Changing the world is a big idea for a 12-year-old girl with a big heart. That's exactly what our next 7 Who Care honoree, Caitlyn Lovelace, had in mind when she created "Kids Creating Change". It’s an organization of young people determined to make a difference, one random act of kindness at a time.
For most kids, a day at the beach is a day to play in the surf, soak up the sun, and maybe find some shells, but for Caitlyn Lovelace it's an opportunity to make a difference.
"Kids Creating Change is a group of regular kids trying to make changes in the community,” says Lovelace.
On this beautiful summer night and every Thursday, Caitlyn and her friends can be found cleaning the beach picking up bags full of trash and cigarette butts.
This small group of teens and pre-teens known as "Kids Creating Change" has now grown into a 501C-3. The success of the organization doesn't surprise those who know Caitlyn best. "They're a great group of kids, Caitlyn heads them up and I can't say enough good things about these kids or her," says Board Member Christopher Colangelo.
“People always ask me, how did you do this? I didn't do this. This is who she is…how she was born," says Caitlyn’s mother Jill.
Caitlyn’s mother Jill says a moment she'll never forget is when after feeding a group of homeless at the shelter her daughter told her she wanted to stay. Her work wasn't done. "She said they're thanking me and I don't know why they're thanking me. I don't understand why they're thanking me," says Jill.
From there, Caitlyn began to organize donation drives for the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition. "It started as a blanket drive with over a thousand blankets for homeless during winter time, and that transpired into more feedings, and then when Kids Creating Change came along they started doing annual events and any community event they have, they would include us in them and make us the beneficiary," says Ashley Gouin of the CCHC.
When Caitlyn friends started asking if they could help, she took the idea of "Kids Creating Change" and ran with it. She's already thinking about the upcoming school year raising money so needy children in her community can get back-to-school supplies. "Right now, we are currently doing a Back to School Homeless Bash, and cleaning beach every Thursday next project? Only time will tell."
At just 12-years-old, she's setting the example for the next generation of kids looking to lend a helping hand, even if isn't full grown. "All these kids wanna be here. All these kids wanna do this. It’s not just her, just give them the ability to get out there and do it," says Jill.
"She takes the saying, ‘One random act of kindness can change the world or begin to change the world”. She takes that to a whole new level," says Colangelo.
So whether it's feeding the Englewood firefighters, just to say thanks, or cleaning up our local beaches, Caitlyn says anyone can make a difference. “There's no too small act, even picking up a pencil, saying hi to someone, it can make a world of a difference," says Caitlyn.