For the NYMetroParents Caring Kids Awards, we invited you to submit stories and photos of families and kids who do volunteer work to help others. We hope you will be as inspired as we were by these stories of young Queens residents committed to making the world a better place and helping those in need. These local kids are making a difference in the community every day, and we salute all of them!
Anna, 12, Collects Toys for Sick Kids—After Beating Leukemia Herself
Anna was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and fought an extremely hard battle. She won. Four years ago we walked out of Cohen’s Children’s Hospital ready to celebrate Christmas with her sisters and family. When she asked me if Santa was going to bring her friends toys for the holidays, I said yes. The ride home was hard, knowing her friends were not going home. She wanted to take her money and buy them gifts just in case they didn’t get any. So that is what we did. Later that night, I wrote a status on Facebook letting our community know what we were doing and how proud I was of her. That is what started Anna’s first annual toy drive. She has donated more than 2,000 brand-new toys to the Cohen’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. This year was our fourth year, and with every passing year, it gets larger and larger with the tremendous generosity of so many people. My daughter counts, stacks bags, and loads all the gifts and works really hard. A child who has been through so much and continues to battle side effects from chemo deserves a lot for herself, and she asks for nothing in return.
As a Caring Kids Award Recipient, Anna will receive a $500 gift card and a certificate of recognition for her community service.
A Family Spreads Joy Through Mime
My children Myah Victoria (age 13), Christopher Ryan (age 10), and Justin Xavier (age 6) all use the creative art of mime to spread joy and smiles year-round at local schools, family and domestic violence shelters, children’s hospitals, community centers, street fairs, Veteran’s hospitals, malls, churches, colleges, police and fire departments, community centers, and more. My children use a creative form of dance, mime, a little American Sign Language, and drama, set to music or spoken word, and perform all around the city. They were invited [to perform] by the chaplain at Queens’s Veteran’s Hospital, and after performing a veteran approached me in tears [and] asked for permission to shake my children’s hands because he was so moved by their talent and willingness to entertain a veteran for the day when they seem to be forgotten. The children performed at a Queens College’s anti-bullying and anti-violence conference sponsored by the Department of Health. During Black History month the children were invited to police headquarters and entertained uniformed officers with a piece they dedicated to brave law enforcement officers.
As Caring Kids Award Recipients, Myah Victoria, Christopher Ryan, and Justin Xavier will receive a $500 gift card and certificates of recognition for thier community service.
Yicara, 12, Helps Children with Disabilities
My child Yicara (means precious) is 12 years old. She loves to help children with disabilities. Her little sister has disabilities—she is 9 years old and she cannot walk or speak. Yicara, besides helping her sister, helps other children with disabilities. She won an award that celebrates this. She is very caring and compassionate, and she would like to be a pediatrician when she grows up. She is my hero, and I am proud as her mother for being such a caring little girl always ready to help others, specially children with disabilities.
Uni, 15, Teaches Taekwondo
Uni is a sophomore attending Francis Lewis High School in Queens. She is a black belt in taekwondo and also competes in national and international competitions. Being an Olympic sport, her goal is to participate in Youth Olympics in Argentina in 2018 and ultimately stand on the podium at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She gives back to the community through annual parades, demonstrations for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and teaches taekwondo at Eagles Training Center in Queens, as well as being responsible for taekwondo lessons in public schools where lunch recess is taken away, and local churches and community centers on a weekly basis. She also assists me in teaching at Stony Brook University, where they have a taekwondo club within the university. This summer she also visited the Native American village in South Dakota to spread the gospel as well as teaching taekwondo to the kids in the village as an icebreaker.
RELATED: Get Family Activities in Queens Sent to You
Parent and Child Care for Animals
I’m a disabled veteran with a 6-year-old son, and we go out and we feed about 15-20 stray and feral cats. I do this for the love I have for these animals. Just recently I got one of the stray cats adopted—I got him neutered [and got] his shots and he has a forever home now. I’m so happy.
A Family Serving with Catholic Charities
We volunteered as a family (mom, dad, son 7, and son 5) with Catholic Charities to help those in need. Because of us individuals will receive blankets and much needed toiletry items; children in service waiting rooms will have fun Busy Books to keep them active; lonely seniors will receive a beautifully made snow globe; and clients throughout Catholic Charities programs received a heartwarming Christmas card designed by my family.
MacKenzie, 6, Raises Money for Breast Cancer Awareness
My 6-year-old daughter MacKenzie will take any opportunity she can to raise money for breast cancer awareness! She became aware of the disease after a close friend lost her mother to the disease. She saw our friend crying one day and declared, “We need cancer to get out of here and never come back.”
Grace and Kaela Raise Money for Autism
Grace and Kaela have hosted several bake sales and lemonade stands to raise money for their cousin’s school. Their cousin has autism and attends a specialized middle school in Queens. They have raised $150 for the school.
Founding a Charity That Trains Young Philanthropists
JasD’Jor: Emerging Philanthropists was established after my son’s diagnoses of autism and leukemia at age 2. JDJ has two wings: training children in the business of philanthropy through the Wilson Sisters Academy and providing direct grants for families of children with special needs through Peppermint Promises. Every Saturday from 12-4pm, my children volunteer at the Briarwood Family Shelter in Queens. Training has resulted in 10 children who have donated to three worthy causes.
A Family That Gives Back
I am a foster mom of two kids [and] adopted six kids. One of the children, Rosemary, is 16 years old with a mild disability [and she] donates her time to tutoring kids in lower grades for free, serves at soup kitchen, and helps kids that are being bullied or picked on. Danny J., 12 years old, has taken extra snacks to school since he was in kindergarten for kids without snack. Mia, 10 years [old], helps her younger brothers and sisters at home. Me and my husband host Toys for Tots, hurricane relief, and various charity events.
Christina, 14, Walks for Cancer
My 14-year-old daughter Christina gives back to our community by collecting donations and walking in the American Cancer Society Walk each October. Last year was her sixth year participating in the Queens walk. In addition, Christina also collects gently used clothing from family members and donates them at local community events. She also collects canned goods from family and donates them at school to benefit the Daily News Food Drive with City Harvest.
Girl Scouts Give Back
My family is formed of all girls because they are Girl Scouts. These young girls meet every Sunday throughout the whole year to plan and work extremely hard on how to improve the community and give back the best they can while earning their badges. Recently they helped Samaritan’s Purse organization form part of operation Christmas child by filling more than 30 shoeboxes with donated items that included clothing, toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and a lovely letter each girl personalized by writing a special message. Also they participate in park and beach clean-ups to make the world a better place for us to live in. They support our community to fight cancer by volunteering in the breast cancer walk to raise awareness. My family is St. Mark’s Girl Scouts Troops: 4297, 4272, 4274.
Athina, 11, Helps Kids Read
Athina deserves any award that acknowledges experience acquired from volunteering 30 hours each summer at the Woodhaven Public Library helping children to read and assisting librarians. In addition to her own development in learning, work ethics, and building relationships, she has inspired her peers to discover and harness the benefits of reading and personal responsibility that will positively impact their forward approach.
Raising Funds for a Sick Child
The kids of My Gym Queens are working hard to raise $1,000 for Josie, a child they don’t even know but want to help. Josie has tumors on her spine and can’t walk. She is hoping for a Fire Fly scooter. This will help her play on the floor like other 4-year-olds. They have raised $350 so far.
A Family Dedicated to Service
Our family loves doing volunteer work together. We participated in two beach clean ups at Fort Totten. We volunteered for several Sundays at “Pets 4 Luv” animal shelter where we socialized the cats, walked the dogs, and helped with feedings. We took a trip to CAS - Catskills Animal Sanctuary where we painted the chicken coop. We also planted trees in Flushing Meadow Park with NYC Million Trees organization. We collected toys for Toys 4 Tots, collected pet food for animal shelters, and collected canned food for the River Fund. We love spending time together and it makes us so happy to give back and help the community, it feels really good.
Sisters Play Music for Seniors
Every month, my two girls ages 13 and 15 go to the Kew Gardens Elderly Home to play piano for the elderly. Each month, they play a couple of songs for about 50 people. At the end of their concert, the laughter, smiles, singing, and applause that my two girls hear from the elderly crowd is what makes them happy. Giving back to the community is very important because no one knows where they might end up. But we all know that one day, we will get old and we will want someone to entertain us. Showing the elderly that young children do think of them is the greatest feeling of all. My kids enjoy playing for them because they know that one day they too will wait for someone to show them attention and entertain them.
Serving Food on Christmas
Every Christmas day we all go to a Doe Fund (also know as “The Men in Blue”) facility and volunteer to serve food to those less fortunate. As a Jewish family, we don’t observe Christmas so we decided to use Christmas Day to help those who celebrate Christmas.
Playing Christmas Carols for the Elderly
Every day for four months before the winter holidays, my son practices Christmas carols and other pieces on the piano to play for the elderly at Ozanam Nursing Home in Queens. Last year was his fourth performance.
Delilah, 8, Helps the Cats
Delilah has spent the past 28 Saturdays volunteering with cats at Bobbi and the Strays animal shelter. She spends almost all of her time with special needs, elderly, and feral cats, and it’s her favorite day of the week. Her ultimate goal is to open a shelter someday that specializes in placing pets with special needs, and we truly believe she’s just the person for the job!
Kate, 11, Serves at a Food Pantry
Kate has been a Girl Scout for six years, since she was 5 years old in kindergarten. As a devoted Girl Scout, Kate spends her time volunteering for many causes, events, and charities. This year Kate earned the Girl Scouts Bronze award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve, by helping the community. Kate earned this award by raising money and obtaining food from organizations and people for the Our Lady of Mercy Food Pantry. Together with her Girl Scout troop, they try to raise $1,000 worth of food contributions yearly, especially during the OLM Thanksgiving Food Drive. Kate and her Girl Scout troop also made recyclable food bags out of old T-shirts to donate to the food pantry recipients.
Find Places to Volunteer with Kids in Queens