We at Hannah's House would find it hard to carry out our mission without the help of our volunteers. In recognition of our tireless volunteers, we will feature here inspiring stories about the achievements of some of our volunteers.

Meet Brayden Pape

Brayden Pape photo

Brayden Pape

How old are you?

I am 13 years old

What motivated you to start volunteering?

I go to an IB (International Baccalaureate) school which is Albert Einstein Academies Charter Middle School. My school is big on community service. In order to graduate with a service certificate, we have to have 30 community service hours, and in order to graduate with the IB MYP Diploma, we have to do a community project. So, my school encourages us to be involved in our communities starting in elementary school. This inspired me to do something good for the society and my community.

How did you find Hannah’s House?

I found Hannah’s house on volunteermatch.org when I was in the 6th Grade.

What have you done to help kids and the programs that serve kids and families at Hannah’s House?

I am currently an Animal Care Assistant. I take care of the non-dander therapy animals in the “Turtle Room.” When kids come to the Turtle Room, I present the animals to them and teach them how to handle the animals.  When kids interact with animals, they become calm and it relieves their stress and anxiety, and also increases their confidence. It also helps them bond with family members who are with them.

What is your GoFundMe goal?

To reach $2000. I want to replace the old and worn  rugs in the visitation rooms with colorful and vibrant rugs to create a positive and healing environment.

In what ways do you  want to continue to help Hannah’s House and why?

I want to continue what I am doing right now which is to take care of the therapy animals in the Turtle Room. I want to be a Child Psychologist when I grow up and I thought this would be the best way to learn how because I help kids cope with their stress, anxiety, and their anger by teaching them how to interact with the animals.

How does your volunteer work for Hannah’s House make a social impact in the community?

When kids come in, I teach them about the therapy animals and show those kids how to interact with the animals. Then the animals help the kids relieve their anxiety, stress, and their anger, and boosts their confidence.  Then, when these kids go to school, they don’t need to be aggressive anymore or feel depressed or sad. They know how to turn the negative energy that they had for a long time into positive energy, which helps the community.

Who has supported you the most in your efforts to help the community through Hannah’s House?

My godmother, Gail Young, jump started my fundraiser. She shared my link with anyone she knew. Very quickly I ended up with $600 with her support. My parents supported me a lot because they gave me a lot of motivation and encouragement. That made me feel like I can do anything. My school supported me the most because my principal, Mr. Trakas was so supportive and was so enthusiastic about my fundraiser. He and the Dean, Mr. Diaz, the IB Coordinator, Mr. Julius, and my 8th grade teachers gave me special permission to do the bake sale in the front of the school. Also, my teachers Mr. Ray, Mr. Owen, Ms. Gullans, Ms. Lohse supported me with purchases, as well as Mr. Trakas and Mr. Diaz. Even my elementary school P.E Coach Mr. Nassif donated and even shared my GoFundMe link so I could get more donations. My current P.E Coach Mr. Vozzolo, helped me a lot. His partner, Ms. Perry, whom I have never met, donated money and sent me a really nice card that motivated and encouraged me even more.

I am so grateful for the support I got from my school. I also got a huge donation from the GoFundMe organization and a lot of encouragement from Lauren Chen at GoFundMe. Another person who was encouraging from the very beginning was Ms. Cathie Byrd from Hannah’s House. She is the Volunteer Coordinator and I felt very supported by her. I am very grateful to all of them.

What is your motto?

My motto is a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

What would you say to other teens that are trying to find a way to make a social impact?

I would say find something in your heart that you want to do and just do it. Find an organization or cause you want to support, and use your talents to support that cause, and use it for the greater good.

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