Donovan (right) and Todd at football practice

Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Scholastic Inc.


Kids Care!

Meet kids who make a difference.

Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Scholastic Inc

One night last August, 8-year-old Donovan Shaw went to a Seattle Seahawks football game in Seattle, Washington. He was with families from his youth football league.  

As Donovan sat down, something caught his attention. A teammate standing nearby was crying. Donovan was new to the team, so he didn’t know the boy well. But that didn’t stop him from helping.

Donovan reached out to the boy, Todd Allred. Todd was sad because his dad had not yet arrived at the stadium. He was also a little scared of heights, and the team’s seats were high in the stands. Donovan comforted Todd until his dad got there. 

“I told him everything was going to be all right,” Donovan says. 

Todd soon felt much better. “I didn’t feel so alone,” he says.

In August, 8-year-old Donovan Shaw went to a Seattle Seahawks football game in Washington. He was with families from his youth football league. 

But something caught Donovan’s attention. A teammate standing nearby was crying. Donovan was new to the team, so he didn’t know the boy well. But he helped anyway.

Donovan reached out to the boy, Todd Allred. Todd was sad because his dad had not yet arrived at the stadium. He was also scared of heights, and the team’s seats were high in the stands. Donovan comforted Todd until his dad got there.

“I told him everything was going to be all right,” Donovan says.

Todd soon felt much better. “I didn’t feel so alone,” he says.

Caring to Act

Donovan’s kind actions made the news. People began talking about the empathy he had shown. That means he thought about how Todd was feeling and imagined himself in Todd’s shoes. Then he took action to help.

Experts say that empathy helps people get along—and makes the world a more caring place. People show empathy in many ways, like offering a warm smile or helping someone in need. 

Donovan says showing empathy isn’t hard. “It’s easy to be kind,” he says.

Donovan’s kind actions made the news. People began talking about the empathy he had shown. That means he thought about how Todd was feeling. He imagined himself in Todd’s shoes. Then he took action to help.

Experts say that empathy helps people get along—and makes the world a more caring place. People show empathy in many ways. 

Donovan says showing empathy isn’t hard. “It’s easy to be kind,” he says.

Here are five more stories that show how kids can help people in need.

Courtesy of Cortney Dargaj

Giovani with other members of the sewing club 

Giovani Dargaj (dahr-JAY) and his family often volunteer at a shelter for homeless people. On one recent visit, the 10-year-old from Shaker Heights, Ohio, noticed something.

“The beds did not have pillows,” Giovani says. “It didn’t look comfortable.”

Giovani made it his goal to sew and stuff 200 pillows—enough for the whole shelter. He started sewing by hand. Then a community member donated a sewing machine. It made the process faster.

Giovani even started a sewing club at school so that others could help. They have made 40 pillows so far. Giovani hopes to deliver all 200 by the end of this school year!

Giovani Dargaj (dahr-JAY) and his family volunteer at a shelter for homeless people. On one visit, the 10-year-old from Ohio noticed something.

“The beds did not have pillows,” Giovani says. “It didn’t look comfortable.”

Giovani decided to sew and stuff 200 pillows. That would be enough for the whole shelter. He started sewing by hand. Then a community member donated a sewing machine. It made the process faster.

Giovani started a sewing club at school so that others could help. They have made 40 pillows so far. Giovani hopes to deliver all 200 by June!

Photo courtesy of The New Jersey Herald/Daniel Freel

Haeleigh with stuffed animals she collected

Haeleigh Lestz of Newton, New Jersey, knows it’s no fun to be sick. When she was younger, she once had to stay in the hospital for a whole week. She was bored and a little scared.

Recently, the fourth- grader thought of a way to help sick kids feel better. She collected stuffed animals for them!

Haeleigh made flyers to tell people about her project. Her mom helped her post information about it on social media.

In six weeks, Haeleigh collected 300 brand-new plush toys. She donated them to a Ronald McDonald House. That’s a place where sick children and their families can stay when they’re getting medical care far from home.

Haeleigh says it felt great to help other kids. “I felt like my heart would burst,” she says. 

Haeleigh Lestz of New Jersey knows it’s no fun to be sick. She once had to stay in the hospital for a whole week. She was bored and a little scared.

Recently, the fourth-grader thought of a way to help sick kids feel better. She collected stuffed animals for them!

Haeleigh made flyers to tell people about her project. Her mom helped her put information about it on social media.

In six weeks, Haeleigh collected 300 new fuzzy toys. She donated them to a Ronald McDonald House. That’s a place where sick children can stay when they’re getting medical care far from home.

Haeleigh says it felt great to help other kids. “I felt like my heart would burst,” she says.

Courtesy of Carolyn T. Carrington

Jayden (right) helps Fernando with schoolwork.

Two years ago, a new kid arrived at Norview Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. Fernando Rodriguez had moved to the U.S. from Panama, a country in Central America. His classmates, including Jayden Yancey, didn’t want Fernando to feel like an outsider. 

“We wanted him to feel like he belonged,” Jayden says.

So Jayden and the other kids showed Fernando around and helped him in class. Jayden also taught Fernando some English—while Fernando taught him some Spanish! The boys have been good friends ever since.  

“He is always very nice to me,” Fernando says.

Two years ago, a new kid arrived at Norview Elementary School in Virginia. Fernando Rodriguez had moved to the U.S. from Panama. That’s a country in Central America. His classmates, including Jayden Yancey, didn’t want Fernando to feel like an outsider. 

“We wanted him to feel like he belonged,” Jayden says.

So Jayden showed Fernando around. He helped him in class. He also taught Fernando some English—while Fernando taught him some Spanish! The boys have been good friends ever since.  

“He is always very nice to me,” Fernando says.

StockPhoto/Getty Images

1. What do the six kids featured in the article all have in common?

2. Explain what Haeleigh Lestz means when she says “I felt like my heart would burst.” Include evidence from the article.

3. According to the sidebar “A Kindness Workout,” what are some steps kids can take to practice empathy?

1. What do the six kids featured in the article all have in common?

2. Explain what Haeleigh Lestz means when she says “I felt like my heart would burst.” Include evidence from the article.

3. According to the sidebar “A Kindness Workout,” what are some steps kids can take to practice empathy?

Close-Reading Questions

Click the Google Quiz button below to share these Close-Reading Questions with your class.

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