How many 9-year-old kids do you know who have founded a non-profit organization?
Sam Kieffer of Indiana Township is one of them. His mom Terri was so impressed with her young son’s mission to make the world a better place that she wrote to us at Sparkt, and we were impressed too! (that’s Sam in the middle of the family picture, below)
Sam’s main goal is to raise money for research into a cure for the rare epidermoid brain tumors that have afflicted his father. While these tumors, or cysts, are usually not cancerous, they can cause symptoms like headaches, facial pain and ringing in the ears that make it difficult for a person to function. Watching his father live with the disease motivated Sam to found the non-profit “Save the Brains.”
Sam raises money for his non-profit with a “Save The Brains” traveling lemonade stand (Sparkt’s friend Dan Burda and “Studio Raw” has hosted, below). The organization also has a GoFundMe page for donations, which benefit the Epidermoid Brain Tumor Society.
A book of poetry “Freedom Zone” that Sam and his friends wrote and illustrated also benefits the charity and is available for purchase on Amazon. “Poetry lets me express my feelings freely,” writes Sam in the flyleaf, adding that the poems are about things that he cares strongly about, which obviously includes his dad and other people with his same brain disease.
Sam’s acts of kindness don’t end with his non-profit. He’s established a roadside little free food pantry, “Sam’s Blessing Box,” that helps neighbors in his community who are struggling to feed their families.
He’s also involved in efforts to get a “buddy bench” on the playground at his elementary school in the Fox Chapel School District. Buddy benches are meant to be places where students who are feeling left out or sad can sit, and others know to automatically join them to let them know they’re not alone.
Sam’s success as a young leader can also be seen by the growing team he’s building. Several other kids have joined Sam, teaching them all an important lesson at a young age. Good luck Sam!