Header banner

Meet Katali­na: A KYC Superhero

Nine-year-old Katali­na knew when the pan­dem­ic hit, she want­ed to do some­thing to sup­port oth­ers. She brain­stormed with her mom, Lind­say, and decid­ed she specif­i­cal­ly want­ed to do some­thing for old­er adults who might be feel­ing lone­ly dur­ing iso­la­tion. I didn’t want them to feel sad!” shared Katalina.

Her imag­i­na­tion quick­ly took over. Katali­na has spent weeks col­lect­ing shoe box­es from neigh­bors and friends, hand dec­o­rat­ing each box with paint, draw­ings, con­struc­tion paper, stickers…anything she could find to trans­form each con­tain­er into a per­son­al­ized trea­sure chest. Katalina’s Crates quick­ly took off after her mom Lind­say shared her daughter’s idea online, with dona­tions of per­son­al care items, games, and knick-knacks pour­ing in from friends and fam­i­ly want­i­ng to sup­port Katalina’s kind idea. (She was even fea­tured on Windy City LIVE!)

103587739 2630370787231829 1141257761295924097 n

Stuffed with love and per­son­al art cre­ations, Katali­na brought more than 20 box­es to KYC for our old­er adults receiv­ing Home Deliv­ered Meals. She also includ­ed a self-addressed stamped enve­lope with each box, invit­ing recip­i­ents to become her pen pal – just anoth­er way she could pre­vent seniors from feel­ing alone.

With many camps closed and usu­al activ­i­ties with friends made more dif­fi­cult with COVID-19 social-dis­tance require­ments, KYC’s direc­tor of devel­op­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Kate Gar­barek, asked Katali­na what she planned to do with her sum­mer. With­out skip­ping a beat, Katali­na point­ed to the box­es she made and answered in a word: This!”

Since the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic, Katali­na has made dozens of care pack­ages for both KYC and Hanover Town­ship in the hopes that old­er adults through­out the com­mu­ni­ty feel the sin­cere and deep care from a very spe­cial 8‑year-old. Katali­na also helped fundraise for KYC’s most suc­cess­ful fundrais­er in our his­to­ry, the Hus­tle for Health, which this year went vir­tu­al to keep par­tic­i­pants safe.

104111364 2668980050058062 3766703404785170047 n

Katalina and Michelle Johns, KYC's Home Delivered Meals Team Lead, pose with the Meals on Wheels truck that delivers approximately 600 meals three times a week during COVID-19. The Home Delivered Meals Program depends on dedicated volunteers who spend an hour at lunch-time delivering to home-bound seniors.

We are incred­i­bly proud and hon­ored that Katali­na would show this kind­ness to our old­er adults” said Gar­barek. She packed each box with love and has expect­ed noth­ing in return – she just want­ed to pre­vent any­one from feel­ing alone dur­ing these incred­i­bly dif­fi­cult times.”

Katalina’s mom Lind­say shared, Every day, Kat gets up and imme­di­ate­ly gets to work on her crates. She’s so pas­sion­ate about help­ing senior cit­i­zens and we’re so proud that she’s found this unique way to show she cares about peo­ple she’s nev­er met.”

Thank you, Katali­na and Lind­say, for being KYC Super­heroes. We’re proud and grate­ful for your part­ner­ship with KYC!

To fol­low in Katali­na’s foot­steps and sup­port KYC’s Old­er Adult Ser­vices, you can make a gift below.


Previous Article Next Article
Get in Touch
You're Not Alone

5.7 million
Amer­i­cans expe­ri­ence a men­tal health dis­or­der in a giv­en year.

Get Involved

How You Can Help

Quote of the Week

Nev­er give in and nev­er give up.

—Hubert H. Humphrey

Keep up to date with KYC!

Get the latest Kenneth Young Center news and insights emailed to you each month. Just complete the form below to subscribe.