On Sunday, just days after Hurricane Sandy rolled through most of the Eastern Seaboard, a couple dozen teen volunteers from Kids Helping Kids gathered at Salon KiKlo in New Canaan in spite of the left-over debris and power issues to help change the lives of other children.
Jennifer Kelley said her 15-year-old daughter, Lexi, is really the founder of Kids Helping Kids. While Jennifer acts as a guiding adult presence, the teens involved with the group do everything from pitch each other ideas to organize events like fundraisers or donations to the community.
"Four years ago, my daughter was in a horrible car accident," Jennifer said. "She was out of school for some time. She had reconstructive surgery and had to have plates put in her face. While she was out of school, so many people came and did little things here or there to help. And it had such an impact for Lexi when she looked at it as a whole. She said to me, 'If everyone did just a little bit, we could change the world.'"
So that's what they did, Jennifer said. She allowed her daughter to begin donating service hours to the community and grew the Stamford-based project from there. Kids Helping Kids was founded and now Jennifer said more than 200 teens are involved in the group.
On Sunday, kids from 13 different schools around the region gathered at the New Canaan salon for the 4th annual Cuts for a Cause to raise money for financially-disadvantaged youth suffering from Alopecia Areata and other diseases that cause hair loss. Salon KiKlo, it's floor space and all of the stylists involved were also donating their time and space free-of-charge.
Because of these efforts, 100-percent of the proceeds from the day's event are able to be donated to the cause. The salon had over 80 appointments booked through the day, with offerings ranging from $30 to $60.
"I think it's awesome to see our ideas put in action," Lexi Kelley said. "It's mind-blowing what kids can do when we put our minds together about something with very little adult interference. It's awesome writing a check and seeing a total and knowing I helped give that to someone who needs it."
Anastasia "Stacey" Andrea, who co-founded Salon KiKlo with her brother George Papadopoulos, said the decision to open her doors for Kids Helping Kids was an easy one to make, but that her pride comes from the stylists, employees who all also agree to donate their time to help the teen group raise funds.
"It's our fourth year being involved and it's such a great cause," Andrea said. "We've got eight volunteer stylists here today and I really appreciate the entire staff. They're the ones doing all the work today and, considering the storm, we've had such a great turnout."
Those interested in getting involved with Kids Helping Kids can find out more at their website or 203.253.3400.