PHOENIX — A Valley teen decided to donate toward helping kids in underserved communities rather than spend all the money she received during her Quinceañera on herself.
Jewelyssa Yanes, 15, knew of the Assistance League of Phoenix through a family connection. After receiving money last October for her Quinceañera, Jewelyssa decided to donate to the non-profit, which works to connect kids in underserved communities with clothes for school.
"I feel like it was more important to donate to this charity because donating to them is just way better than buying myself clothes or saving up for a car," Yanes said.
Using the Delivering Dreams Bus, the Assistance League of Phoenix helps children of low-income families gain access to clothes. The $960 donated by Yanes can help dress 12 children.
"I feel like it's important to have the uniforms and the socks and the clothing and the shoes, just to look presentable," Yanes said.
The CEO of Assistance League of Phoenix, who knew Yanes prior to the gift, told ABC15 she was shocked by the high-dollar donation coming from the teen.
"When I got the phone call after the Quinceañera on how much she was donating, I thought maybe $80 to dress one child," said Aimee Runyon with Assistance League of Phoenix. "At first she said, 'wait a minute, how much is it to dress ten children?' I gave her the amount. She said no, 'I want to dress twelve children. I literally about fell off my chair."
Runyon told ABC15 some of the kids helped through their Operation School Bell program are in such tough financial shape they have their shoes duct taped together.
"What Jewelyssa did is so remarkable," Runyon said. "My hope is her generosity will inspire others."
Runyon said the organization helps provide new school wardrobes to roughly 8,500 kids every year around the Phoenix area.
Yanes is glad she can help a dozen of them with her donation.
"I just hope that they get what they need," she said. "I really hope that it will really help them."