When sixteen-year-old Leo walks in the door at Giving Children Hope, his warm smile reveals his devotion to serve others. Leo is the Vice President of Southern California High School Alliance (SoCal HS Alliance), a group of students from Troy, Diamond Bar, Arcadia, and Webb High School interested in serving the community. Each high school in the SoCal HS Alliance operates a Giving Children Hope club on campus, coordinating their fundraising and service efforts.
“It’s an honor to give my volunteer hours to a cause that I’m truly passionate about,” Leo shared.
In addition to volunteering once a week, Leo and other SoCal HS Alliance members have passionately sought out donations for the families Giving Children Hope serves. Knowing Giving Children Hope often doesn’t have protein to give to the families in the We’ve Got Your Back program, Leo asked a family friend employed at Farmer John’s to donate sausage. A few weeks later, Leo walked into the warehouse with four boxes of sausage.
Development Associate, SueLynn Yoo shared, “I have never seen a high school student so ecstatic to volunteer here. Leo’s compassion to serve is so visible in his words and actions, and I know that he carries that compassion over to all of his club members.”
When Leo heard about the Syrian refugees Giving Children Hope serves enduring the cold of winter, he found a blanket vendor, Linen Avenue. The owner was willing to sell Leo the blankets at cost and he even donated 16 blankets himself. SoCal HS Alliance fundraised the money to buy 160 blankets. At times when they aren’t able to fundraise enough, Leo’s family will help to cover the rest.
This Christmas, a group of the SoCal High School Alliance students offered to wrap Christmas gifts at Barnes and Noble as a fundraiser for Giving Children Hope. Leo’s most recent contribution to Giving Children Hope was 65 sinus medications he had received from his doctor.
Obviously, Leo’s age doesn’t stop him from inviting those around him to take part in changing a child’s life. May Leo’s passion and commitment inspire each of us to use the talents we have to contribute to the needs of others.