How a new North Palm office will help grow teen-led charity
NORTH PALM BEACH — A two-room office painted a soft shade of “Kayla blue” is a dream come true for 16-year-old CKO — Chief Kid Officer — Kayla Abramowitz.
For the better part of two years, she has been searching for office space to grow Kayla Cares 4 Kids, the charity she founded that helps sick kids feel better by providing them with movies, books, educational items and video games.
Kayla found an office with enough room to double as a distribution center in a nondescript, two-story office building between the North Palm Beach Post Office and Ruth’s Chris Steak House along U.S. 1. Prior to that, the nonprofit operated out of a storage unit and the Abramowitz’s house in North Palm Beach.
Kayla Cares 4 Kids negotiated the rent for an undisclosed amount.
“We’ve been hunting for years. Whenever we saw a listing available, we would write down the number and call it,” Kayla said.
With the new office, Kayla plans to recruit more teenagers and children as volunteers. High school students can get community service hours while learning quality control, Excel and maybe even some QuickBooks, said Kayla, a junior in William T. Dwyer High School’s Academy of Finance.
In addition to the charity’s regular board of directors, Kayla hopes to add a student board to get “fresh and exciting ideas from a younger generation.”
More manpower will also help the charity process donations faster, she said. Since 2013, she and her family have delivered the donated items to 250 children’s hospitals and 181 Ronald McDonald Houses nationwide.
She’s calling the office the Kayla Cares 4 Kids global headquarters, a hint at her vision for the future.
Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Beth Kigel has served as Kayla’s mentor as the charity has grown and when she won the national Young Entrepreneurs Academy contest in 2015.
“If you couldn’t tell, Kayla is a big thinker, so if she says it will be global, it will be global,” Kigel said.
The office neighbors have been welcoming — one woman emptied out the pennies, nickels and dollar bills of her office’s swear jar to give a $385 donation. Others have pitched in with donated furniture.
Kayla still has some finishing touches to put on the office, specifically pictures and letters from the children where she’s delivered donations.
One painting, in particular, will get a special place on the wall. It came from Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center, a treatment center in Erie, Pennsylvania, that works with traumatized and “at risk” children. Kayla wasn’t allowed inside, but her family came home to find a huge box on their front porch filled with thank you cards and a picture one of the girls painted in art therapy to describe the emotions she felt when she saw the donation.
The charity needs more help packing up and shipping out the inventory.
“It’s been moving in faster than we can move it out. Our goal is to streamline the process,” Kayla said.
Kayla Cares 4 Kids welcomes volunteers of all ages and abilities, Kayla’s mom, Andrea Abramowitz said. They welcome volunteers after school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and on the weekends.
By Sarah Peters