While most 7-year-olds have been thinking about how COVID-19 impacts their own lives, Olivia Tyler’s first reaction was to think of others.
She was watching the news with her parents one day when she saw that face masks would be required throughout Chicago, Illinois, where she lives. Immediately, she began wondering how the thousands of people experiencing homelessness there would manage.
“She turned to me and asked, ‘How are homeless people going to get masks? How are they going to afford them?'” her mom, Linda Tyler, told GMA.
So Olivia and her mom decided to start a small fundraiser by purchasing masks in bulk and selling them to members of their church for $5 each. Every time they sold one, Olivia would donate a mask to someone living on the street.
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The second-grader insisted on delivering the masks herself, handing them out and asking people to wear them to protect themselves and those around them.
“She is a stickler about doing it herself,” said her father, Andrew Tyler. “She wants to be on the street or in that parking lot, giving them out personally.”
Olivia’s initiative quickly began to pay off! With help from her parents, neighbors, and other community members, the little girl started making her own masks using designs she came up with herself. She also launched a nonprofit called Olivia Dru Cares to raise awareness and funds for the project.
So far, Olivia has given away more than 800 masks to the residents of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. She has also ventured into tent cities and encampments to personally distribute donations, and she vows not to quit until everyone has access to face coverings.
“It makes me feel happy to give people something that protects them from getting sick,” Olivia said.
Philanthropy is such an important yet rare practice for a child this young. The fact that her first concern was for people who are frequently marginalized and forgotten is a true testament to her kind, loving nature!
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