‘It’s kids helping kids’: Destin youth create charity organization

Savannah Vasquez
Haley Topolski, 9, Kathleen Flores, 10, Carolyn Jowers, 10, Andrey Lukin, 10, Maya Sherwood, 12 and Luke Sherwood, 10, represent Kidz4kidz Florida at Destin Elementary School.

Luke Sherwood and his sister Maya may only be 10 and 12 years old, but they have already achieved what many adults strive to do in a lifetime. With the help of their father, Michael Sherwood, the two recently launched Kidz4Kidz Florida, a charitable organization with the goal to inspire a giving spirit in children like themselves and prove that kids can make a difference in the lives of other kids.

“It’s kids helping kids,” said Luke. “It’s a kid’s organization.”

Luke told The Log that the idea for the charity grew from a realization that some children are not as privileged as he and his sister have been.

“It was my sister and I that came up with the idea while we were at Disney World a few years ago,” said Luke. “We started talking about a charity by kids to help kids, but it stayed an idea then.”

“I remember I put notes into my phone,” Maya said of the initial discussion.

The two siblings said that it wasn’t until this past Christmas that their organization idea finally began to take shape, spawning from one charitable act of giving.  

“This Christmas we were helping my dad with the Children’s Home Society of Florida and what really moved my sister and I was one girl,” said Luke. “All she wanted was a blue dress and that’s what made us realize how fortunate we are, and that’s what got us thinking about it again.”

“We had a night-long brainstorm session to see what direction it could go,” said Michael. “What we are really trying to do is help develop charity in young kids, and bring awareness to kids that there are those in need in their community but they can make a difference. Kidz4kidz provides a venue for kids to express themselves in their own charitable way.”

Luke said that in working with his dad he realized that although most kids have food and shelter and the necessary things for life, some do not get to enjoy the fun experiences of just being kids.

“We want to help kids who may not be able to pay the $30 fee to play sports, or maybe just give them the chance to go bowling on the weekend,” said Luke. “All those kinds of fun things that kids are interested in.”

“Like getting to play in an arcade or paying the $10 it costs to go on a field trip,” added Maya.

When it came to fundraising ideas, Luke and Maya were both brooding with ideas from lemonade stands to 5K runs, but for now, two have reserved themselves to starting off small.

“We started out thinking of ways to raise money,” said Luke. “One of our first fundraisers is the bracelets, and that has already had a good kick-off. It’s already bigger than we expected.”

Since launching Kidz4Kidz Florida last week, the pair have already raised $200 through the sale of their multi-colored rubber bracelets within their schools. Luke’s fifth-grade class at Destin Elementary School has hopped onboard with several students taking on key roles in the group, and Maya said her friends from Destin Middle School are also beginning to get involved.

“Probably the most surprising thing is raising all this money,” said Maya. “We sell the bracelets for $1 a piece but some people donate a lot more.”

When asked why they chose to start this movement both siblings agree, it’s not about them, but about others. 

“We were raised to be humble,” said Maya.

“We have always been taught to think of others before ourselves,” said Luke. “We try to be the best people that we can.”

MORE INFO:

Kidz4Kidz Florida is run by local kids and gives 100 percent of their proceeds to Children’s Home Society of Florida; the oldest and largest charitable organization helping abused, foster and orphaned children in Florida. The new organization is also open to ideas for community needs within the local area. To find out more visit www.kidz4kidzfl.com or find them on Twitter and Instagram at kidz4kidz­­­_fl.