At 9 years old, Kyle Caulkins has found his calling in life.
Nearly every day, the fourth grader stops by his principal’s office at Oswegatchie Elementary School with a new idea for a fundraiser to help people. He’s even gone as far as proposing to form his own foundation, but settled on creating the “Change the World” club at school instead.
“Almost every day, he comes up with a new idea to help someone,” Oswegatchie Principal Nancy Macione said. “I said, and I think his mother has said the same, that he’s found his purpose in life.”
Some of his ideas have been more than just thoughts. Earlier this school year, he organized a play day where all the students were given extra gym time on a Friday afternoon to encourage exercise, and this evening he’ll be selling ornaments at the one-stop shopping event at Oswegatchie School. All money from the ornaments will go to Waterford Youth Service’s holiday adopt-a-family program, where residents buy needy local children gifts and meals for Christmas.
“I figured I would get two things out of this,” Caulkins said. “I would get myself happy and I would get the kids happy too.”
The one-stop holiday shopping event tonight at Oswegatchie school, an annual event, runs from 5 to 8 and features a long list of venders. The venders each paid for a spot at the event, with the money going to the Oswegatchie PTO.
After Superstorm Sandy, Caulkins was shook by the devastation it caused. The next time he saw Macione, he asked her why Oswegatchie school did a fundraiser for victims of the tsunami in Japan, but was not doing anything to help the local community following Sandy.
Macione said it would be a good idea to do something, and then Caulkins began to brainstorm. He decided on selling ornaments at the one-stop shopping event tonight, although he was worried it was now too late after Sandy and decided to donate it to Waterford Youth Services instead.
“I’m a boy scout and I really like to get out in my community and help out people in need,” Caulkins said. “So I’m glad it is staying local.”
Oswegatchie students drew designs that were later attached to the ornaments and Caulkins' mother made some herself as well. Wednesday night though, Caulkins did have one disagreement with his mother, with another sliver of his empathy showing through. He was worried some people wouldn't be able to afford the $3 price tag for the ornaments and hoped for a $2 price tag instead (at least check, he wound up losing).
Even after the ornament sale tonight, Caulkins said he will remain dedicated to finding the next way he can help the community. When asked why he loves doing so much for others, he said because he gets joy from other people’s joy.
“I really like to see people happy and it makes me really happy,” Caulkins said.