Q&A With Microgrant Recipient Ferdinand


Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Meet Ferdinand (17) from Baltimore, MD, founder of Treasures for Teachers & Students. He & his nonprofit used his award to execute a backpack building event within the Pikesville community. The event served as an outreach program for Pikesville High School in collaboration with Young Engineers, Key Club, Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Math Honor Society. A diverse group of students/clubs, teachers, staff, and parents was involved in preparing 30 backpacks filled with school supplies for 30 students. In coordination with the Kids in Need Foundation, the backpacks and supplies were bought in bulk.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? My mom’s career as a teacher showed me the necessity of school supplies. Teachers themselves struggle to finance materials in their own classroom. And as a student, I’m aware of the costs that come with purchasing these materials, which may come to be difficult for some. By providing free materials to both teachers and students we hope to help eliminate these concerns and ensure that they are focused on their goal to improve and learn.
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project? 21
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  8
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project?  30
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 3
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  50
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  We hope that we’ve impacted the 30 students we’ve donated backpacks to as well as the 20 individuals who helped prepare and deliver them. During our event, we held a session together with everyone and we talked about different ways we could expand our service to help our community after this event. A few ideas that popped up were: collaborating with nearby organizations, creating advocacy campaigns to promote awareness and simply word of mouth. I was surprised by the amount of support I received from friends and teachers to achieve this goal. People can accomplish great things when we all have a common goal.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? This was something very new for me. I learned how to facilitate and organize an entire event. Many of the volunteers were new faces, but I was able to inspire and excite them through this backpack building activity. Also, I became aware of the fact that there are many people with good intentions and are seeking ways to help out.
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? TFT&S will continue to find and meet the needs of our educators and future leaders. We expect to grow every day; we not only want to give supplies but also reach the hearts of people and remind them that good intentions can come in a variety of ways. What we want is for the world to change for the better, and helping people realize the benefits of supporting one another is an important goal for us.
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  The K4C microgrant provided a growth in our reach of students and allowed us to gain more individuals to be able to connect and work with in the future. With the help of filling 30 backpacks we connected students of different backgrounds in our school community to stand side by side working towards a common goal. Our basic reach is at least 3-4 students with the rulers, notebooks, binders, pencils. But with the K4C grant, we reached 10x our normal number AND we’ve formed great relationships with two schools that we can continue to reach out to to support.