LIVINGSTON, NJ — More than 8,300 items have been donated to a 13-year-old’s non-profit organization that collects entertainment and educational items to contribute to children’s hospitals. Kayla Abramowitz, who was born with Crohn’s Disease and Juvenile Arthritis, is on a mission to “help sick kids feel better one smile at a time” through her two-year-old, award-winning project Kayla Cares 4 Kids.
According to Livingston resident Jill Kravis, Kayla’s aunt, Kayla began Kayla Cares 4 Kids on her 11th birthday in 2013 with a vision of helping other children, like herself, who spend endless hours in the hospital. Kayla and her 9-year-old brother, Ethan, who also suffers from Juvenile Arthritis as well as Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Gastritis, Gastroparesis, and uses a feeding machine, are no strangers to extended hospital stays.
After enlisting the help of her family and extended family, Kayla developed a vision and business plan that would go on to win First Place at the 2015 Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA) National Championship, a nationwide nonprofit that partners with U.S. chambers across the country, at the Saunders Scholars National Competition last month.
“For her to win the Young Entrepreneurs Academy national championship by age 13 shows that you are never too young or too old to change the world,” said Kravis. “The story she tells is one of strength and compassion. This speaks to the kind of person she is both inside and out.”
According to the family, a newspaper article in the Palm Beach Post about Kayla Cares 4 Kids brought in an overwhelming response of donations. What began with a goal to donate 100 DVDs to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Fla., where Kayla lives with her family, has developed into a phenomenon that has collected more than 8,300 items given to more than 70 children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across 45 states.
At only 13 years old, Kayla is the Founder and CFO (Chief Kid Officer) of a 501©(3) non-profit organization that has won more than13 awards and received personal congratulatory letters from Florida State representatives.
According to Kravis, the charity started because Kayla saw a problem and made it an opportunity: she and her brother were bored, while being stuck in the hospital, and knew there were kids out there who felt the same way.
“I couldn't be prouder of what Kayla has accomplished and achieved through Kayla Cares 4 Kids,” said Kravis. “She fights Juvenile Arthritis and Crohn's Disease, which isn't always easy, yet still has the strength to impact the world in such a meaningful way.”
Although the Abramowitz family initiated this cause in Fla., its efforts have reached facilities in 45 states and Washington, D.C. In fact, one of the recipients of these generously donated DVDs, electronics and books is Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Kayla’s extended family in Livingston believes that the more people who know about Kayla Cares 4 Kids, the greater impact the organization can have both in New Jersey and nationwide.
“[We have seen] absolutely remarkable growth in two years,” said Kravis. “With our community's help, which gave enough DVDs and electronics at National Night Out alone last year to support eight local hospitals, we can accomplish so much more.”
This week, Kayla traveled from her home in North Palm Beach, Fla. to hand-deliver smiles to the kids in Sanford Children’s Hospital and the Fargo-Moorhead Ronald McDonald house in Fargo, ND. In her journey to reach all 50 states, Kayla is not only bringing smiles to children who need them, but she is actively bringing awareness to the illnesses she and her brother have had to endure as well.
“It is really amazing what she has done, but if you knew Kayla, you would see that her charity means everything to her and that helping other children in need is her passion,” said Kravis. “I love what she has done and can't wait to see what's next.”