“@OneDirection was truly incredible tonight!” tweeted Katelyn Darrow-Eystad after the band’s show at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. She loved the concert. Any teen would. Except Katelyn isn’t just any teen.
At 12 years old, the Jersey girl started the Angels of God Clothing Closet
, which collects people’s unwanted clothes and distributes them to those in need. Four years later, she’s helped clothe over 4000 families. Now, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy the Closet is donating extra clothing, toiletries, and school supplies to storm victims.
For all of Katelyn’s giving, she’s starting to receive. Katelyn won a grant at DoSomething’s Boot Camp
. At a recent event, she received $20,000 towards the Closet. She walked the red carpet with Victorious
’s Ariana Grande
. Then received four tickets to the 1D show. All that in one night? Not bad. Read on to see how this 16-year-old is doing a whole lot of good.
You were only 12 when you started Angels of God. What inspired you?
I have been inspired to start the organization because of my own experiences. In the past, help has been needed for my family on several occasions. My mother, sisters, and I banded together to survive, escape, and overcome domestic violence. During that difficult time, we also underwent a house fire which fueled our financial stress. Losing many items and clothing gave me perspective. I can relate to the many people in need who visit the clothing closet. I want to give back to others as they have done for my family in the past.
Seems like you’ve done amazing things already. Has it all been as easy as you’ve made it look?
Because of my age, founding the organization was tough. At 12 years old, having my idea taken seriously proved to be a problem. Eventually though, I persevered and gained a 501c3 nonprofit status and expanded the organization. Another challenge I had to face was funding. During the first year, I held numerous fundraisers throughout my community, from yard sales and pancake breakfasts, to lemonade stands; I worked hard to build up my organization. Funding continues to be an obstacle at times, but we still continue to help others regardless of difficulties.
You rocked at DoSomething’s Boot Camp. What’s something you learned?
I learned to share my ideas with others and accept constructive criticism. Individuals informed me about bettering myself and improving my nonprofit charity. I also learned that if you don't ask for what you want, you'll never receive it!
Help victims of Hurricane Sandy.GO