By Victoria Feng, AKOM and Money Smarts Editor
Leanne Joyce, 17-year-old founder of Positive Impact for Kids
Quote of the Month
“Forming my non-profit was a beneficial way to focus my time, energy, and desire to help others.”
-Leanne Joyce, 17-year-old founder of Positive Impact for Kids
December Amazing Kid! of the Month
The holiday season is rapidly approaching, with Halloween and Thanksgiving already over. December is a time of peace, joy, and kindness. Throughout the month, there are parties and activities, Santa Claus themed things, and holiday shopping. December is filled with festivities and it’s a great time to celebrate this year and all the amazing things 2016 has brought us. When we think of Christmas, we may automatically relate to Christmas trees and presents underneath. A lot of kids write letters to Santa, in hopes that he will read their wish lists and deliver gifts. This holiday season, Amazing Kids! Magazine challenges you to think about what to give to others.
Leanne Joyce has reached over half a million kids with her organization, Positive Impact for Kids. With the money she has raised, Leanne buys toys and technology for kids who are hospitalized. She hopes to brighten their day and provide a safe outlet for their pain, letting them “escape” their feelings of worry and pain. Her story shows that one girl can make such a big difference.
Keep reading to find more about Leanne and her organization!
Leanne and some hospital staff show some of the donations from Positive Impact for Kids.
Finding a New Path
When Leanne was 12, she received bad news from her doctor that she couldn’t play sports anymore due to the fact that she has Aortic Valve Stenosis. Aortic Valve Stenosis is a disease where the aortic valve narrows, which affects the heart and when someone does cardio exercises, it affects the heart. Being a nationally ranked athlete, Leanne was naturally crushed. Gymnastics, jump rope, and swimming took up a lot of her life. After her visit to her doctor, Leanne wondered if there was another activity should could do to spend her energy on.
While she found out she couldn’t play sports any longer, Leanne was also being hospitalized and found it stressful. While she was waiting for a cardio test result, Leanne was approached by a group of teenage volunteers and given an iTunes gift card. She really appreciated the heartfelt gift and reflected on how much it impacted her and lifted her spirits.
Wanting to give back, Leanne created Positive Impact for Kids. The organization donates toys, technology, and the like to children who are hospitalized.
Working Together to Reach One Goal
With the money she receives from fundraising events and other methods like her website, Leanne purchases, then donates items to hospitals. When a hospital requests an item, she donates it. Usually Leanne gives iPads, gift cards, and other types of technology. Some things like iPads can be used by multiple children, ranging from 365 to 20,000 in just one year.
Sometimes hospitals do not put tools like iPads on the top of their priorities, so Leanne donates them. In her own words, “These items are used for education on upcoming procedures, distraction from overall hospital environments, and socialization with friends and family back home.” Luckily, Positive Impact for Kids is here to donate them.
Kids have greatly benefited from these items, which provide a good source of enjoyment and distraction like the iTunes gift card did for Leanne before.
The goods Leanne donates are given to children all across the country and to a variety of kinds of hospitals. These donations allow a lot of kids- over half a million so far- to be able to benefit. Leanne’s organization does not discriminate based on ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class, and religion. Because of this, Leanne can maximize the number of kids she can reach and allow her work with a diverse amount of hospitals and patients.
Shaping Her Life
Not only is Leanne helping others, she too has been helped by Positive Impact for Kids. It gave her a mission to focus on when at a time her future seemed darkest, it brightened her life. She turned her passion for sports into a different road: helping others.
She has raised a lot of money for a variety of different hospitals, and along the way Leanne has met many donors and others who support her organization. She says that it has allowed her to bring a strong network.
Leanne is a busy high schooler who is taking four AP classes and considers family and friends to be important. On Positive Impact for Kids alone, she spends countless hours. She has learned along the way to find a balance between these pillars of her life. This is an important life lesson for her.
She has also learned how to write a grant to support her non-profit and how to manage one.
For the future, Leanne is hoping to expand Positive Impact of Kids’ outreach. While she already has donated to hospitals in every state, she wants to increase the number of those who are working in her organization to be able to reach more people. She also aims to gain a larger impact by building “play rooms” in hospitals specifically aimed at teenagers, where they can relax from the pain they are struggling with.