Ava Claus and Friends was the first scheduled speaker that I booked when I initiated the Samaritans365 Club at our school. I knew their most active time of giving was during the holiday season, so we scheduled them for our December meeting. Ava is a 10-year-old girl from Miami, Florida. I had a chance to interview Ava before the school club meeting.
Me: How old were you when you started and who is involved with you?
AC: I was 6 years old when I started and I am 10 now. The first year just my family helped me, but the second year my friends all wanted to help.
Me: What inspired you to start Ava Claus and Friends?
Ava: I learned the word, “donation” at school. When I got home that day I immediately got a bucket, put it outside of my house to collect money for people in need. My mom and I brainstormed better ideas. We decided on a toy drive. That first year I collected over 100 toys. Once I saw the smiles on the kids’ faces I knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life!
Me: What is your mission?
Ava: To spread joy to kids in need while making lasting friendships.
Me: How did you take it from an idea to an actual organization?
Ava: A lot of hard work, making connections, asking my parents for help, never giving up and following through.
Me: What events do you have throughout the year?
Ava: Bake sales, Halloween party to raise money, monthly arts and crafts, Special Olympics, fundraisers, birthday parties
Me: What would you like people to know about Ava Claus and Broward Children’s Center?
Ava: All the kids who participate in the Ava Claus Kids Committee love visiting Broward Children’s Center! We have made amazing friendships. We do not see these kids any differently than we see ourselves. We feel we were made to do this and we will be better adults who will always give back. Half of my heart is with my family and the other half is with BCC.
Me: How can people donate and get involved with Ava Claus and Friends?
To donate, visit www.bcckids.org and write “Ava Claus” in the comments box
Me: What is the best way to contact you?
Me: What advice do you have for other kids who want to take their ideas to the next level?
Ava: DO IT!
Don’t be afraid of hard work and obstacles-
Make a difference in the world!
Ava and her brother Gabe presented to our club. She talked about how she came up with the idea and all of the wonderful things Ava Claus and Friends does to help the children at BCC. She was very inspiring to all of us and told the students to follow their dreams and to spread kindness.
The students listened respectfully to Ava and Gabe, and also to Melissa Lane from Broward Children’s Center. She informed our club about the services they provide and even shared with us a Power Point presentation introducing us to the children. Our club members have a weekend family trip planned to visit the children at BCC. Melissa shared with us some of the things the children like to do and told us about the amazing assistive devices they use to do things like communicate and even play video games!
Ava Claus and Friends is affiliated with Broward Children’s Center. They specialize in helping infants, children, and young adults with special health care needs. Located in Pompano Beach, FL, this non-profit offers a range of health, wellness, education, recreation, therapeutic, daily living and advocacy services.
Broward Children’s Center provides a home to some of the most technologically dependent children in the country and addresses the educational, social and medical needs of both typically developing and special needs children. The needs of these children have led the Center to pioneer the development of community-based residential facilities and school programming for children who are medically fragile and/or who have developmental disabilities.
You can learn more about BCC at http://bcckids.org
Samaritans365 members believe KINDNESS MATTERS!