By Victoria Feng, Amazing Kids! Spotlight Interviewer, AKOM Writer and Money Smarts Editor
Leanne Joyce, Founder of Positive Impact for Kids
Leanne Joyce is the founder of Positive Impact for Kids, a philanthropy that provides items like iPads and toys to hospitalized children. The funds she receives go to hospitals in an effort to help hospitals find items that better suit patients’ physical and emotional wants and decrease their pain. Read on to find more about Leanne and her amazing organization, Positive Impact for Kids.
AK: What inspired you to create Positive Impact for Kids?
LJ: I used to be a nationally ranked jump roper, competitive swimmer and gymnast but was unexpectedly told by my cardiologist to immediately stop sports because it was life-threatening. One month prior, at the hospital awaiting test results, teenage volunteers handed me a gift which completely relieved my stress and motivated me to give back. Forming my nonprofit was a beneficial way to focus my time, energy and desire to help others. Being forced to stop competing in sports at the age of 12 was extremely difficult to deal with. At the time, my world revolved around working out and intense training. Upon losing the ability to compete in sports I became very devastated and depressed. I lost my life purpose and tried looking at the situation from many perspectives trying to find a possible positive outcome. Receiving an iTunes gift card from teenage volunteers while I was anxiously waiting for cardiac test results motivated me to give back. Forming my nonprofit was a beneficial way to focus my time, energy and desire to help others.
AK: What was the most challenging part of creating your organization?
LJ: I had a difficult time getting a name approved for my nonprofit because there were so many similar names already in use from other organizations. I also struggled to create a logo and consulted a graphic designer to help with that as well as the creation of the website.
AK: How does your organization help kids with Aortic Valve Stenosis?
LJ: I donate requested items to hospitals, not specifically children with Aortic Valve Stenosis. My nonprofit donates to private and public hospitals that offer treatment regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. Donating to hospitals in a variety of geographical areas provides the opportunity to work with professionals from different backgrounds while supporting the diverse patients they serve. Pediatric patients from numerous cultures, socioeconomic classes and religions benefit from my donations. Hospitalized newborns to young adults (age 22) utilize our donations. Children that are hospitalized for prolonged periods of time are especially impacted by my donations because they are often subject to isolation if family and friends are unable to remain with them.
AK: After being in the hospital yourself, do you have any advice for kids who are currently suffering from this disease?
LJ: Every child has a different experience with their illness and for that reason, I do not have an answer for this question.
AK: What has been your favorite part of this journey?
LJ: My favorite part of this journey has been the networking I have completed and opportunities I have created for myself. Furthermore, it is my honor to know I have positively affected the lives of more than half of a million pediatric patients.
AK: How has starting Positive Impact for Kids affected you?
LJ: I have learned so much from starting my nonprofit. Not only have I grown personally through acquired skills such as grant writing and business management, but it has taught me many life lessons. One of the most memorable lessons I have learned throughout this process is that you can make time for everything. I spend countless hours on my nonprofit, studying for my four AP classes, and maintaining a social life with family and friends. Each of these aspects of my life are individually important and I have learned how to balance all of these important facets.
AK: What are your personal goals for the future, as well as for your organization?
LJ: Personally, I am very interested in psychiatry and plan to attend medical school. In the next year, I plan to increase the amount of individuals volunteering to support Positive Impact for Kids, locally and nationally. I plan to start teenage centered “play rooms” in multiple hospitals. Some hospitals don’t have developed means of providing distraction to teenagers and this would allow for a safe physical space for teens to “escape”. I plan to increase the overall awareness of my nonprofit and create a larger impact in hospitals where I have already made donations.
AK: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
LJ: Since founding my nonprofit, I have raised over $80,000. I have helped 85 hospitals, one in every state. I have donated 93 iPads, over 1,000 gift cards, gaming systems and laptops, impacting more than 500,000 pediatric patients. iPads and laptops are invaluable versatile tools that are generally not budgeted for within hospital systems. These items are used for education on upcoming procedures, distraction from overall hospital environments and socialization with friends and family back home. Each iPad affects between 365 to over 20,000 children per year depending on where it is utilized within the hospital. (For example, one child in an isolation room versus a procedure room where they insert IVs.)