Great Lakes Credit Union and Little Lake County are proud to bring you Kirby Kids: Kids. Doing. Good. This program recognizes a child each month that is doing good in their community and brings you their stories of determination, hope and goodwill.
When twins Kennedy and Ella heard an announcement at church about the need for warm socks for the homeless, they knew that they needed to help make this happen. While most people would have taken a trip to the store to pick up a few pairs of socks to donate, Kennedy and Ella decided that they wanted to help in a more meaningful, long term way. They knew that they could make a bigger impact if they were able to get more people involved. At the time, the twins were only seven years old, but being young didn’t stop them from organizing a sock drive that would help so many people that needed it the most.
They began researching the need and found that many area churches helped the homeless through a program called PADS (Providing Advocacy, Dignity and Shelter). They got started immediately by presenting the need to their school on the morning news program. They continued their efforts by making posters and fliers and distributing them at their school. They continually provided encouragement to the students and teachers to motivate them to get involved in the sock drive. They began collecting so many socks, and were very excited to be able to bring them to the local PADS shelter and distribute them.
With every good deed, comes a hurdle, and one of the obstacles they needed to overcome was actually a good problem to have. After delivering their first batch of socks to PADS, they were told that the shelter no longer needed any more socks for the season, because after the girls’ delivery, they had enough. The girls were still determined to keep helping those in need, so decided to reach out to several other PADS locations and began donating socks to them as well.
The girls are both ten years old now, but are still working diligently to help others. Despite their young age, they still clearly see what a big need there is for help in the world, and on a smaller scale, their own community. They realize that every small effort makes a difference, and in this case, a fresh pair of socks could mean the world to someone in need. The girls have been so successful with their efforts that over the past three years, they have collected over 2.000 pairs of new socks to donate to individuals in need in their community.
This is not the first time Kennedy and Ella have had the desire to help those who are less fortunate. In addition to collecting socks for PADS, they have also volunteered at a local food pantry, organized food drives, and have volunteered regularly at Feed My Starving Children. The family has also sponsored a child in Malawi in order to help that child go to school and receive an education. Helping others has always been a way of life for the family as they don’t focus on what they want to “be when they grow up” and instead focus on “what problems can we solve in the world.” Focusing on that has helped the girls zero in on helping to fix problems that they see the most need. Kennedy wishes to eradicate the problem of hunger in the world, and believes that everyone should have access to adequate nutrition in the world. Meanwhile Ella wishes to see the issue of illiteracy resolved. She believes that the key to learning and success is being able to read. The girls focus on finding solutions to problems, and hope that one day, they can make an even bigger difference than they already have.
These girls may seem like your average ten year olds, hanging with friends, taking part in dance, volleyball and basketball. Besides enjoying taking part in activities like other kids their age, they are so much more than that by giving back to their community. They are true warriors in the effort to help others and continue pushing on with a passion to help those in need. They believe that every person can make a difference in the lives of others. Not only that, but the girls feel strongly that even kids can help to change someone’s life for the better. If everyone tried just a little, the world could be a much better place.
Are you interested in following in Kennedy and Ella’s footsteps of helping others? You can donate to the PADS and help the girls out next fall when they organize another sock drive. The girls encourage you all to consider getting involved, and more importantly, making a difference in our world.
Each and every one of our Kirby Kids gets to meet Kirby the Kangaroo at their local Great Lakes Credit Union branch. Kirby met Kennedy and Ella at their local Round Lake Branch, and opened up a youth savings account in each of their names with a $100 starting balance, courtesy of Great Lakes Credit Union.
Do you know an inspirational, courageous or exceptional young person living in Lake County, (age 15 or younger) who is serving as a role model in his or her community? Help us recognize these big hearts! Nominate a child for the Kirby Kids program.
Follow this link to complete a nomination form. If your nominee is selected we will contact you and/or the child’s guardian for inclusion in the Kirby Kids program.
For more information about the Kirby Kids, read our program introduction.
Disclosure: Great Lakes Credit Union is the paid sponsor of the Kirby Kids program.