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#UCPSGivesBack: Student-led Extraordinary Eight nonprofit spreads kindness throughout the Charlotte community

UCPSGivesBack Rea View Elementary fourth grader Hayden Fox was sitting on her couch reading a Babysitters Club book when a lightbulb went off in her head: she wanted to create a club.

But not any kind of club, Hayden thought. The organization that she envisioned would primarily focus on giving back to others and spreading random acts of kindness.

“I talked to my mom about it, and then I started trying to plan it myself,” she said. “I asked my friends if they wanted to start a club with me to spread random acts of kindness and help charities, and they said yes.”

And that was the moment the Extraordinary Eight was born.

A cheeky nod to the number of founding members, which included Hayden and her seven best friends, the Extraordinary Eight is on a mission to serve the Charlotte community and various charities through fundraising and random acts of kindness.

Less than two months have passed since Hayden and her friends started their nonprofit, but they’ve been hard at work over the weeks. They’ve created a parent-run Instagram account to spread the word, assembled a Board of Directors, developed a mission statement and more.

They’re also in the middle of their first charitable drive, Steve’s Coats for Kids. A staple in the Charlotte community every holiday season, Steve’s Coats for Kids collects new or gently used coats in child and adult sizes for families in need this winter.

The Extraordinary Eight has already collected more than 100 coats locally and hope to meet their goal of 200 coats by the beginning of December. More charitable drives are coming soon, said Kingsley Melillo, including a collection drive for the Children’s Attention Home giving tree.

After spending just a few minutes with the members of the Extraordinary Eight, it’s clear to see they’re best friends. They burst into a fit of giggles at a moment’s notice, smile nonstop and genuinely enjoy holding meetings for their club.

They each have their own personalities and opinions that they bring to the table, but the one thing that they all share is a strong passion for giving back in their community. They talk about their organization as if it’s a privilege to be a part of and they are excited to see how it continues to develop in the future.

One thing that they want to make sure everyone knows is that you don’t have to be an adult to make a big impact in someone’s lives.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t have as much as we may, so I really wanted to help them out,” Brianna Parfitt said. “Finally, we have a chance to help.”

Want to learn more about the Extraordinary Eight and their projects?

The members, pictured above in order from left to right, are: Alex Javiar (treasurer), Miller Webster (Alternating Officer), Payton Swindells (Co-Vice President), Hayden Fox (President), Brianna Parfitt (Co-Vice President), Kingsley Melillo (Alternating Officer), Kylee Chase (Co-Secretary) and Sloan Searight (Co-Secretary).

Check out their parent-run Instagram account @extraordinary_eight_2019, email or check out the photo gallery below:

Extraordinary Eight

Posted: Nov. 26, 2019