Future Humanitarian in the Making

Jul 16, 2019

Meet a teenager who works to better the lives of people with cerebral palsy.

Allow us to introduce you to Hayes, a high school freshman. Hayes has been inspired to fundraise to support people with cerebral palsy since he was a child.

His desire to donate all started with a book called Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. Out of My Mind is about Melody, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, who is able to get around using a wheelchair and a communication device such as Medi-Talker1.

Medi-Talker is a fictional computer that allows individuals to communicate and express their thoughts. The Medi-Talker changed Melody’s life because it allowed her to talk to people. People around her quickly realize that Melody is a very smart girl.

Hayes wanted to help create a life without limits for individuals with cerebral palsy. He began his journey by researching non-profit organizations that supported people with cerebral palsy and discovered United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). UCP works with individuals with a wide range of disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, intellectual disability and more.

“In fifth grade, I began to ask for donations to UCP instead of gifts for Christmas and my birthday. This was because I had everything that I needed, but not everyone was as lucky or fortunate,” said Hayes.

Since the fifth grade, Hayes has raised $9,000 for UCP. In February 2019, Hayes set a goal to raise $5,000 for UCP of Sacramento and Northern California. As of June 2019, he has raised $4,100 for UCP of Sacramento and Northern California!

More than 54 percent of UCP Sacramento clients are considered low- or no-income. Because of UCP Sacramento, clients of all ages, and all income levels, have the opportunity to learn new skills. Many of our clients feel more connected to community, have increased confidence and experience more independence because of UCP Sacramento programs and services.

“Being able to [support] someone [with cerebral palsy] is a very fulfilling thing. I like being in a position where I can help others,” said Hayes.

Dominic, a fellow student, has cerebral palsy and is glad to see Hayes making an impact on the world for people like himself.

“When I was much younger, one of the first books my mom ever read to me was Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I remember her and my sisters crying when they found out Melody, the lead character, was so smart, but had no way of expressing it and everyone thought she was stupid. I suspect that many people with disabilities and challenges face similar attitudes and fight similar battles” said Dominic.

On May 20, 2019, Doug Bergman, CEO and Steve Horton, Director of Development and Marketing, from UCP Sacramento visited their school to celebrate Hayes and Dominic during the morning assembly.

“We appreciate the great work Hayes has done and honor him for his work, generosity and support with UCP’s Youth Inspiration Award” said Doug Bergman. Hayes is the first ever recipient of UCP’s Youth Inspiration Award. He was also gifted a framed Out of My Mind poster signed by Sharon Draper.

“I am proud to call Hayes my friend. I know many people who have read and been inspired by Draper’s book, but not anyone else who felt such a deep sense of empathy that inspired them to talk the initiative to do something positive, with real benefits, in their community. This is where Hayes stands out. His ability to empathize with someone who is disabled, and his commitment to helping people with cerebral palsy is terrific and inspiring to me. I hope, as he continues his life journey, he keeps on helping others like this. This world needs more people like him! Congratulations Hayes!” said Dominic.

Pictured left to right: Steve, Dominic, Hayes, Doug

“For almost seven decades, UCP has made everyone feel included no matter what their circumstances are. This is such a heartwarming thing. With all the selfishness and hatred in the world, it’s awesome to know that there are good people and organizations that stand for the right causes,” said Hayes.

Considering his young age, Hayes has contributed a lot to the community. We can’t wait to see how Hayes will continue to impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities like Dominic. Hayes is a future humanitarian in the making.

If you have been inspired to support Hayes’ goal to raise $5,000 for UCP Sacramento, please visit Hayes’ fundraising page. You’re doing something amazing!

It is through the help and generosity of people like you that we are able to provide vital programs and services that improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

1 Medi-Talker is a fictional communication device that only appears in Out of my Mind. To learn about real communication devices for your loved ones, we suggest researching Go-Talk.

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