Jazmine Sepulveda, 13, of Rock Hill, South Carolina, a seventh-grader at Riverwalk Academy, helps provide clothing and school supplies to children living in poverty in the Dominican Republic by selling bracelets that she makes, as well as traditional rings made by Dominican artisans. “I’ve always had a heart for others,” Jazmine said. “My mother tells me that when I was only 2 years old, on Christmas day I saw all of the gifts under the tree and grabbed the smallest gift for me and left the others for my cousins.” A native of the Dominican Republic, Jazmine has visited her birth country with her mother and seen how many people there lack basic necessities. This made her determined to be part of the solution.
Two years ago, she began making bracelets to sell for a charity in the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo that supports more than 600 children each year. Later, during a trip there, she was impressed with traditional rings made by local artisans, so she decided to sell those, too, to support both the charity and the local economy. Through her project, Jazmine has contributed uniforms, shoes, school supplies, clothing and cash to help more than 200 children. “I hope my initiative brings them joy,” she said. “My hope is to continue and expand the collection of basic items and keep sending them for many more years.” Jazmine’s other community service efforts have included providing information about underage drinking at community health fairs, volunteering for an organization that promotes cultural identity and bilingual education, and performing as a folkloric dancer to introduce her culture to others.