She wanted a way to preserve children’s dignity so they could put their most valuable possessions somewhere better than a trash bag.
In July 2016, junior Keleigh Axelrod founded Impacktive, a service program that provides duffel bags to foster kids across the state.
“Our mission is to impact the lives of foster children by restoring their dignity and self-worth, and our goal is to ensure that every foster child has more than a trash bag or pillowcase to hold their belongings,” Axelrod said.
She started Impacktive at 15, the summer before her sophomore year, and since then it has grown into a fully-functioning 501c3 non-profit organization.
“When I was 9 months old, I was removed from an unhealthy situation and my only belongings came in a plastic bag,” Axelrod said. “The sad part is that foster children who are old enough to know what is going on are given a trash bag to carry their only belongings from house to house. This is ridiculously saddening and Impacktive’s job is to make sure they have a sturdy duffle bag to hold their possessions in so they feel respected and dignified in even a small way.”
Impacktive distributes the duffle bags to Child Protective Services (CPS) and other child advocacy groups. The agencies hand the bags directly to foster children when they are removed from their home.
Axelrod’s favorite part of the organization is being able to make a difference in the lives of so many foster children every day. Impacktive has already donated duffle bags to more than 1,000 foster children throughout Texas.
“It is extremely humbling to receive a letter from one of the kids we can help. It always makes me cry,” Axelrod said.
$10 provides one child with a duffel bag, however $25 provides three children with duffel bags.
Donations can be made via www.impacktive.com or by contacting Axelrod through her school email.