Gulliver Prep senior, Jessica Medwin, cofounded a group called Children for Children. It is a registered club at Gulliver and a 501c3 non-profit organization. Children for Children was created to foster awareness, tolerance and commonalities of the soul through connections, social media and guest speakers. The organization is now in five other schools, Belen, Columbus, Westminster, Lords and Carrolton.
Jessica came up with the idea in 2018, shortly after a Yom Kippur service which featured a video about Tikva, a rescue and education organization who saves the lives of at-risk Jewish children. Tikva also works to relieve the suffering of impoverished Jewish families in Odessa, Ukraine.
“The presentation by Rabbi Barras at Temple Beth Am had a profound impact on me,” she says. “Shortly after the service I decided that I wanted to form a club whose focus would be to help children regardless of their religion, ethnicity, race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Jessica collaborated with her close friend, Kylie O’Day, and they researched organizations that would benefit from the club’s support. They selected Tikva, His House Children’s Home in Miami, a Christian based organization dedicated to restoring the lives of foster children ranging in age from newborn to 18, and the Share Foundation, a non-profit organization that gathers kids from different lifestyles to appreciate differences and challenge prejudices through relationships.
“Children for Children does hands on projects with His House such as babysitting and drives for needed items and holds fundraisers such as car washes, 5k runs, and Fort Nite Tournaments to raise money to donate. The organization has already donated thousands of dollars.”
In the spring of 2020, Children for Children partnered with the Share Foundation and sponsored a one-day workshop at Zoo Miami for 20 kids including 10 children from his House. They spent the day participating in activities centered around overcoming stereotypes and cultural bias.
“The transformation that occurred through participating in the Share curriculum was life changing,” Jessica says. I’m still super close with two of the foster kids.”
Since COVID started, the organization has raised money through Fortnite tournaments and gift card drives and they have conducted multiple food, clothing and school supply drives for Breakthrough Miami, St. James Church and His House.
When the George Floyd protests were going on, Children for Children ran a social media campaign called Speak Up. The cofounders made public statements and asked people to take a photo of themselves with a unifying word to create solidarity.
“It is imperative that we advocate for equality for all people.”
At school, Jessica is a Health Information Project mentor.
“We have trainings once a week and then teach freshman during directed studies,” she says.
Jessica is treasurer of the student body and has been an advisor of the Gulliver mentorship program. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society and Rho Kappa. Additionally, she is on the Mock Trial Team, a member of the lacrosse team and a Peer Tutor.
In seventh grade, Jessica started an organization to fight lung cancer for her Bat Mitzvah project in honor of her grandmother who passed away from lung cancer.
“I started it by making jewelry,” she says. “To date, I’ve paid for over 100 lung cancer screenings at the Miami Cancer Institute.”
Jessica stopped selling the jewelry when she got to high school, but started a lifeguarding service with her close friend Dani Kaplan called Safe and Vigilant Events (SAVE). As a certified lifeguard, she works children’s parties. A portion of the money made goes to the lung cancer screenings.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld