“So many people showed up to help — I cried because I was so excited,” Grace recalls. “Now, a year later, we have over half of our student population as members.”
With the rapid growth of the club, Grace decided to start a GoFundMe during her senior year of high school to help cover the cost of card making materials. The 500 members of the Letters of Love club meet once a month tucked into the back of the art classroom to craft their important heartfelt messages to children staying at the nearby children’s hospital.
The mission of Letters of Love was something that resonated with many others. There are now over 20 clubs worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 100 by next year. And just one year into its infancy, Letters of Love was granted 501(c)(3) status to establish the club as a nonprofit organization. So far, the club members have crafted and sent out over 60,000 cards, but Grace’s vision doesn’t end there. While coronavirus sweeps the nation, Grace has a plan in motion to help out.
“We’ve started a video campaign to help the kids in the hospital who aren’t able to see friends and family due to COVID-19,” Grace explains. “We wanted to find a way to let those kids know that the whole community is fighting for them and loving them during this time.”
Letters of Love has been asking folks to send in short videos with a few encouraging words for children spending time in the hospital without loved ones around. The community has certainly shown up — videos from professional athletes on the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Wild have come in, as well as clips from high-profile actors and comedians. After the coronavirus passes, Grace has growth in mind for the new nonprofit organization.
“I decided I’m going to take a gap year before college to focus on building our nonprofit organization,” she says.
With emotional support for children at the heart of her cause, Grace is working on writing a children’s book. From there, she plans to facilitate animal therapy for children in the hospital — both things that require monetary donations from generous folks who believe in her cause. Grace’s passion for helping others started at a young age, but she hopes age doesn’t hold anyone back from making a difference.
“I think kindness is the most beautiful part of being human,” Grace says. “The smallest acts of kindness, such as making a card for someone, can change their life. You’re never too young or too old to make a difference — you can change the world with small acts of kindness.”
Letters of Love is accepting videos through the end of May and you can submit a video of your own to email@example.com.