In 2011, Kayleigh Barnes, a high school student from Seaford, Delaware, decided she wanted to provide more opportunities for young women to develop self-confidence, public-speaking skills and a foundation of community service.
As a result, she founded Barefoot Beauties, which engages young women and their families in community service and pageantry as a means to build self-confidence and a spirit of service. Barnes believes that engaging youth in service at an early age leads to a lifelong commitment to community involvement and leadership.
Barnes collaborates with local nonprofits including the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand to organize service activities for Barefoot Beauties participants. In addition, she encourages participants to engage in service opportunities they feel passionate about and share them with others.
Through Barefoot Beauties, Barnes has engaged more than 100 youth in various service opportunities and over 200 adults. She was presented with a youth leadership award by the local chapter of the American Red Cross for her efforts in recruiting youth volunteers and educating others on the importance of disaster preparedness. In 2012, she was named a Build A Bear Huggable Hero finalist for her work to start Siblings of Children with Special Needs, an organization focused on supporting youth who have disabled siblings.