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At Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California, a student-run non-profit develops teen leadership skills while serving local elementary schools. About 50 kids strong, half of whom are seniors, students learn skills such as community outreach, program management, producing fundraising events and writing grants.
Helping other kids is exactly what they do, by providing funding, education and volunteering where needs are identified. Raley’s is proud to offer funding to this innovative program through the San Juan Unified School District.
Dyllan Balassi, Kids Helping Kids Director of Advancement maintains and establishes community partnerships while overseeing grant writers. “I was a part of a military preparatory program in high schools when I heard about Kids Helping Kids. I attended a discussion about the program and they brought in a child at age of 4 who was diagnosed with cancer. Her family talked about how Kids Helping Kids had helped them. They replaced the transmission in their car because they didn’t have the means to get her to her treatments. And Kids Helping Kids covered their transportation costs during her treatment and recovery period. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a part of this program and make a difference.”
Every Monday and Tuesday, Kids Helping Kids Director of Outreach and team head over to Carmichael Elementary where they lead arts activities with students. Through program funding, they provide art supplies and complete projects like making hand puppets while mentoring youth.
Working closely with teachers to see which students need extra support, Kids Helping Kids also goes into various elementary school grades to offer English, Math and ESL tutoring. These interactions assist learning and the high school tutors also become role models, building trusting relationships with the children they serve.
Kids Helping Kids also leads a gardening program at Carmichael Elementary, where students learn the full cycle of growing plants—from germination to harvesting to composting! Seeds and other materials are provided by the program and the high school volunteers sing songs about the growing process and incorporate art projects into the process. When the kids harvest what they’ve grown, they set up a farmers market where the students get tickets and can buy plants with their parents. This year, they grew radishes and carrots.
The organization was founded when Del Campo High School students realized there was a fellow student who was living in a park adjacent to the school. She lacked the means to obtain housing, so students banded together to raise funds for her and eventually other homeless, foster care or at-risk college bound kids in their community. Today, their College Bound At-Risk Youth program selects students aspiring to go to college but without the means to purchase necessary supplies and provides them with a laptop and a $300 shopping spree to help them succeed. This program is supported by a student-organized annual golf tournament called the College Bound Classic.
Make donations, volunteer at events or spread the word about these amazing kids to help keep them helping other kids. Learn more and join the effort at the Kids Helping Kids website.
Be sure to share your volunteer efforts on social media to inspire and encourage others to help! Use the hashtag #goodneverstops and tag @raleys on Instagram for a chance to have a $250 donation made to one of our food bank partners in your community, as well as win a $50 Raley’s gift card!
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