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Whiz Kid - Kayla Jackson

Welcome to Whiz Kids where we honor a local kid for being an inspiration to all of us.

 

When Kayla was 9 years old she went into the attic of her house and saw her old butterfly blanket. She said, “I want to donate my old butterfly blanket.” Her mom, Kathi Jackson, asked her, “Why don’t we see if other friends have blankets they can also give away.”

From that simple beginning was born the Kayla Cares If You Are Cold (KCC) blanket drive. During that first year, Kayla collected 660 blankets.

Kayla was determined to collect even more blankets the second year of the drive – and she did. She collected 1,200 blankets.

Kathi, Kayla’s mom, is extremely proud of her daughter. She said Kayla “was very shy throughout school. This - being out in the mall, passing out flyers, speaking to her school, speaking to town council - has really helped her.” She is no longer shy.

Kayla received a lot of help in making her goals. Following a story about Kayla’s drive on ABC news, Barry Baker of Blowoutbedding.com donated a truckload of blankets that had minor stitching errors, but were still quite usable. John Simone of Lawrence Township-based Simone Realty donated a building that Kayla was able to use to store the donated blankets. Many local businesses and her uncle’s fire station in Middletown, Md., held blanket drives in her honor.

The blankets have been donated to a variety of places, including three dialysis centers in honor of her grandmother, as well as Angels Wings, Anchor House, and others.

Kayla recently received some outstanding praise for her hard work. The local Kohl’s store named her a Kohl’s Kids Care winner.

And this summer she was nationally recognized as a recipient of the Young Hero Award. She received the honor during a ceremony held at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. The award, sponsored by TD Bank, “recognizes young people who work for positive change in their schools and communities through art and creative writing, leadership, volunteer work, political involvement or peer mediation.”

Kayla’s next blanket drive kicks off on Black Friday at Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence. Kayla’s goal this year is 2,000 blankets.

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