While many children have written letters to Santa and wait anxiously for toys and on Christmas morning, one extraordinary young man has found another way to make the season bright.
After author, motivational speaker and philanthropist Miguel Coppedge, 14, tossed ideas around with his friend, Tyler Stallings, owner of Kid Time Enterprises LLC, he decided to give “I Care Comfort Bags” filled with toiletries, towels, and household items and the personal note to foster children.
Miguel and his mother Yolanda Coppedge chose to deliver the bags to the DC Child & Family Services Agency in Southeast — the foster care center that helped them find each other.
“When I was in foster care, I needed the items that we put in our bags. I want kids to feel proud of themselves when they receive the bags,” Miguel said. “I’m just a kid who does what other kids do but I also do things for my community.”
With the help of his mother who adopted him at age 2, GoFundMe donations from the community and Beatrice Williar the program manager with Partners for Kids In Care, they were able to deliver more than 100 bags. The program is a community relations initiative that connects with caring individuals, organizations and businesses who want to give back to kids in foster care. The DC Child & Family Services Agency center is where they house the donations for youth.
“When Miguel came to me with this idea I was like, let’s do it,” Coppedge said. “We used an app to come up with the logo, created and promoted the GoFundMe and we were able to raise the funds to make the bags, DC Child and Family Services Agency center is awesome. When I got Miguel I had nothing. They provided me with furniture vouchers, food vouchers, helped me to get WIC, child care vouchers, clothes, Medicaid, everything that I needed. This is also about me giving back to them because they gave me the greatest gift of all in Miguel.”
Educators and psychologists often point to the holiday season as an opportune time for children to get involved with a local charity. Experiencing the joy of giving to the less fortunate and people they don’t know helps them learn the importance of giving without expecting anything in return. Some ways to get kids more involved in the community include: volunteer at animal shelters, bake cookies for emergency responders, clean local parks and donate toys and clothing.
“One hundred percent of everything we have was donated through the community. The community support is the engine that makes our program work. Our core values are community compassion and well-being. This room represents dignity. It’s not a hand-me-down but a hand up,” Williar said.
“We are so happy to have a young rock star and leader like Miguel particularly with him coming from foster care. No matter where you come from; you can overcome, give back and help somebody else do the same,” she said.