The last time I saw Devlin and Darius, they were two of the many kids running carefree through the streets of our neighborhood. Now, a few years later (and a few hundred miles south of our neighborhood), they’re working hard — and smart — to help kids in their new community feel that same childhood joy. What an inspiring duo (who happen to have a pretty special, dedicated mom too)!
We are Devlin and Darius Turner. Devlin is 11 and in the 6th grade, and Darius is 8 and in the 3rd grade.
Devlin: I am in my first year of the Pom Squad at school. I am also involved in Girl Scouts and love arts and crafts of any kind. I have struggled with dyslexia and have mostly overcome it, and I am doing really well in mainstream school now.
Darius: I keep busy mostly with team sports. This season I am on a little league baseball team and a flag football league. I also play on a basketball team and sometimes am the ball boy for a college baseball team. In my free time, I love Minecraft, Pokemon, and Chess.
How did KidScholly get started?
KidScholly started as a challenge our parents gave us on the day we were baptized. They gave us each $150 and told us to find a way to make it grow and to do something for someone less fortunate. We talked about it for a few days and decided that a lemonade stand or bake sale wouldn’t go very far, so we came up with the idea of giving scholarships to kids so they can do extracurricular activities that they can’t afford without help.
We also decided it would help more people if the applicants earned their scholarships by doing volunteer work. For every 1 hour of volunteer work they do, they can earn $25 of scholarship money. The volunteer work can be anything that is meant to help someone else like cleaning up a park, doing extra chores, pulling weeds, and doing jobs for teachers or churches.
Our parents have been really supportive and liked our idea so much that they decided to help us make it happen. Our mom is the Chief Opportunity Giver now and she is pretty much working full time on it and taking time away from medicine to get KidScholly going, and we are both scholarship directors so we help with meetings and a lot of the decisions that are being made.
Can you share a story of a child who was granted one of your scholarships? What community service did they perform and what activity are they now able to participate in thanks to KidScholly?
All of the stories so far are great, but we really like to talk about a twin 9th grade brother and sister who were two of our first scholarship kids. The sister wanted art lessons and the brother wanted to be part of a basketball league and to get new basketball shoes. To earn their scholarships they each needed to do 25 hours of volunteer work, but when they turned in their forms, they had both done more than 45 hours by helping a neighbor build a fence, visiting people in nursing homes, and cleaning up a beach. Their mom said they really got into it and enjoyed volunteering. Now their little sister has gotten involved and is on a gymnastics scholarship too.
The artist has gotten very good through her art lessons and is now helping design sets at a local theater. Here is an example of her work:
How many kids have you been able to help so far?
We have given over $21,000 in scholarships so far in our first six months and that accounts for more than 680 hours of community service and about 50 kids. We have had 10 kids in little league baseball, one in basketball, two in cheerleading, and three in gymnastics. We also have three kids who have gotten Irlen filters which are glasses that we both wear that have really helped our dyslexia. One of our 6th grade scholarship kids has improved his reading level from a 2nd grade level to a 6th grade level in just a few months with his vision corrected, and he is getting A’s and B’s now when he was failing school before. Also, we have given guitar lessons, art lessons, dance lessons, and music therapy and have helped kids be able to go on school field trips, be in Boy Scouts, and go to creative writing classes.
The kids have given hundreds of hours of volunteer work so far, and some of them are volunteering more so they can earn more funds for their lessons or apply for a second activity. Our hope is to give 500 scholarships in 2016 year (average scholarship is $500), but we are going to need to get a lot of sponsors and donors. Just last week we had a donor offer to give us $5,000 if we can earn $5,000 in ten days, and that campaignstarted on 3/1/16. We also are hoping for success in our partnership with Sevenly.
What is your vision for KidScholly’s future?
We are really excited that we have joined with Sevenly to provide their kids’ line of clothes, and profits from that will go back into scholarships and also to other charities. We are starting a new program called SchollyBuddies to get people more involved in helping our scholarship kids by raising money through community service projects that groups like churches, schools, and scouts can do together. It has been really fun and we are proud of what we have started. My mom says we have created a monster, but we say it’s a really good monster.
The best, if you ask me. Check out some of these YouTube videos to see their outstanding work in action:
Your donation can help KidScholly earn $5000! If KidScholly earns $5000 in donations by March 10, 2016 a generous donor will match that $5000.
*This blog was previously published on March 3, 2016 at http://usingourwords.com/2016/03/03/kidscholly/