Emily Kustka found joy differently than most nine year olds. She enjoyed going with Grandma Kathy to help feed the homeless. She loved the feeling she got in making people happy! As Emily explains it, "My favorite thing to do was serve lunch to the homeless in Downtown Raleigh with the Bread of Life Ministry."
She quickly became frustrated in the way children were viewed and their lack of leadership roles for children volunteers; so in 2010, Emily created and organized her very first annual community food drive by posting notes throughout the neighborhood and asking folks for donations to feed the hungry.
After finding out that people would give to a good cause when asked, Emily would continue that streak of successful food drives to the point where it became systematically in how she would approach each drive. She created a 5 step plan for each food drive⏤to insure maximum results. That 5 step plan is something she uses today to teach others the success metrics of a successful food drive.
“Over the last eight years we’ve collected over 8,200 pounds of food, proving that you’re never too young to make a difference,” Emily explained about the food drives, providing more than 8,300 meals over the last eight years.
There was a moment in all of this back in 2013 when she went with Grandma Kathy to Kentucky, a 'transformational moment', as Emily describes it that would change everything.
The story continues on the Brink of Greatness Podcast…
The Next Leap Forward
The lessons we learn as children will guide us and stay with us for a lifetime. Those early lessons become part of our adult DNA. Emily Kustka is at that point of using all those childhood lessons for the greater good.
Now at 18 years old, Emily Kustka ponders her next steps. As she prepares to go off to college, she has begun training others to keep the food drives working to help feed the hungry. But there is more⏤Emily has created a not-for-profit to help teach the next generation these same values. It's called Front Porch Leaders. "Kids are full of passion, optimism and energy, yet, they are often restricted by age limits from making a meaningful difference as volunteers. The goal of Front Porch Leaders is to create projects that provide kids of all ages the opportunity to make a large, measurable impact within their communities."
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