I first started volunteering with Aaron's Presents four years ago to support my friend Leah Okimoto whose son Aaron was born prematurely and tragically died after only 8 days. She had a dream to honor her son's memory and turn her pain into a force for good, inspiring elementary and middle school students to see the joy in doing good for others. Her program gives out small grants ($200-$500) to groups of young students who have submitted proposals for community service projects and then provides adult professional mentors to help them complete these projects. Over the last 4 years, I have seen hundreds of teams of students improve the lives of tens of thousands of people through their service activities, all the while gaining self-confidence, celebrating kindness, and becoming ambassadors for good at the their school.
I started with the organization to support my friend Leah, but now I remain a strong supporter because I am absolutely amazed at the transformative power that helping others has on the outlook and self-worth of middle-school students. Given all of the bullying and even violence that we hear about in the news today in our high schools, I do wonder how many of these incidents could have been prevented by organizations such as Aaron's Presents that mentor students, foster their inherently kind nature, and teach them that it is cool to do good for others.
If this is something you would like to support, please consider donating what you can here. Aaron's Presents is in a fundraising competition where the team that raises the most by April 6 will also win an additional $10,000 bonus.
Thanks for reading!