THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Meet a 13-Year Old Angel Gaining National Attention Helping the Less Fortunate • Midland Area Fundraiser Happening December 4th
Posted In: Culture, Community Profiles, From Issue 819 By: Robert E Martin
26th November, 2015 0
Within the chilling framework of hatred left in the wake of the recent Paris bombings and the polarization engendered by ideological extremism seeping into all facets of American life this holiday season, we can all learn an important lesson about the difference an individual can make improving the world by taking a close look at Caleb White.
At the age of six, Caleb White saw a man sleeping on the side of the road and knew he had to do something to help. For the past seven years, he has dedicated his life to doing exactly that by forming an incredible community outreach network called The Caleb White Project – a non-profit entity dedicated to helping those in need. And his efforts have not gone unnoticed. This year Caleb was named America’s Top Youth Volunteer by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for his work with the homeless and underprivileged; and he also - through the Caleb White Project - has created programs to give school backpacks & supplies to homeless children, job opportunities to homeless women, and better Christmases to people without a roof over their heads.
On Friday, December 4th, White will be teaming up with Midland Area Homes and State Farm agent Timothy Boychuck to help those most in need this holiday season in the Midland & Detroit areas with the 1st Annual PASTA-PALOOZA gathering, which will run from 6:00 PM – Midnight at The Midland Moose Club, 2100 Bay City Road - and feature a traditional spaghetti dinner along with musical entertainment by The Scott Hozzel Band and members of ShooBooty. The price of admission is a simple collection of household items that we take for granted, but are of immeasurable value to the destitute: items such as laundry baskets, trash bins, garbage bags, shower rings, towels, dish soap, laundry detergent, household cleaners, blankets, toilet paper, personal care items, or a financial contribution, as all items donated are also tax deductible.
Currently an 8th grader at Clifford Smart Middle School in Commerce, Michigan, Caleb is also the President of the National Junior Honor Society, plays travel soccer, and is an all-state wrestler. He also serves on the Youth Council for the Detroit Rescue Mission, carries a 4.0 GPA and hopes to go to Georgetown University someday.
“I am close friends with Caleb’s grandmother and father - Dee & Kevin DeLine - and they told me that Caleb was getting an award this year from President Obama for Youth Volunteer of the Year,” explains Pastapalooza event originator Tim Boychuck. “He was selected with ten other kids throughout the entire country and flown out to Washington to meet the President and receive their award, and I thought to myself: Wow – what is it that I personally can do to make a contribution to the community?” Boychuck immediately got interested in the Caleb White Project and usually sponsors a Toys for Tots affair each holiday season, so this year decided to approach his close friends Dee & Kevin and decided to pull together this fundraiser for the less-fortunate.
“Caleb will be bringing one of his friends also involved with the Project and they will do a presentation, followed by a pasta dinner, and then some great entertainment from area musical artists,” continues Boychuck. “Chris Pepper will do a solo acoustic performance prior to dinner, and then members of the Scott Hozzel Band and Shoobooty will be performing after dinner, so we hope people will come out to eat, learn about how they can make a difference, and have a good time in the process. The price of admission is simply bringing some basic items that the less fortunate need when moving into a house – things like cleaning supplies, or trash cans; or hey can bring cash or credit card donations.”
“50% of the funds will be distributed to our less fortunate by Midland Area Homes and then Caleb will take 50% of the proceeds back to his own area. Our long-term goal is to get Caleb and any of the kids working with him up here into the Midland School system to try and get kids within our area and region here in the Great Lakes Bay more involved.”
Seeing as Caleb became inspired enough to embark upon this ambitious endeavor at the tender age of six, what exactly compelled him to focus his energies so passionately in this direction of helping the less fortunate?
“At first when I started doing it, I saw these people without homes standing on a street corner and realized they weren’t that different from us,” reflects Caleb. “They didn’t deserve to be where they were, so I wanted to offer them help and actually give them help.”
While many people say they want to help or do certain things to improve society, many have trouble translating that talk into action. What did Caleb decide he could to personally that would bring the biggest impact?
“At first I talked to my family members about it and asked them to donate old clothes, or hand warmers, or things like that,” he explains. “And then we put these baskets of items together and simply started handing them out. I can’t really tell you how many people or baskets we’ve handed out since we started, but its been a lot.”
Given that he’s so young and also needs to focus his attention upon school, how does Caleb balance the demands of everyday life with his passion for delivering charity through The Caleb White Project? “I just make the time and claim the time, as if it is my own,” he explains. “This is almost like a sport for me – helping people out. Some kids play baseball or basketball, but my sport is helping people, so I practice it every day. Obviously, I can’t do it all alone, so I’m thankful that I’ve been able to engage my family and kids in my school and businessmen and numerous people that have reached out and read about what we’re doing and want to help.”
When asked about his experience meeting President Obama when receiving the Prudential Student Community Award this year, Caleb is enthusiastic. “I got invited to Washington, D.C. with 100 other kids and ten of them got selected to become national honorees. To be included within those top 10 was a great experience. I got to see and meet all the other kids making a difference in their communities that had some incredible stories to tell, so we could network and share ideas.”
As for what he finds personally most rewarding about his endeavors, Caleb states simply: “I would say I love the feeling of knowing that I made a difference in somebody’s life. It makes me feed good.”
Given his young age, does Caleb have any idea what he wants to do when he grows up? “I haven’t really decided yet, because I’m so young. But I can see continuing to work for the less fortunate throughout my life, as my goal is to help as many people as possible.”
Other components that have formed through his efforts with The Caleb White Project include:
• Game Night at The Shelter. When Caleb’s little brother, Noah, wanted to get involved with helping those in need, he decided to go with what he loves – playing! With the financial backing of the Project, Noah started Game Night at The Sheleter, so once a month Caleb, Noah, and their friends head down to a women and children’s shelter with pizza, pop, and board games. They enjoy a night of fun and lots of laughter and Caleb says this is probably his favorite project because he has made so many new friends.
Impacting by Backpacking. No child should have to worry about having the necessary supplies to start school, so The Caleb White Project is dedicated to making sure that children start the school year with the supplies they need. Thus far they have given out more than 1,000 backpacks filled with supplies to students in need. At their back-to-school event, children may also receive free haircuts, manicures and food.
The Homeless Project. Currently there are 20,000 homeless people in Detroit, and only enough shelter beds for about 1,900. Each winter The Caleb White Project collects items to make life a little bit easier for those forced to sleep in the cold. In December, after collecting, sorting, packing and rapping, Caleb hits the streets of Detroit to hand out care packages to the homeless. Each package is filled with hats, gloves, socks, hand warmers, food and toiletries, and careful wrapped with a hand-written note attached. Caleb says he has handed out more than 700 boxes since he was six years old.
Concludes Tim Boychuck, who perhaps best sums things up: “It amazes me that Caleb has done so much at such a young age to empower youth in his area. I knew him growing up as a little baby and he’s like 12-years old now, but I had to laugh because his grandma told me the other day he walked into the room and picked up the phone and called Washington, D.C. and said, “I’d like to speak to Senator Debbie Stabenow, and the next thing she knew it was like – Bam! – she’s right on the telephone line talking with him.”
“Caleb is a good kid to know,” smiles Boychuck. “He’s got the pull!
To find out more about The Caleb White Project please visit www.calebwhiteproject.com
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