There is an old adage about a child will lead them.
Multiply that by 10 and we have Kids Care Disaster Relief, the brainchild of a 13-year-old attending the Canterbury School in Fort Myers, who watched the news of Oct. 10 in horror and emerged with a mission.
To assist those impacted by the storm.
Even though that storm was an eight-hour drive away, Kristina Podlasek felt she had to help and enlisted a few of her classmates at Canterbury School, the kids ranging in age from 10 to 13.
And over the past weekend, seven of those youngsters piled into a camper with a couple of parents to make the drive to Mexico Beach and on Sunday morning visited Mayor Al Cathey.
They arrived carrying a check for more than $9,300 and a group embrace with the mayor.
“That was one of the most touching things I’ve experienced,” Cathey said. “I was overwhelmed by their generosity and that they took the time to organize and dedicate themselves to this.
“They were very well-spoken, just delightful. They were so energetic and so happy to give us this money.”
Money raised by selling rubber bracelets, emblazoned with “Hurricane Michael: October 10, 2018” and on the inside with the coordinates of the storm.
The price is $5, but the group accepts, and has received, all levels of donations.
Roughly a month ago, Cathey received a call from Kristina’s father, Brian, letting Cathey know about the campaign to assist Mexico Beach.
Kristina and friends, having lived through Hurricane Irma last year, were well-acquainted with hurricanes and the damage they leave behind.
“Irma wasn’t nearly as powerful as Hurricane Michael,” Kristina said. “I can not even imagine how terrifying it must have been.”
The kids came up with the bracelets and design, filed, with help from caring adults, the paperwork for their 501(c) 3 status, and began to sell their bracelets.
They also solicited sponsors to assist in defraying expenses such as purchasing the bracelets, stamps, envelopes, postage and other supplies.
“We thought it was a great way for them to learn to help something or someone beyond themselves,” said Brian Podlasek. “It seemed like a great educational opportunity.”
And after first reaching out to Cathey, Brian touched base again two weeks later to let him know of progress and again last week, telling Cathey they were on their way with check.
As of the middle of last week, that check totaled just over $8,000; by the time they arrived in Mexico Beach it had climbed in value to over $9,300.
The kids also brought along a supply of bracelets which were handed out during the annual tree lighting Sunday night.
And those youngsters are not finished.
Their fundraising project continues and they have added aiding the victims of the California wildfires as a second project.
“For any other hurricanes or natural disasters we will make bracelets and raise money for those issues as well,” Katrina said. “I can’t wait for more people and kids to help and join the mission.
“I believe that all children can make a big difference from something so simple.”
You can visit www.kidscaredisasterrelief.com online or visit their page on Facebook.
One hundred percent of all proceeds to hurricane victims.
“I understand the impact and devastation a massive storm like Hurricane Michael can have on people,” said Kat Sanders, another of the group. “I want to help the people that were hit so hard by this storm.
“If we all come together we can make a difference.”
The current members of Kids Care Disaster Relief are Kristina, Colin Cambell, Olivia Hoy, Marlon Engelhard, Nino Englehard, Lila Dinkel, Maya, Ella Dinkel, Reece Dinkel, Ellie Applegren and Kat Sanders.