Everyday Heroes: Carlie's Kindness Campaign

14-year-old Amity sophomore Carlie Steele has been working hard to bring joy to people's lives since she was nine. She's the founder of Carlie's Kindness Campaign.

This week’s Everyday Hero is dedicated to kindness.

Carlie Steele, 14, is the founder of Carlie’s Kindness Campaign, and for the past five years she’s been filling her days with fundraisers, speaking engagements, and events -- all with the goal of putting a little bit more kindness into this world.

This month, she’s collecting toys and donations for a big delivery of gifts to the Portland area’s three children’s hospitals.

“A lot of my projects have focused on kids’-based organizations,” says the sophomore from Amity. “We’ve done Children’s Cancer Association, Our Military Kids, just a lot of kids in need, and now we’re benefiting Doernbecher, Shriners and Randall Children’s hospitals.”

We met with Carlie at the Newberg branch of Coldwell Banker, where she’s set up a donation box for toys. She plans to deliver them on Dec. 18.

“We can use all the help we can get,” she says. “I think the great thing about Carlie’s Kindness Campaign is we give people opportunities to do good things and inspire others, and I think it’s great that it’s not just during the giving season.”

Carlie’s not just busy thinking about other, less-fortunate people. She’s also busy with her future.

“I take three honors classes: honors English, honors biology, and honors social studies,” she explains, “and I’m also part of the business CTE program, so I’m taking college-level classes.”

How does she find the time? Her school, the online Oregon Connections Academy, helps a lot.

“Oregon Connections Academy has been very supportive of my projects,” she says. “I mean, right after this I have an appointment with my biology teacher. So, it’s great to see the kinds of things I can work into my schedule while still getting a great education.”

Taking courses on her schedule frees her up for her nonprofit’s important work.

“It gives me the flexibility to do drives like this on a Tuesday at 11 o’clock,” she smiles.

And it’s not just toys. Recently, Carlie was elected to the Oregon Association of Student Council’s board. She’s also created a campaign to stop kids from using the “R-word” (retarded) by encouraging them to find better, more-supportive R words, like “radiant” and “rad”.

“I look at Carlie and I wish I was her when I was her age,” says Heather Acker, a Coldwell Banker realtor and a supporter of Carlie’s Kindness Campaign, “because as an adult I’m really involved in my community and giving back, and I wish that I could have experienced that a lot more when I was her age.”

Carlie and Acker have teamed up to give back.

“Carlie’s amazing,” Acker gushes. “Saturday, we were out ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. That was a lot of fun. And she helped me last year as well. She’s just a great kid; she’s inspiring to youth, but she’s also inspiring to adults.”

“You know, it’s more than just donating toys or things like that,” says Carlie. “It’s about having a true passion for helping others and putting a smile on other people’s faces.”

Carlie recently got a $500 donation from McMullen Electric in Amity, and a donation of hundreds of stuffed animals from Wishpets. You can reach out to donate to Carlie's 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer, or get advice about starting your own kindness campaign at Carlie's website and Facebook page, or follow her work on Twitter and Instagram.

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