Who are the coolest kids in NYC?! The C.O.O.L Kids, of course! Founder Genisha Wallace, had a dream to equip the next generation to become to change they want to see. Through this vision she and her team are serving our generation, the millennial generation, by holding us accountable to teach, serve and lead. Meet C.O.O.L Kids!
Location: New York, NY
Mission: Creating Our Own Legacy, C.O.O.L KIDS, is a 501(c) 3 non-profit youth based organization committed to cultivating the next generation of socially conscious, service minded leaders through volunteerism, community collaboration, and leadership development.
Why was this organization started?
C.O.O.L. Kids was started when young leaders recognized the void for youth in the community to give back. Young people who were once leaders on college campuses were searching for a meaningful way to give back to the communities in which they were raised. It was important that this method of giving be sustainable and raises social consciousness. While WE understand the importance of service in the community, we believe that this value should be instilled within today’s youth.
This birthed the concept of a youth – based organization committed to cultivating the next generation of socially conscious, service-minded leaders through volunteerism, community collaboration, and leadership development. By offering a continuum of engaging service opportunities for children, adolescents, and young adults, C.O.O.L Kids makes caring “cool” and leadership sustainable.
Simply put, if not them, then who? If they do not take ownership into their own hands, everybody’s future is at risk. We must teach our youth to be their brother’s keeper and be their own agents of change.
What was one programmatic highlight for C.O.O.L. Kids in the past year?
C.O.O.L. Kids hosts an annual Holiday Party where approximately 150 children ages 4-14 enjoy a day of entertainment and fun that includes hot lunch, activities, carnival games, free books, and a present of their choice from the organization’s gift shop, “Toyland.”
To instill the spirit of giving in C.O.O.L Kids participants, the youth who attended the holiday party created cards and gifts for children in local hospitals and for families affected by Hurricane Sandy. “The premise is that if the children see us giving back they will want to do it too!” said Genisha Wallace, founder of C.O.O.L Kids. The children leave with a desire to be C.O.O.L KIDS themselves. Our hope is that we begin to sow seeds of philanthropy in children in often under-served communities. The holiday party is currently sponsored by grassroots fundraising efforts organized by young professionals.
Why is social consciousness and leadership important traits for us to instill in today’s youth?
One of the key components of our organization is “legacy”. We are deeply devoted to instilling in the next generation socially conscious and leadership traits. It is important that youth are protective over their communities and maintains a mentality of stewardship and vigilance in order to protect, maintain, and improve. Simply put, if not them, then who? If they do not take ownership into their own hands, everybody’s future is at risk. We must teach our youth to be their brother’s keeper and be their own agents of change.
If time and money weren’t an issue, what direction would you like to see Creating Our Own Legacy (C.O.O.L KIDS) head in?
Without time or money as a constraint, C.O.O.L KIDS would mobilize more youth and young adults to serve. We would launch services campaigns and competitions to fund the brilliant ideas heard in passing from our very own youth and young adults. The power to transform communities lies within the resources available to the community members to be their own agents of change. We could hire top grant writers to teach grant writing to people in community-based organizations with big ideas and small budgets. Additionally, young people could be equipped with the resources to document their experience in their communities through video and photography. We could also engage in outcome teams to survey young adults in NYC and determine their barriers to being involved in their community. That information would propel future campaigns.
When you are actually being the change you want to see, nothing will stand in your way! Hats off to the C.O.O.L Kids! We are glad to call you friends!
Keep up with the C.O.O.L Kids!
Facebook: C.O.O.L. Kids NY – https://www.facebook.com/pages/COOL-Kids-NY/167644563262673