The Quarantine Inspires Some of the Youngest Members of Our Community to Give Back
For Tylee Rogal, a fifth grader from Encino, philanthropy morphed out of a hobby. In an effort to creatively pass the time during the quarantine this past summer, she began tie-dyeing masks, hoodies and Converse high-tops.
“People started looking at my Instagram and then the news did a story on me three days after I opened my shop and it just took off!” says Tylee, who sells from @TysTyeDyes.
At the same time her small business was taking flight, Tylee began learning more about what happened to George Floyd and other racial injustices around the country.
“It really upset me. So I thought what better way to stand up than to donate the proceeds from my summer business to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles,” says the self-assured 10-year-old.
Kids have also given back with Fresh Lunches. When the local school lunch catering business slowed to a halt last March, the company pivoted. Owner Winnie Tong began to feed people in need, just as she had done for first responders and Red Cross evacuees during the 2017 Skirball fire. Instead of doing it by herself, though, this time she recruited young people to deliver her delicious meals across the city, like 13-year-old Sophia Bakhtiari, who lives in Laurel Canyon.
“Every week I deliver food to Children’s Hospital LA, the Veteran’s Administration, or the NOHO Home Alliance. I’ve met really amazing people at the drop-off locations,” shares Sophia.
“It’s great when someone gives you just a smile. It’s so heartwarming,” says 17-year-old Mike Pierson who also delivers Fresh Lunches meals. The Studio City resident views philanthropic endeavors as just one step for his generation as they work to make our world a better place. “I would like us to listen to each other and use our common sense. Not to ever shut down opposing views before they have been considered.”
Another uplifting kid-driven organization is the Soaring Samaritans Youth Movement, created seven years ago by sisters Taylor and Jordyn Jackson, 17 and 11, respectively, of Tarzana.
“As avid soccer players, we really wanted to share the joy of soccer, says Taylor. “We discovered a company called One World Play,” Jordyn adds, “which donates indestructible soccer balls that don’t need a pump for 20 years.”
Through donations as well as raising money from handmade jewelry, the Jackson sisters travel the globe, delivering the soccer balls to children in underserved communities.
“There was one kid in Fiji who told us that he would sleep with the ball at night because he was so happy to have it. We’ll never forget that,” remembers Jordyn.
Soaring Samaritans had an instant reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, with a project called Masks for Medics, which uses donations to purchase N95 masks and other PPE for medical personnel in underserved areas of the city.
“We also teach kids that they don’t need physical items to be able to give back. They can give their time. Anything they have at their fingertips can be used to make a difference,” comments Taylor.
The food is only part of the charm.