Gulliver Prep senior Kylie O’Day helped found Children for Children, an organization created to foster awareness, tolerance and commonalities of the soul through connections, social media and guest speakers. The organization has expanded to other schools including Belen, Columbus, Westminster Christian, Lourdes, MAST, and Carrolton.
O’Day co-founded the organization with her best friend Jessica Medwin. They wanted to do something for kids that included all three of the major religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. They chose to work with foster homes that incorporated all three.
Initially, they wanted to be a club at Gulliver. But school rules made that difficult so they become a non-profit instead.
“Becoming a non-profit has been a blessing,” she says. “We’re able to do a lot more than a club would typically.”
They can still raise awareness of events at Gulliver, but they can’t fundraise at school.
O’Day says they have done a lot of drives, such as food drives, to help others.
“We’ve put boxes in front of our houses,” she says. “We did a gift card drive – His House wanted gift cards for all the things kids needed for school – the entire month of September.
And we sent it to them.”
The gift cards were for a variety of stores including Target. His House officials wanted some from American Express so the children could get items they needed from other stores as well.
Children for Children also donated items such a markers, crayons and snacks such as granola bars to His House.
In October, they collected new costumes for children. They have also conducted canned food drives for a church in Coconut Grove.
Their biggest event is the annual 5K. While they hoped to be able to have an in-person event, they prepared to go viral.
Children for Children is just a continuation of O’Day’s commitment to children. She’s been a babysitter since her freshman year. She babysat almost every week since then until the COVID restrictions kicked in.
“I miss them,” she says.
Even with the restrictions, she wanted to keep the children entertained.
“I came up with a menu of things I could do with the kids,” she says.
She did virtual story time and crafts using easy things that people have in their homes. She worked in homework time.
“I would sit there on Zoom, and listen to them read, be their ears,” she says.
O’Day has volunteered at the Learning Experience School.
“They help children with learning disabilities achieve their goals,” she says.
She’s a member of the Best Buddies Club at Gulliver.
“I’m an advocate. They needed someone who is in contact with the school,” she says. “I’ve been their host advocate.”
She began her relationship with the school during her freshman year, attending their walks.
When she switched from Carrollton to Gulliver, she realized The Learning Experience School did not have a presence at Gulliver so she worked to facilitate an increase in volunteers.
“When I went to start a club, Best Buddies already supports them which is why I became an advocate,” she says.
Before COVID restrictions, they had been planning events but those have been put on hold.
For college, O’Day would love to attend a college or university in Boston and major in business.
“I would love wherever I go to continue Children for Children,” she says.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld