They learned about Ukraine’s at-risk children and asked: How can we help kids in need here?

Emily Rivera

Children for Children, a nonprofit co-founded by two Gulliver Prep students, has big plans for 2020.

The organization, co-founded in 2018 by Jessica Medwin and Kylie O’Day, juniors at the school who have known each other since they were 6 months old, now has chapters in four other private schools in Miami-Dade: Belen Jesuit, Carrollton, Christopher Columbus and Westminster Christian.

Jessica got the idea to start the club after seeing a presentation about Tikva, a children’s home in Odessa, Ukraine. Rabbi Shlomo Baksht founded Tikva in the 1990s after seeing Jewish children in Odessa living on the streets or living in squalid conditions in state orphanages.

The presentation, held at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest, inspired Jessica to create Children for Children with Kylie. Locally, they have partnered with other nonprofits that work with at-risk children, such as His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens, a home for foster children, to raise cultural awareness between the students and His House children. They also raise funds for them, and still work with Tikva

The organization, which has grown to more than 100 students, holds car washes and 5K races as fund-raisers. The second 5K will be Sunday morning, Jan. 26, at Coral Reef Park.

Children for Children was initially meant to be a school club at Gulliver, but students are not allowed to fund-raise within the school.

After a discussion with Gulliver’s activities director, along with their parents, Jessica and Kylie decided to become a nonprofit.

The Children for Children logo shows three pairs of hands of varying skin tones, cracking eggs over a world map. The logo’s tag line: “It’s The Inside That Counts.”

“We work to foster all these different religions and cultures and bring everyone together despite their different backgrounds like their genders, orientations, anything,” said Jessica Medwin.

Earlier this month, Children for Children hosted a two-day workshop with The Share Foundation, a nonprofit that works with children, at Zoo Miami. Their overnight event brought together His House residents and Children for Children members, along with chaperones, to talk about respect and kindness.

“What makes Children for Children so unique is that it is directed toward such a specific cause. We want to make sure that these children can have the opportunity to be raised the way we were,” said Gabriela Ramirez de Arellano, a junior at Carrollton who volunteers with the group. She’s a longtime friend of co-founder Kylie.

Children for Children hopes to expand to public high schools and continue to promote their mission of cultural tolerance. If you’re interested in signing up for the 5K, joining the organization or donating to it, visit childrenforchildren.net

If you go

What: Children for Children Second Annual 5K

When: 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Jan. 26

Where: Coral Reef Park, 7895 SW 152nd St., Palmetto Bay

Cost: $20

To register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/children-for-children-2nd-annual-5k-tickets-84751515063