Grace McGuire is a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was determined to help her community – those affected locally as well as globally by the crisis. An avid seamstress, she used her talent to sew masks for friends and family in exchange for donations to Kakenya’s Dream.
What inspired you to start your fundraiser?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I started to make free masks for friends, family, and members of my local community as a way to help. Seeing how the masks were benefiting the community, many people started giving me donations, which I decided to use to help girls globally.
Why does our mission matter to you?
I know how lucky I am to be healthy and have access to education and endless opportunity. I have been a teen leader with the organization Girl Up, which raises awareness and advocates for the rights and well-being of adolescent girls worldwide. From my work with Girl Up, I know how important education is to the future of all girls and how culture, tradition, and gender bias can block their access and limit their futures. I am inspired by Kakenya’s Dream and its work to help marginalized girls in Kenya realize their dreams and potential through education.
Do you have an anecdote about Kakenya’s Dream that really moved you?
I have been very lucky to know Kakenya since she spoke to my second grade class, so from a very young age, I have been motivated and inspired by her story. I also had the opportunity in 2019 to meet four of Kakenya’s Dream’s students who were visiting the United States to participate in a Model UN conference in New York. I found we had so much in common, including our dreams for our futures.
What advice would you offer to others who want to start a fundraiser for Kakenya’s Dream?
Raising funds for Kakenya’s Dream is infectious and easy. When people hear about the story of Kakenya and her amazing students, they want to get involved. This has been one of the most meaningful and enjoyable ways I have spent time during the pandemic.
Anything else you would like to share with the Kakenya’s Dream community?
Kakenya is a real rockstar. My second grade teacher has never forgotten when she visited our classroom and as a result, makes a contribution to Kakenya’s Dream each year. She also asked that all gifts in her name be dedicated to Kakenya’s Dream when she retired. It is very cool to be part of Kakenya’s Dream’s work and mission in my own small way.
To learn more about how to create a peer-to-peer fundraiser for Kakenya’s Dream, click here.