As Leanne Joyce waited for the results of her echocardiogram two years ago, a group of volunteers passed by with a cart full of stuffed animals and blankets and handed her a gift.
“They made me feel really good, and I wanted to give back and continue what they were doing,” says Joyce, who continues to receive treatment for her ongoing heart condition.
The act of kindness helped inspire Joyce, 13, to start her own nonprofit to brighten the hospital stays for kids. Since launching Positive Impact for Kids in October, she has raised almost $5,000. The proceeds provide gift cards, paint sets, iPads and other “wish list items” to children’s hospitals nationwide.
In the spring, Joyce will be recognized for her efforts when she receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award, which includes a commendation from President Obama. Now a seventh grader at Culbreth Middle School, Joyce has been raising funds to support kids battling illness since she was in third grade. Positive Impact is the first such effort she's led. She says donating these gifts lets children know other people care about them and what they are going through.
“I definitely have a lot of sensitivity toward people who are in hospitals and can understand them,” Joyce says.
Leigh Ann Cardman, who taught Leanne Joyce in elementary school, says Joyce’s motivation and humility encourages those who meet her to make a difference in other people’s lives, too.
“I’ve never met a child with such ambition, and also at the same time I’ve never met a person – young or old – who’s as humble as she is,” Cardman says.
On Feb. 28, Joyce will host a fundraiser at Scout and Molly’s in University Mall. Shoppers get a 15% discount from 6 to 9 p.m., and Positive Impact for Kids will receive 15% of the total sales receipts for the entire day.
The nonprofit also sells wristbands and T-shirts at positiveimpactforkids.org. TW