Pablo arrived in this county six months ago. An emotionally challenged sophomore at a local school, he had hopes of joining the school’s soccer team but at the organizational meeting he was told that, to be able to try out, he had to have the proper equipment: soccer shoes, shin guards, socks. His family was barely paying the rent, so he didn’t even consider asking his mother for the money. Upon learning of Pablo’s situation, a new local charitable group called “Alice’s Kids” issued a purchase order to Target so the boy could buy the items. Ultimately, he did not make the team but he was made the team manager and I’m told that Pablo now wears his equipment to every practice.
Around the same time, eleven year-old Beth Pyles, a student at , heard about Alice’s Kids and, interested in helping some of the needy children in her school, she volunteered to organize a “Fun Run” to raise money for the organization. That event will take place this Saturday at Battersea Lane in Riverside Estates at 8 a.m. Registration is from 7 to 7:45 and the registration fee is only $10. The course is just one mile, designed especially for children and all of the money that is raised goes directly to help children like Pablo.
Several months ago, my younger brother, sister and I formed Alice’s Kids. The organization’s mission is simple: to lift the self-esteem of needy children by providing them grants in denominations of $25-50 so they can buy new shirts, glasses, shoes, a winter jacket, a baseball glove or pay for their college application fee.
Mount Vernon is fortunate to have many great charitable groups that provide assistance for housing, food, utilities, etc. But, after meeting with the directors of these groups, I realized that there were a lot of kids with “minor” needs that were almost just as important to them personally. Indeed, while it is unsettling to wake up seeing your breathe because you ran out of heating oil or walking around a dark apartment because the electricity had been turned off, these problems are generally “internal.” However, when that child goes to school wearing the same shirt all week or with holes in his shoes, their situation becomes more public, and more embarrassing. We formed Alice’s Kids to help children in those situations, our motto being “A Little Help Goes a Long Way.”
Working with referrals from the county, schools, churches and other charitable groups, we have now distributed thousands of dollars to individual children in Mount Vernon. It’s very rewarding and important work. And, at the same time, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a young compassionate go-getter like Beth Pyles, who simply wants to help out kids like Pablo.
We hope you will come out on Saturday, meet Beth, check out our Facebook page (which documents our cases) and help us continue to provide direct one-on-one assistance to children in need in Mount Vernon.