Leanne Joyce, 14, of Chapel Hill, N.C., an eighth-grader at Grey Culbreth Middle School, started a nonprofit that has brightened the lives of sick children and teens in 18 pediatric hospitals across 15 states by raising money for gifts including iPads, gift cards, movies and video games. Born with a congenital heart condition, Leanne was in the hospital awaiting test results when a volunteer offered her a gift from a cart of toys. “I immediately knew that I wanted to give to other hospitalized children,” said Leanne. “It is very scary for children to be in an unfamiliar environment where they have no control over their bodies, hospital routines and treatment.” In late 2011, Leanne formed her nonprofit organization, “Positive Impact for Kids,” and got to work. She set up a website, developed a presentation to solicit donations, appealed to businesses for raffle items, spoke in front of local clubs, applied for grants, gave interviews to news media, and brainstormed ways to raise money. After researching hospitals, she speaks to a child life specialist at each facility to find out what items would be most appreciated. She found that iPads are particularly useful since they are used to educate young patients about upcoming treatments and to distract and entertain them. So far, Leanne has raised $22,000 to fund her nonprofit. “I plan to continue my nonprofit throughout my life,” said Leanne. “I love the work I do and the personal benefits that come with helping others.”
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My name is Leanne Joyce and I am 21-years-old. In September 2011, I was at Duke Children’s Hospital waiting for test results for my congenital heart problem. That experience led me to want to give back.