High School student Grace Callwood, founder of Harford County’s youth-led We Cancerve Movement, has making the world a littler brighter for sick, homeless, and foster children since she was seven years old. In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Grace partnered with Tiffany Ogunwuyi of Coco & Soy to launch a limited-edition “Moments of Grace” candle collection. A portion of each candle sale is being donated to the Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund at Sinai Hospital.
We caught up with Grace to ask about the collaboration and why Sinai Hospital is near and dear to her. She also shared some great advice for kids who want to make a difference!
Check out our interview below and go purchase one of the Hope, Resilience, or Courage candles from Coco & Soy! The fundraiser runs through September 30th.
Kids That Inspire Us: Grace Callwood
You turned 17 this month! WOW! What are you most looking forward to this year?
As I am starting to grow up, I have to start looking at sustainability and a succession plan for We Cancerve. I look forward to making long-lasting partnerships with organizations who care about the youth populations we serve. I’m really excited about firming up some partnerships and collaborations for years to come.
Let’s talk a little bit about We Cancerve’s most recent collaboration — the Moments of Grace candle collection! What brought this collaboration about? Do you have a favorite scent?
We were looking for a unique and fun way for us to raise money for the We Cancerve Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund. When we met Mrs. Tiffany Ogunwuyi and learned about Coco & Soy, we were definitely interested in working together and our fundraiser for the We Cancerve Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund was a perfect option! I had the honor of working with her to choose scents that would be ideal for pediatric patients; scents that are light, refreshing, and aren’t overpowering. My favorite would have to be the Hope candle. Not only do I love the name of this candle but also the clean and warm smell of ginger and spice is soothing.
A portion of the sale of the candles goes to the Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund at Sinai Hospital. Why is supporting this fund important to you?
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month which not only relates heavily to the work we do through We Cancerve, but it also relates to me personally as a cancer survivor. I created the We Cancerve Pediatric Patient Assistance Fund at Sinai Hospital, the hospital I was treated at for lymphoma. Our fund provides money for gas cards, parking passes, medical copays, meal tickets, and many other things that allow the family to have one less thing to worry about and more time to focus on their critically ill loved one. Being able to work with Coco & Soy on this fundraiser is so exciting because the names of the candles, Hope, Courage, and Resilience, are great words of encouragement for anyone, but especially a patient.
You have made such an important and positive impact on our community since founding We Cancerve when you were 7! What advice do you have for kids who want to make a difference?
My main advice for kids who want to make a difference are to follow three crucial steps: find your passion, gather support, and stay committed. You have to be passionate about the work you do in order for you to serve productively! Service shouldn’t feel like a chore or something to check off a list, but something you look forward to and enjoy doing. Gathering support is a crucial step in your path to making a difference. Whether the support means gathering people to help complete the project, raise money, or even participate in the project, while you could do some of this alone, it’s often better when you do it with others. Support could come from family, friends, classmates, parents’ coworkers, or even others in your neighborhood. I was able to form my own nonprofit and an all-youth board of advisors for We Cancerve because we’re all passionate about helping vulnerable youth in sad situations. The last step is to stay committed to your passion and your goal. Follow through is a must do! If you had a collection or food drive that didn’t go very well, use it as a learning experience so you know what to do next time. And if you have a successful collection, don’t stop there, host another one! Continuity is key when serving others.
You definitely have a busy schedule — and that can be a huge stress for anyone! How do you keep grounded and from feeling overwhelmed?
Time management is a skill I develop more and more each day. My family is very helpful in helping me to manage school, sports, extra-curriculars, We Cancerve, and fun! Whether it comes down to finding time mom/business manager and I can work together to knock out some emails for We Cancerve or if it means I stay after school to go right from field hockey practice into marching band practice, I make it work!
What is your absolute favorite way to kick back?
The best way for me to kick back is by listening to music. I love so many genres of music that I have different playlists for different moods! Another way I can relax is by watching dramatic shows like the Bachelorette or Love Island.
Know a kid who inspires? Tell us about them and we might just feature them in an upcoming article!