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[July 19, 2014]
Giving the gift of love to kids in hospitals [Sunday Times (Islamabad)]
(Sunday Times (Islamabad) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) It is midnight in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and 14-year-old Leanne Joyce is still up and working at her computer.
But she is not checking Facebook or cramming for an exam. Instead, she is writing grant applications for her non-profit organisation Positive Impact for Kids.
"There are a lot of grants out in the spring time," she says. "Sometimes I have to work on four different grants in one week." There is no time to lose, she gets home from school, completes her homework and spends the rest of the night drafting, editing and finalising grants applications.
Her organisation aims to improve the lives of children in hospitals by giving them gifts while they are in the hospital or by providing Apple iPad minis to hospitals so children can occupy themselves during a procedure or while they wait for their treatment.
A few years ago, Leanne had herself been a beneficiary of a gift in the hospital. She was waiting in a hospital for test results for her congenital heart condition when volunteers gave her an iTunes gift card.
"When I received the gift, it made me feel good about myself and I forgot all the anxiety," she says.
In 2011, because of her heart condition, Leanne, a nationally ranked jump roper, had to give up the sport. "I wanted to find a way to spend my time since I couldn't do that anymore," she says.
So she threw herself into setting up her non-profit organisation, with the help of her parents.
Her mother is a social worker and her father runs a children's fitness centre, both are in their late 40s. She also has two elder siblings.
The straight A student says she has raised US$29,000 (S$36,000) and hopes to raise US$100,000 by 2018. She calls hospitals to ask what they need and has worked with 57 hospitals across the country so far, giving out more than 500 gift cards, and 47 iPad minis.
"A lot of people won't just think about poor kids in the hospital. So having the personal experience definitely got me involved," Leanne says.
"To know that there are people thinking of hospitalised children and you're not alone, it made me feel so good and I had to give back." (c) 2014 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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