Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hope For The Future

Here is some good news. The Caring Institute, a non-profit organization founded in 1985, honors those who give of themselves to help others. Each year they award the National Caring Awards. There are several adults being honored, but the ones that gave me hope for the future are the kids being honored. There are five young people between the ages of 13 and 18, who, out of a simple desire to help others, created ways to do things that many adults told them were impossible. Here are the five being honored.
Kyle Amber, age 16, from Pinecrest, FL, founded “Kids That Care,” to help young children with life threatening or terminal illness. For the past ten years, he and volunteers have stocked hospital waiting rooms with toys, visited sick kids and brought them small presents, helped them to laugh and to fulfill their wishes; to date more than $100,000 has been raised, much of this for a pediatric bone marrow unit in Jackson Memorial Hospital of Miami, Florida.

May Lan Dong, age 18, from Cambridge, MA, founded “Operation West Africa,” and is the driving force behind it. A trip to Africa when she was 10 years old was enough to convince her to do something to help those who live in grinding poverty. Her efforts centering on Guinea have helped raise $50,000 for the support of an all girls orphanage, a vocational school and a high school.

Jacob Komar, age 13, from Burlington, CT, created “Computers for Communities, Inc.” in order to help close the digital divide. Four years ago he observed that well-off families had computers but those who were poor did not. He also saw thousands of outdated computers being discarded. Jacob put these two problems together and fashioned a solution. Given his amazing skills, he and other friends so far have been able to rebuild and give away over 1,000 computers to families in need.

Aishlinn O’Connor, age 16, from Prairie Village, KS, was told when she was nine that she was too young to volunteer at the local children’s hospital. Undeterred, she created her own organization “Kids Helping Kids,” whose mission is to bring happiness and opportunity to underprivileged children. Sensing the connection between kids and seniors, she persuaded a local home for the aged to allow their backyard to be converted into an intergenerational playground and wheelchair garden and raised $75,000 to make this happen.

Greg Sweeney, age 18, from Washington, DE, founded “Cub Scout Pack 506” to give homeless boys a sense of connection and stability, and to show them that someone cared. He felt they deserved a cozy place to meet, an opportunity to develop stable friendships, to learn from mentors and from each other, to share food, fun and adventures as well as the opportunity to work together to improve the community.
I am in awe of what these kids have done in their young lives. Kyle started his plan when he was only 6-years-old! These kids are an excellent example of what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it and don't give up!
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
–Helen Keller
More information can be found at The Caring Institute

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