Grace Kennedy, 13, of Kailua, Hawaii, an eighth-grader at St. Anthony School Kailua, has raised thousands of dollars to benefit sick and abused children as a board member of a Hawaii-based student philanthropic organization. Grace was invited to a meeting of the organization “Kidz For A Cause” in 2014, and was quickly inspired to help with the group’s fundraising. “I learned that there are many kids having a really hard time growing up,” she explained. “I felt bad for the kids who are sick and abused.”
Grace began by selling tickets to a benefit theater show, raising $1,000 to help buy clothes, toys and school books for abused or neglected kids at the Children’s Justice Center on Oahu. The next year, she recruited a group of friends to help her organize a celebrity chef dinner, where several of Hawaii’s most famous chefs provided a gourmet meal for 100 people. That event generated more than $6,000 to help expand a local hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. Last year, Grace led fellow volunteers in staging a variety concert featuring local singers, dancers and comedians, along with a silent auction, that raised more than $17,000 for Ronald McDonald House Hawaii. “It feels great to know I helped the kids in my community!” said Grace.