In the past 18 months, the Page household has gone from a mindset of local community service to one of global gratefulness. What originally began as an adolescent lesson in compassion has changed the futures of children throughout the world, and the lives of this appreciative family.
Everything has happened pretty fast, and it has had a huge impact on our lives, said Laura Page, founder and executive director of Kids Helping Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children around the world. It has been a catalyst for opening my children's eyes and for us, too. My husband says he now walks by people in need and gives them money. It has been life-changing for all of us.
And it all started with one young boy. In 2007, 10-year-old and then Discovery Bay resident Tyler Page was inspired by an episode of Oprah in which he learned that children his own age were being sold into slavery by their parents. Tyler immediately set a goal of raising $50,000 to keep other children safe from trafficking. He completed that goal in a little over a year by hosting carwashes and lemonade stands.
It was a lot of car washes, laughed Page, who moved with her family to Brentwood late last year. I figured once he hit his goal, he would be done. My Tyler is kind of a lazy guy, I have to say but he has just raised the goal to $100,000. It's not about the money so much as raising our kids up.
Today, Kids Helping Kids raises the hopes and lives of countless children and their families in 15 countries throughout the world.
One little girl who has been touched by the program is 10-year-old Faith Schenck. The Discovery Bay fifth-grader is a member of the Kids Helping Kids program, and has cultivated two pen pals girls her age living in Ghana. For Faith, the experience has been inspirational and eye-opening.
It's been kind of fun writing to my pen pals, said Faith. I tell them that I hope they are having a good time with their friends, and they write back things like their families are very poor and they tell me the names of all their friends. It does make me feel lucky that I live here.
While Kids Helping Kids is an all-consuming obsession for the Pages, it's still a project balanced between family, school and work schedules. To Laura, the effort is well worth it.
This is my passion. It's what I was born to do, she said. It's a full-time thing, but it doesn't feel that way because it's just so rewarding. I remain constantly impressed with the raising of the bar of our children and all the children involved. When we had our first car wash, I thought they would work for maybe 30 minutes and then get bored and start having water fights. But they hung in there the whole time, and since then they've become only more dedicated.
Kids Helping Kids will be hosting an upcoming Day at the Salon on Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Vibe salon in Brentwood. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Cardiomyopathy Association and Kids Helping Kids.
For more information, call 925-759-4806 or visit www.kidshelpingkids.com.