Kenan Pala has always wanted to help. Growing up in San Diego, he would eagerly donate his time to soup kitchens and beach cleanups — but was surprised to find himself shut out of a number of causes he wanted to support. “There are a lot of nonprofits doing great things in San Diego, but many don’t allow kids under the age of 18 to volunteer,” says Pala.
So in 2017, determined to make sure that any kid who wanted to volunteer could volunteer, he founded the nonprofit organization Kids4Community. “All our events are open to anybody of any age,” says Pala. “If you have the passion, you can come.”
Through corporate donations, grants, and charitable events, Pala has raised $1 million to benefit local homelessness causes, while also engaging kids to help out with 5K runs, dinner services, and backpack drives. And when Pala eventually enrolls in college, he hopes to enlist the help of one more youngster — his 10-year-old brother, Arden.
“I would like to hand off the organization to my brother, who is also very passionate about volunteering,” he says. “When I graduate high school, he’ll be a little older than I was when I started.”