Each week, Agoura Hills Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. We want to hear about these amazing children and teens and select one each week as the Patch Whiz Kid.
This week's Whiz Kid is LemonAID organizer, Helen Matz, who understands the sweet taste of showing compassion to others. Matz, a 7th grade honor student at Lindero Canyon Middle School, loves playing basketball, hanging out with family and friends, and playing the flute in the Cougar Band.
When she first heard of the tragic tsunami in Japan, it caused her to brainstorm, said her mother, Mia Matz. "She wanted to know how a 12-year-old girl in the United States could help,” said Matz.
After a little Internet research, Helen discovered Team Kids, an organization that encourages kids across America to host "LemonAID" stands to support the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake/Pacific Tsunami Fund. “It gave Helen the opportunity to help people in need,” said Matz. “And it was a way for kids to raise money for meaningful charitable causes.”
Matz said that 100% of the proceeds donated through the LemonAID fund go directly to the charity. Since 2005, Team Kids has raised over $70,000 to benefit different charities.
The young philantropist decided not only to sell lemonade but chocolate chip cookies on a stick as well, as a fun way to increase her earning potential, Helen Matz said.
Matz’s involvment with Team Kids is not her first experience with giving back to the community. Matz began volunteering at , the community event which benefits local schools. She enjoyed participating so much she said she continued to look for opportunities to serve.
Her first LemonAID stand was set up in March at , where she collected $60.00. At this initial outing, Matz said she learned an important lesson and realized that her community is a very giving and caring place.
Recruiting family and friends to help has added energy and fun to the effort, she said, and Matz’s lemonade stand has become a destination spot for many. Her stands have garnered the support of the local fire station, Agoura Pony Baseball teams, adult soccer teams, and even Terri Nunn, the lead singer for the band Berlin. Matz also has a number of repeat customers.
Making fresh cookies and lemonade can be time consuming but has been well worth the effort, she said. Matz has hosted over ten lemonAID events and has collected over $500.00, well on her way to reaching her personal goal of $1,000.
“Helen has realized that even young kids can make a big difference one cup of lemonade and one cookie at a time,” said Mia Matz. “Making a plan and raising money for great causes empowers one to know that even small efforts to help others matters."
The values of compassion and charity have made a lasting impression on young Matz. “I now have a true passion for community service, teamwork and raising money for charitable causes. I have gained so much from this project. I want to make contributing and giving back part of my life,” said Matz.
Whiz Kid: Helen Matz
Grade: Seventh Grade
School: Lindero Canyon Middle School
Accomplishment: Through her involvement with “Team Kids,” Matz has raised over $500.00 to benefit the Red Cross Japan Tsunami and Earthquake Fund.
Key to Awesomeness: “Realizing that asking for help from family and friends is important. Making a commitment of time and effort has enabled me to realize goals and to make a difference in the world,” said Matz.