BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater 11-year-old Sophia Kelleher wanted to spread kindness in the community, so she created a YouTube channel to show that age doesn’t matter when it comes to being kind.
Called the Kindness Fairy, Kelleher wanted to spread the message that no matter how old you are, or how much money you have, you can always be kind.
“I started the kindness fairy because I was challenged by my parents to do something that helped people,” she said.
Kelleher said she has done a number of things to spread kindness, including giving $10 Starbucks gift cards to five random people in the Bridgewater Commons Mall.
“I did that one week before Covid-19 started spreading in New Jersey,” she said. “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make more videos for a while after that.”
Kelleher said she was scared when the schools had to do remote learning, but her parents told her to look for opportunities to focus on the good and not the scary.
“I saw on Facebook that the Somerset Animal Shelter needed food, bleach and dog beds, so we gathered those things and donated what we could,” she said.
Kelleher said she also created posters and hung them up for the Bridgewater police, Green Knoll Fire, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Somerset and the ShopRite workers in Branchburg.
“I did it to thank the essential workers for being there,” she said.
Now, Kelleher said, she is working on a series to thank teachers who have really inspired her.
“I decorated my third grade teacher’s house for her birthday, it has been a tradition for me and my friend since she was our teacher at Van Holten,” she said. “We had balloons, a banner and a plant we left on her porch. We couldn’t hug her, and had to stay far away, but we didn’t want to let COVID ruin our tradition. We made her cry happy tears that we remembered, and that was the best feeling.”
The second part of the series was for her fifth grade teacher, because she was amazing through distance learning and Kelleher said she didn’t want to end the year without thanking her.
“I decorated the outside of her classroom windows on the day she told the class she had to clean out her classroom,” she said. “It was so cool to see her smile when she walked into the classroom.”
The third part, Kelleher said, is for a teacher in Van Holten who was never actually her teacher.
“She is a super awesome person who does a ton of kind things for people,” she said. “I am slowly buying her some things I know she likes, and I’m making her a basket to leave on her porch.”
In the future, Kelleher said, she hopes to grow her subscribers and one day be able to do big acts of kindness for people in need.
“I know of a few famous YouTubers who do things like buy groceries for food banks, help people pay rent or buy them a car so they can work,” she said. “That is what I would really love to do with this channel. Most importantly, I want to get other kids involved.”
Kelleher, a student at Eisenhower Intermediate School, said others can help with her work by spreading their own kindness.
“If they send me a picture or video of them spreading kindness in their community,” she said. “It will be used in my series, ‘The Kindness Champions of the World.’”
The more videos she can make, Kelleher said, the more followers she can get.
“With enough followers, you can get sponsors,” she said. “I am using my allowance and gift money to help buy supplies and donate things now. With a sponsor, I could do things on a bigger scale and really help families in need.”
“I really believe if other kids knew how good it feels to make someone smile, more kids would do it,” she added. “If we focus on doing kind things for other people now, maybe we can make the world a better place as we grow up.”