cyclic vomiting syndrome, which is characterized by episodes of vomiting that have no determinable cause. And in February of 2014, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Due to his medical conditions, he leaves school at 1:30 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m. like the rest of the children. When he gets home, his stamina is so low that he needs to sleep immediately to recharge.

“He knows he’s not like the other kids, but when he sees kids that aren’t happy he wants to make it better,” Swanson said.

But Miller isn’t shaken by his own limitations. When he talks, his voice includes a special kind of hopefulness, and he trusts in his ability to continue to help others. This is only the beginning in his mind.

“I want to help people and want it to get bigger and bigger and bigger to help more people,” Miller said. “A whole army of helping hands — that’s what I want to happen.”

Swanson has always told Miller that he has an old soul, and she attributes that to his being born on the same day as his great-grandmother. She believes there is something special in his heart.

“I hope people have a good life,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to make people happy and not sad. Even if they don’t know me, I love them. That’s why I do it.”

Those interested in helping the cause can visit Dominic’s Facebook page.

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