Support Kids For All

Support+Kids+For+All

Julia Day, Guest Writer

This past summer, during my annual visit to China, I was inspired to start my non-profit organization: Support Kids For All. If you have ever been to China, you may have experienced the massive number of street vendors who try to convince you to buy their products. One of these vendors stood out to me because, unlike the others, he was a child, perhaps around seven or eight years old. He was selling beautiful, handmade beaded keychains and paintings. I was intrigued and wanted to learn his story. Why was he out on the sidewalks of China selling them? He told me his name Zheng Zhou and explained how the orphanage where he was living could not afford the supplies they needed for the classes they teach to the mentally disabled kids they are housing. The kids made these keychains and paintings in their art classes and came to market streets and malls to raise money. To be completely honest, I was shocked. I never suspected it was possible for a big city like Changsha to have poor schools. Perhaps it is because I grew up in privileged schools like LJCDS, which sheltered me from these harsh realities. I bought a couple of keychains, and Zheng Zhou invited me to visit his orphanage.

 

During my first visit to the school, I was greeted by the students and faculty members, and they gave me a tour of the few classrooms they had. The first thing that struck me was how cheerful the kids were, in spite of their circumstances. In the midst of 100-degree weather, the classrooms had no air conditioning, and I thought that they probably suffered extremely cold winters as well. I dropped by one of their art classes for the older kids who lived in the orphanage, and realized the teenagers had true talent. They were creating extremely advanced paintings, and it was obvious that they were truly passionate about their art. The director of the orphanage explained how it was difficult for the kids to make any sales because their disabilities scared people away. An idea was sparked. I volunteered to sell their keychains and paintings, and promised to come back. The director accepted my idea with open arms.

 

I started by selling items at my dad’s company in Changsha. I made a poster and stood in the hall. Within an hour, the items had sold out. It became obvious that I had not taken enough of the kids’ keychains with me. The employees listened to me as I explained my cause and they were supportive. People who walked by bought a couple keychains and paintings and were willing to spend a lot of money to help out my cause. I could tell they saw the talent, and I even had to take down orders to avoid turning people away. In total, I made around $500, much more than the $10-20 daily the kids would usually make selling on the streets.

 

The next day I felt optimistic and decided to take the products out onto the streets. I was slightly nervous, as I knew street vendors were not treated in the most ideal manner. To my surprise, a good number of people stopped to ask about my cause and see what I was selling. I only made around $75 that day, which was my goal for the day, but I got the word out.

 

Over the course of the next few weeks, with a couple more trips to the streets and my dad’s building, I made $3,000. With the money I earned from the kids’ art, I bought a washer and a dryer, diapers, shoes, and school supplies: pencils, notebooks, crayons, markers, and paper. It did not feel right to just buy the supplies and drop them off, so I coordinated with the director to host an event for the students. When I dropped by their classes, I could tell they really enjoyed singing and listening to music. Coincidentally, my sister loves to sing and I love to play the piano. I also convinced my cousins to come up with a dance to perform for the students. The day of the event was the day I realized I wanted to continue helping underprivileged schools.The school had my name hung on a banner, and the kids all ran up to me to give me a hug. I did not realize what an effect raising three thousand dollars would have on these kids. After all, they were the ones who made the products; I just helped to get the word out. The kids were so grateful and appreciative. It was a truly heartwarming experience. That day I performed for them, and they prepared a song for me in return. I will never forget the joy radiating from the kids and the smiles on their faces. It was the most fulfilling day of my life.

 

When I got back to San Diego, I knew I had to continue my mission to support underprivileged kids, so I built a website and started my non-profit, Support Kids For All. As of now, I have six members helping me to raise money in China, and I am raising money for schools in San Diego as well. I hope to expand Support Kids For All to fulfill my goals for the organization. I discovered Monarch School in San Diego, which strives not only to educate homeless youth, but to create a better quality life for them. They address various aspects of the kids’ lives, supplying them with clothes, showers, and food. As might be expected, their funds are low, and they are hoping for donations. I started supporting the school, and raised a few thousand dollars to purchase school supplies and necessities like underwear, backpacks, clothes and socks. If I had not looked for the school, I probably would never have known about it. Through this story, I am now informing you, and I hope you will reach out and support my cause. Education is such an important part of development and determines the course of our lives, but sometimes we take it for granted. We are lucky enough to have parents who can support a good education, and Support Kids For All hopes to grant less fortunate kids the same privilege.

 

Learn more at www.supportkidsforall.org