When these 14-year-old twins were shut out of volunteer opportunities, they took matters into their own hands, creating a nationwide database and building a website to connect kids with causes that will let them help out.
Jake and Max Klein launched the Kids That Do Good database to allow young people to search for volunteer opportunities based on age, interest, or location, everything from helping the homeless to launching a food drive to provide Thanksgiving meals for the needy and walking for breast cancer.
It all started when the boys began cooking meals to serve the homeless with a family friend, a retired chef, in his home kitchen.
“We would go to his house when he was cooking and ask him to take us with him to serve. When he looked into it, he was told, ‘No, they are simply too young,'” said Max.
That’s when they decided to start the site, which receives an average of 100 visitors every day, with a growing list of organizations like animal shelters and urban farming groups requesting to be listed.
Kids around the country also have a say in organizing their own initiatives, whether it’s starting a local food drive, cooking up a bake sale, or visiting elderly neighbors: no effort is too small.
The boys, who are currently in ninth grade at Leonia High School in Leonia, New Jersey, were raised by parents who encouraged them to give back.
“Right around our second birthday we had just started reading at the local library. Our parents noticed that the computers for the children to use were severely outdated and children were not able to enjoy them,” said Jake. “That year we received donations that allowed us to purchase two new computers for the library.”
The altruistic actions continued after their grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and the boys learned that both adults and kids are affected by the disease, leading them to spearhead a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids Cancer.
“Kids today don’t understand that often times the person sitting next to you can be homeless, or hungry, or suffering quietly from some terrible disease,” Max said.
They also have a special place in their hearts for firemen, and have raised money for a new electric stretcher for their local fire squad and a Toughbook to help them load and look at housing plans in their local neighborhood, making it safer for them to plan to head into burning homes.
“The greatest moments for us are when we can talk to people and tell them you don’t have to give up because you can’t find an existing event to join,” said Max.”We were just asked to come and speak to a Girl Scout Troup about how they can come up with ways to be charitably-minded.”
As for what the future holds, the boys, who had their allowance taxed to the dollar to “create an early understanding of its value”—are actually looking at careers in finance.
“We believe that this career path will allow us to still charitable and make an impact in an ever bigger way,” said Jake. “We don’t want to stop being Kids That Do Good, but at that point we may need to start another site called Grown Ups That Still Do Good.”Share this article: