As a young girl growing up in Boise, Idaho, Hailey Carmichael had a troubled childhood. When she moved to Delaware at the age of 15, life became more difficult and she eventually landed in foster care. While her future may have seemed bleak, Hailey worked hard in school and had the good fortune to land help of the Kind to Kids Foundation, which supports kids in foster care, providing life skills, goal-setting, and educational support.
Hailey, who will graduate from Newark HS with a 3.9 GPA and attend college in the fall, was presented with the Rising Start Award at the Kind to Kids Spring Celebration Awards Breakfast on May 15th at the Hotel DuPont. U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, who attended the breakfast, praised the graduating senior for her academic achievement and her ability to overcome so many obstacles. “Hailey’s spirit, passion and persistence are truly remarkable.”
Other awardees included Coons’ mother, philanthropist and community leader Sally Gore, who received the Community Leader Award for her many years of service and devotion to vulnerable children in Delaware, and Kind to Kids mentor and roll model Richard Ashley, who received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Several other volunteer groups were commended for their efforts, including the Pettinaro sisters Cindy Wilkinson, Tracy Crowley and Vicky Martelli, who organized a community-wide toy drive over the holidays for foster youth.
Founded only six years ago, Kind to Kids Foundation has served 11,000 children in need. While President and Founder Caroline Jones is proud of her organization’s accomplishments, she thanked the award honorees for inspiring her team to do even more. “In addition to offering many basic skills and a foundation for success, we help children realize they are more than their circumstances.”
The nonprofit also provides disadvantaged children many opportunities for fun, with trips and free tickets to the Blue Rocks, Phillies, 87ers, 76ers, childrens museums, the symphony, the theater and more. It’s a cause that many in the community embrace and the reason the Gold Ballroom was filled to capacity at the award breakfast.
“You see their eyes light with hope and the understanding of the unequivocal truth that changes everything: You are worthy. You are a person of value,” said Jones.