When Haley Havard was 9, she started asking her mother if she could start a “business to help people.”
Her mother made her wait a few years, worried she wouldn’t be able to handle the responsibility. But now, she says, “Boy, was I wrong!”
Haley did wait a few years to kick start her business, and started Haley’s Helping Hands of Maryland, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, at the age of 11. Now a sophomore at Key School, Haley has been providing gently used clothing, shoes and sports equipment to individuals and families in need.
Those in need of help can submit orders to Haley through her website, haleyshelpinghandsmd.org or her Facebook page. Then Haley ships items for free to those who’ve requested them. To accomplish this at no cost to the recipient, she uses funds raised through direct donations, grants and crowdfunding. To date, she’s raised over $25,000, and in 2017, HHH had its biggest year and shipped over 7,000 items to 256 families in 15 different states.
Haley also provides sports scholarships to children who would not otherwise be able to participate in community sports. She does so because she believes doing so “can help the children feel more confident about themselves,” she says, and, “which will hopefully lead to better experiences in life!”
When Haley’s Helping Hands started, she sorted donations out of bins in the garage, but it quickly became evident that she couldn’t manage the volume that way, so her family built her a shed in the backyard where stores her inventory and packs boxes. In a 2017 “Cool Kids” article in Chesapeake Family Life, Haley’s teacher Kate Junkins said, “Haley is without a doubt a leader. She creates an inspiring vision of the future; where kindness, empathy and hard work are at the center of everything she does.”
This summer, Haley’s Helping Hands donated field hockey sticks to Annapolis High School students who were interested in playing the expensive sport, and Haley also began donating school supplies to kids in need of a good start to the school year.
“Watching Haley touch the lives of so many while working to balance her life as a kid, her studies and her sports life has been amazing,” says her mom. “She is tenacious beyond words and has a heart filled with compassion and a true desire to give back!”