Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. 13 year old Ethan from Los Gatos, CA started a project in 2016 called 3 Helping Hands. Because he is aware that in his community alone, 6500 known children experience homelessness, Ethan used his K4C award to organize an event and purchase care package items for homeless children including school supplies to emphasize the importance of education, encouragement notecards, supplies and craft items. During the event he gave a “Believe In Yourself!” motivational speech and, with the help of his team, provided craft time for the children. Afterwards the children attending the event received the care packages assembled by Ethan and his team. Additional care packages were also distributed to StandUp For Kids, Reach Academy in Oakland, Seeds, and also involved street and homeless children/youth emergency shelter outreach.
- What inspired you to start this project? I started the project after I saw a little boy step out from a tent on the street in my city (he and his family lived in the tent) and researched shocking statistics about homeless children & youth.
- How many volunteers participated in this project and how many hours did they contribute to your project? 300 youth volunteers (including me) and 100 adult volunteers contributed 550 hours of service to the project.
- During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you? I discovered the joy of giving, caring, and volunteering. In addition I now know there is so much we can do as youth to make this world a better place.
- Overall what did you learn from this experience? Youth have the power to make a difference both locally and internationally. Volunteering and caring for others is such a humbling and powerful experience.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? The outreach will continue to impact the children/youth who experience homelessness in my community in the future by my and others’ efforts of continued caring for and constant support with much needed encouragement and daily essential needs. I want to help all youth discover purpose, find happiness, and gain a new perspective that they have the power to stop the cycle of homelessness. Perhaps by believing in themselves, all youth can follow a path where they finish their education, make the right choices, and, in turn, help others in underserved communities. My mission is not simply to provide the care packages but also to be the voice of children and youth in the underserved communities.
- How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? K4C’s microgrant helped me to be able to reach out to more children and youth who experience homelessness. It also allowed me to continue this meaningful outreach to inspire and encourage children/youth to believe they have the power to stop the cycle of homelessness in their generation. I thank K4C for the much-needed financial support and for believing that we have the power to make a difference in the community and the world.