Amelia, a high school senior on the Upper East Side in New York City, embarked on a remarkable journey of philanthropy with her brainchild, Smarts4Heart. This innovative initiative not only showcases her entrepreneurial spirit but also contributes to a cause she is deeply passionate about: supporting the families of kids battling pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses who stay at Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY). Let’s take a deep dive into Amelia's inspiring story and the incredible work she's doing with Smarts4Hearts.
Amelia's Vision Takes Shape
Amelia's journey began in July 2023 when she first envisioned Smarts4Heart, a platform that beautifully merges her tutoring experience and her mission to raise funds for RMH-NY.
First, she decided to create a network of high school students who could offer tutoring and babysitting services to families across New York City. This endeavor not only serves as a job opportunity for high schoolers but also provides affordable, experienced caregivers for families with children ranging from preschool to middle school in age.
A Win-Win Situation
The essence of Smarts4Heart lies in creating a win-win situation for both high school students seeking job opportunities and families in need of reliable, affordable tutoring and/or babysitting services. High school students looking for part-time work are matched with families based on their skills, experience, location, and availability. Families, on the other hand, can access quality care and tutoring for their children without the steep costs often associated with such services in the city.
A Rapidly Growing Community
Since its inception, Smarts4Heart has witnessed exponential growth. With over 20 members and 11 ongoing families, the initiative has already raised approximately $3,000 for RMH-NY. The feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing gratitude for the assistance their children receive. Teenage members of Smarts4Heart are equally enthusiastic about the job opportunities and the personal growth they gain from their experiences.
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What NYC Parents are Saying about Smarts4Heart
"Our daughter was matched with a qualified tutor from Smarts4Heart in September, her confidence in math and reading has soared to new heights. This high school group is dedicated to helping children in our community while also raising money for Ronald McDonald House (New York) and I'm totally blown away by their dedication! This has been such a good influence on our young girl."
--Jessica C., Parent of a First Grader, and Smarts4Heart Customer
"Each one of the tutors that has been working with our son are extremely smart, caring, responsible and take pride in their positions as educators, companions, and role models."
--NYC Parent Using Smarts4Heart Services
"We are incredibly impressed with the Smarts 4 Heart service. They have been flexible with our changing schedules and are always accommodating. We recommend this service"
--NYC Parent & Smarts4Heart Customer
The Fundraising Model
One unique aspect of Smarts4Heart is its fundraising model. Families pay for services through Smarts4Heart's platform, and 50% of the payments go directly to the high school students providing the services. The other 50% is donated to Ronald McDonald House New York. This approach not only supports the House’s mission and fundraising goals but also encourages families to engage, as they feel they are contributing to a charitable endeavor by using these services.
A Smart Entrepreneur
Based on the best practices of other organizations Amelia has volunteered with while in high school, she created a referral system for Smarts4Heart. Families currently enrolled can refer other families that need similar services. Plus, there’s a $20 Starbucks Gift Card every single time a family referred retains Smarts4Hdeart’s host of services.
Amelia's vision for Smarts4Heart goes beyond the borders of New York City. As a senior in high school, she is preparing to graduate and plans to appoint junior board members who will carry forward the initiative in the city. Simultaneously, Amelia aims to set up chapters in different areas and even different states across the nation. Her ambition and dedication to making a meaningful impact on her community are truly inspiring.
RMH-NY Youth Advisory Council Involvement
Amelia's affiliation with the Youth Advisory Council at Ronald McDonald House New York is an essential part of her story. This council provides high school students with a unique opportunity to apply and get involved at the House, even before they reach the age of 18. It allows them to learn more about RMH-NY, volunteer, and engage with our families. They are also responsible for organizing one fundraiser to support the House in the spring.
RMH-NY’s Youth Advisory Council is spearheaded by Heather Floyd, the newest member of the RMH-NY Volunteers Team.
The Youth Advisory Council also tends to throw some impressive dinnertime parties for the kids and caregivers in the House. For Halloween at RMH-NY, the council put together a suite of activities for the House’s Sunday night celebration. They will replicate these efforts in December to create a holiday-infused event for the families and their entertainment.
The Future Looks Bright
With 16 high school students currently involved in the Youth Advisory Council, the program offers a pathway for young adults to get more deeply involved with RMH-NY even after they graduate and head off to college. Amelia's dedication to this initiative and her vision for Smarts4Heart align perfectly with the values of the House. As we look forward to the future, we anticipate that this partnership will continue to grow and make a significant impact on the lives of families in need.
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From the Pen of the Tutors Themselves
Here are some quotes from some of the high school students employed at Smarts4Heart:
"My experience as a Smarts4Heart member has been amazing!! From the organization of meeting times to payment dates to the training we undergo for babysitting/tutoring, it's been smooth and easy to get on board with. Plus, seeing the contributions I make to Ronald McDonald House New York each session is very rewarding. I look forward to continuing this upcoming year!"
- Elizabeth L. Senior & Smarts4Heart Tutor
"As one of Smart4Heart’s first members, I am glad that I joined such a great cause. Being able to educate young children while also having my efforts contribute to Ronald McDonald House New York excites me! I hope to continue to spread my impact through this organization."
- Dora C. Senior & Smarts4Heart Tutor
"This program provides an incredible platform for both tutors and students to engage in meaningful learning and mentorship. Smarts4Heart is a testament to the power of education and mentorship, and I am proud to be a part of it."
-Tenzing D. Senior & Smarts4Heart Babysitter/Tutor
Supporting Smarts4Heart and RMH-NY
Amelia's Smarts4Heart is more than just a business venture. It's an endeavor that embodies the spirit of giving back to the community. If you’d like to join Smarts4Heart, need a babysitter/tutor and live around the Upper East Side, and all while helping raise funds for the kids and families at Ronald McDonald House New York, you can find more information on Amelia’s Smarts4Heart Website.
Amelia's extraordinary journey is a testament to the power of philanthropy no matter your age. Her commitment to both her education and the well-being of others exemplifies the kind of young leaders we need in every community around the world.
As Smarts4Heart continues to grow and impact the lives of families in New York City, we can only imagine the incredible opportunities it will provide for both high school students and New York City families for years to come.
Thank you, Amelia, for your giving spirit and your willingness to share your gifts with Ronald McDonald House New York.