Kayla Abramowitz is the founder of Kayla Cares 4 Kids, a Nonprofit organization that donates entertainment and educational items to children’s hospitals across the country. The idea to provide entertainment relief to hospital-bound kids came to Kayla when she was just 11 years old, after extended hospital stays of her own. Kayla has Crohn’s disease, juvenile arthritis and eosinophilic colitis.
Social awareness, though, probably started even earlier than that for Kayla. When Kayla was just a kid, her mom started a family Saturday ritual where Kayla and her brother followed their mom to donate leftover bagels to homeless shelters in their community.
Kayla, now 14, has donated more than 12,000 DVDs and other educational and entertainment materials to children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses in all 50 states through her organization. She joked that her “family has a thing for donating round things with holes in them.”
In 2015, Kayla presented her organization at the National Young Entrepreneur’s Academy contest and won first place. She has also been recognized for innumerable charitable awards, and has stacked up a few thank-you notes from senators, governors and even President Barack Obama. Despite the demands that come with juggling schoolwork, a Nonprofit, her own hospital visits, and being a good older sister (she helps her brother with homework), she sat down for a chat with us.
CC: What inspired you to start Kayla Cares 4 Kids?
KA: I just came home from a really long hospital stay. I spent a lot of time at children’s hospitals, and I realized that the hospital was really boring and there wasn’t a lot of stuff to do. I really didn’t like that and I wanted to change it.
CC: How did you want to change it?
KA: In the very beginning, I had a very small goal, though at the time was very big: 100 DVDs that I would donate to the hospital. My dad thought I was ridiculous. And my mom didn’t say anything. She was quietly supporting it. I took on the initiative of going around the neighborhood with fliers made on PowerPoint. And I ended up getting 300 DVDs so I surpassed my goal.
CC: How has your non-profit grown?
KA: So I made my first donation to that hospital and then from there I just kept moving to more and more hospitals. Eventually it went national. From that point, I’ve donated more than 12,000 books, DVDs, and anything that can entertain and educate children in all 50 states with 100 medical-sized facilities.
CC: How did you collect so many?
KA: It all started with me going around my neighborhood and getting those DVDs. And then it expanded to my school. We had a school-wide collection with my Girl Scout troops. And then I started going and talking to businesses, like our local Starbucks because regulars go in there so we put a shoebox lot. And I got a collection box there. I have collection boxes all across my local community now and I have ambassadors all across the country collecting and donating in their local communities. The more people who are supporting you, it just makes more of an impact.