Local Charity Chapter Lends a Hand

Devin Mottier, Staff Writer

Helping Hearts, a small, student-operated organization founded by sophomore Caie Kelley in 2008, allows Miramonte students the opportunity to give back to the community in a low stress yet high impact environment.

Every Tuesday, the nine Helping Hearts members trek to Del Rey Elementary School to tutor third, fourth and fifth graders. Each elementary student recieves one-on-one tutoring from an assigned tutor in order to help the kids fully grasp challenging concepts and schoolwork in a patient, slower paced environment.

“Orinda is a really competitive area,” Kelley said. “But there are still a lot of kids who struggle, and who fall behind because their parents work and they don’t get the help they need.  Del Rey was a really good place to start because I was still in touch with many of my old teachers and wanted to give back to my elementary school.”

The voulnteers have also participated Project Linus, an organization that recruits “blanketeers” to raise money and produce blankets and quilts for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.

“We have little projects that we do to help kids around the area,” Kelley said. “During the summer, we started the local chapter of Project Linus for kids in hospitals and in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco,”

At the beginning of the holiday season, the members also worked with the Bay Area Crisis Nursery to wrap presents for the kids there whose parents aren’t able to take care of them.

“Going to B.A.C.N. was an amazing opportunity for all of us,” sophomore member Caroline Colwell said. “It was so nice to see the kids and how excited they were to receive gifts. We take that kind of stuff for granted and it’s great to give back to kids who don’t have that.”

Despite currently being a simple small town organization, Kelley has big plans for the future. A group of future leaders has already been selected for when the current sophomore and senior members graduate.

“The great thing about Helping Hearts is that it’s a really casual group that just wants to help in little ways,” said Kelley. “We aren’t exactly changing the world, but hopefully if we’ve helped even one student do better in school, we’ve made a difference.”

Currently, the group is small but very strong. Arrangements are in the works for next year regarding its status as a school club as well as widening the foundation.