A new nonprofit organization out of Spanish Fork is aiming to help children with cancer in a unique way: By empowering youth to turn their passions into purpose to help kids battling cancer.
Nick Thiele of Youth-Led Charities has long had a desire to help children from all walks of life see how special they are. He said that the idea to begin a charity platform that aims to have children help children began when he wanted to give his own kids an opportunity to see the potential they have to do good in the world.
Youth-Led Charities, Thiele said, is simply asking for children to share their own talents to bring awareness to childhood cancer.
“The reason I started this nonprofit is because I was looking for a way to help my own kids realize how special they are, and how much potential they have to make the world a better place.,” Thiele said. “All kids have passions and talents, and sometimes they don’t recognize how valuable they are as individuals. I want to show these kids that their talents are enough to make an impact on the lives of kids battling cancer.. At the end of the day, it’s about all the kids. I care as much about the youth that are giving of themselves to try to make the world a better place.”
14-year-old Ryker Truong of Springville submitted an art painting of a sunset over the ocean to YLC after losing a loved one to cancer.
“I have been painting for three years, and I enjoy the freedom of creating my own ideas and putting them on canvas,” he said. “Submitting a piece of art to this organization means a lot to me. A few months ago, I lost a very special teacher to breast cancer. She helped me so much with math, and never gave up on me. When I painted this piece, I wanted young kids fighting cancer to know to never give up and that there is always hope for a new day.”
Thiele said that the goal of the nonprofit is not to add anything more that kids or parents have to do, but to utilize what kids are already doing.
“If there is a kindergartener or a high schooler that is passionate about making music or art, I want them to just share it with us,” Thiele said. “It’s an incredible way to see the light go off in these kids when they say, ‘Oh wow! I’m making a difference by just being me!’ They don’t have to go knock on doors selling popcorn or raffle tickets – or doing things that don’t define them. Sometimes sewing or building with LEGOs is their thing, and when they see that they can change people’s lives by being themselves. That’s where my passion is.
“A lot of kids these days are struggling with depression and anxiety, and I think it all plays into this,” he said. “If kids can see that what they do and who they are is enough to contribute to the world, then I think this will help with some of that.”
The nonprofit is barely off the ground, but Thiele has created a website and is working on a publication that features the submissions. He is also working with and looking for sponsors for the project.
“What we’re working on right now is our first publication and we hope to show the community what these amazing kids are doing with their passions to help others. And while money is great, and we do want to raise money, that’s only half of what we do. The other half is helping kids know that they can make a difference.”
Thiele said that if parents want to get their kids involved, the easiest thing is to go to the website.
“We need people to understand that this doesn’t require a lot of commitment. Parents just need to go to our website and register their kids to submit something. That would be more than enough for us.”
For more information, go to youthledcharities.org or the Facebook page “Youth-Led Charities.”