Alexandra Olgin

Daily Point of Light # 3680 Mar 12, 2008

At 12 years of age, Alexandra was inspired to start a chapter of Kids-for-Kids of New Jersey at her middle school, after attending a walk to raise money for the organization to fund its efforts to provide needed items, backpacks and school supplies and provide parties and mentorship to children at local shelters in New Jersey. Living close to the Trenton area, Alexandra saw that many children were not provided with necessary items and assistance to pursue their education, and basic clothing and personal hygiene items. The three chapters of this group at the time were becoming less active; the originating chapter eventually closed.

Due to budget cuts, Alexandra's school district was not able to fund Kids-for-Kids in the local schools. Determined to try to meet the needs of underprivileged children in New Jersey, Alexandra started an out of school chapter of middle school students to continue the efforts of Kids-for-Kids. Over the last four years, Alexandra's continual efforts have resulted in the continuation of this middle school chapter, her current out of school high school chapter and the two other existing chapters, in addition to the creation of three new chapters at local schools. Now Kids-for-Kids has 7 chapters with about 100 students.

Alexandra's leadership has resulted in the raising of approximately $30,000 to fund Kids-for-Kids' efforts, through walk-a-thons at her community park, bake sales and car washes. Alexandra has also obtained donations from local businesses. Her leadership has furthered the education of local underprivileged children by providing over 1000 new backpacks filled with school supplies and weekly tutoring for children at an after-school program in Trenton. She has also led Kids-for-kids in supplying needed items to these children, including hundreds of pairs of new pajamas, t-shirts, socks, underwear, sneakers and baby supplies and four new rocking chairs for an infant day care center. Further, her leadership has provided holiday celebrations (Thanksgiving Luncheon, A Christmas Carol performance, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick's Day and Spring Day) for these children. Lastly, she organizes efforts to assist a local food pantry in running its pantry, including stocking shelves, assisting customers and preparing food for delivery and delivering food to homebound customers.

When faced with the obstacle of not being able to run Kids-for-Kids as an in-school community service group, Alexandra's innovative leadership allowed her to meet educational and basic needs of local underprivileged children. She mobilized students not only at her own schools, but also at other schools, to establish chapters of Kids-for-Kids. Alexandra leads her high school chapter, with a student co-leader, and coordinates the efforts of the other six chapters in planning and running fund raisers, including the annual walk-a-thon, bake sales and car washes, and purchasing, filling and delivering backpacks to needy children. She also coordinates these chapters in providing weekly tutoring at an after-school program in Trenton. Alexandra's leadership has allowed Kids-for-Kids to truly be a group of kids helping other kids in New Jersey.