With the exposure that Alessandro and Serena had from the story of the Vietnamese children, to their pen-pals, to their trip to Mexico and learning about the Foundation started by Adriana, the two youngsters were keen to do more, thus Ben and the children with their parents’ blessing founded and incorporated 2 Kids With Love.
“Because of who we are, our passion, our values and our care for those less fortunate, we incorporated 2 Kids with Love as a charity. We want to make a difference, empowering children through education in a healthy environment. It’s a priceless thing. It’s very personal—it’s all about the children and we want to keep it that way,” explains Ben.
Alessandro and Serena are co-founders and are active with the charity, not just in name, but in the running of the organization. 2 Kids With Love has a formal space thanks to the donation of an office for use. The charity runs a parallel junior board of directors made up of kids. For legal, financial, accountability and direction purposes, there is a 2 Kids With Love Board of Directors run by adults, but the children remain an integral part of the decision-making process.
“The kids hold their own board meetings supervised by an adult; they come in with their computers, they take notes. Serena has created a brochure and is working on a newsletter,” says Ben proudly. “They drive the projects. They go through the full board processes and have been learning about the selection criteria for board members and their roles. At first they thought they’d ask the A-students at school, but we talked about the types of traits people need to have and they learned what to look for and understood that isn’t something necessarily reflected in grades.”
Alessandro and Serena are also thinking about how to raise money for 2 Kids With Love. Serena has designed some special key chains to sell on behalf of the charity. “She has gone through every step of the process, from design to moulds,” says Ben, explaining that Serena consulted with a jeweller on her design idea and solicited multiple estimates for production costs. In addition, she proudly donated the first $5 to the charity, which she raised by providing American Girl doll makeovers.
Alessandro has been busy too. He has made a PowerPoint presentation to present to businesses for sponsorship, with an initial goal of raising $500 to go towards helping Adriana – Ahora Es Tiempo De Dar - to build the next classroom for the school in Mexico. He also created a poster featuring the following famous quote, which he found on his own and at such a young age, understood the significance behind the words: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
The children continue to give and are full of wonderful ideas. They are also selling decorative ceramic plates hand painted in Puerto Vallarta to raise money and Alessandro would like to hold a black-tie dinner for kids, featuring pizza, of course.
In addition to working towards the second classroom for the school in Mexico, 2 Kids With Love is aiming to help children at a school for the blind in Havana, Cuba.
Ben couldn’t be more proud. “The wonderful thing is that this has all been done on their own! These are phenomenal kids. We want to keep things on their level while teaching them to understand the processes involved in reaching a final objective – helping children in need. This started from a place of passion and a desire to help. Something beautiful grew out of it – 2 Kids With Love.”