2004 YOUTH AWARD
Children to Children
At the young age of eight, Mackenzie Snyder was saddened to learn that most of the 530,000 foster care children living in the United States have only a trash bag for their belongings when they move from home to home. She decided to do something to help bring these abused and neglected children the self-respect and caring they deserved.
She founded Children to Children, an all-volunteer program that provides foster children with duffel bags in which to carry their belongings with dignity. In every bag, she also includes a stuffed animal, luggage tag and personalized letter telling them she loves them and urging them never to give up hope.
Since its inception in 1998, Children to Children has donated more than 32,000 duffel bags and stuffed animals to U.S. foster children, and has collected more than $820,000 in merchandise and cash donations. Snyder holds duffel bag and stuffed animal drives, personally packs and distributes bags, writes and gives motivational speeches, keeps record books, does interviews and meets with social workers—all in her spare time. Because of its success, Children to Children is in the process of branching out to Canada and Indonesia, with other international locations to follow. Snyder has been featured in Newsweek and was chosen as “Person of the Week” by ABC News in December 2003.
Photo courtesy of NBC News.