About the Founder
Lots of people wonder why someone my age would want to take on the reponsibility of being the founder and president of a 501c3 organization... For me,to develop and be a part of something that has provided hundreds of homeless children with the tools to create, inspired and empowered countless people of all ages to be change makers and give people hope for the future beats anything else I could be doing as a teenager! The other question I also get asked a lot is...
How did you get started?
Here's my story:
When I was nine years old, my mom took me to New York for a weekend trip during February. We were walking down a busy street and a woman came up to my mom and asked her to spare a dollar so she could buy a lunch. I noticed that she had a big bag with her, and she looked very tired. After she left with the dollar, I asked my mom why she had that big bag. My mom explained to me that the woman was probably homeless, so she kept all of her things in the bag to carry with her. After hearing this explanation, I felt very upset, and I immediately knew that I wanted to help people like her. So, when we got back home, I called all of my friends and asked them if they wanted to start a club that helped homeless people.
Thinking about it now, it was kind of funny how earnest I was after just seeing one homeless person in New York. Not funny in a bad way, but I didn’t know that a nine year old could be that determined. Well, I was, and that was just the beginning…
I had a club for awhile to raise money for the organization I had been volunteering for on a regular basis. When I eventually learned what homeless children go through: loneliness, sometimes having to give up everything and a lot of times not knowing where they were going to sleep, I couldn’t help but want to do something more...
I believed, that if I could give homeless children something new that was meant just for them, at a time when they were used to having to give up things... it might change their lives.
Being an artist and knowing the importance of creative expression, I thought that art supplies would be perfect for any age and any gender.
On July14th, 2009, when I was 12, I registered Hope For Creativity as a non profit organization. To go from idea to reality has been a long road, but I have been very fortunate to have the support of my Mom, my family, and so many mentors, friends and people in the community that believe in me and my vision to make a lasting difference in the lives of homeless children.
An art pack may not make everything better in their lives or fix everything that’s wrong, but I want homeless kids to know that there is someone out there their own age that cares about what they’re going through.
What I also aim to do, besides provide homeless children with the tools to create, is to open people's eyes to the problem of homelessness. I want everyone to realize what a grave issue homelssness is for the future generation: children can't grow up and be who they are meant to be if everything they have has been taken away from them. Children can't work through things if they don't have a way to play and be creative. I want people to understand that homelessness is an issue that affects everyone. If everyone took notice and became a part of the solution in some way, it would help so much! I want people to understand why I’ve focused my life on for three years and continue to do so. I also want to educate other kids about homelessness and volunteerism and how important it is to make volunteering a part of your life.
My dream: to keep providing homeless children art packs, to keep raising awareness and to keep reaching out, until someday every single kid in this country is safe and is happy.
That used to seem like an unreachable dream, but not anymore.
if I believe in something, I can do it...just like when I was nine.