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#ACCESStoGood Story: Kid philanthropist works to uplift his community

Sherbl Madalo

Kid Philanthropist | Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI)-San Diego of the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), a program of ACCESS

Though he may not wear a cape or mask, 10-year-old Sherbl Madalo is just as much a hero as his idol Batman. After harnessing his superpower to effectively raise money and grant it to local charities, Sherbl – like Batman – is making a real difference in the lives of others.

Sherbl and his family settled in the U.S. as refugees seven years ago, and it was not long after arriving in El Cajon, California that Sherbl fell in love with his new home.

“Everyone was so nice to me,” Sherbl said, “and I wanted to do something nice for them.”

How is Sherbl making a difference?

In order to give back in a more impactful way to the community that had been so welcoming, Sherbl and his friends from the Youth and Leaders Living Actively (YALLA) San Diego Youth Leadership Committee decided to head down the path of philanthropy. To give them a hand in their new role as philanthropists, ACCESS’ Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) provided financial and technical support that enabled YALLA to launch its own chapter of CAAP’s Teen Grantmaking Initiative (TGI).

Through TGI-San Diego, Sherbl and his team raise money and develop grants for charitable organizations that serve their community. In the TGI program, the only Arab American youth philanthropy program in the country, youth are put in charge of deciding which worthy causes and organizations to support, and grant their time, talent, and treasure to these youth and community-focused programs throughout the year.

After selling homemade bracelets, organizing a recycling drive and holding their own festival, Sherbl and his TGI-San Diego team were able to raise $1,000. With these funds, they provided grants to two deserving local organizations: Ocean Discovery Institute, to support a youth-led community improvement project based in science and environmental exploration, and reInterpret, to support the reInterpret Studio for students and math, science and social studies projects.

What is Sherbl’s advice for others?

When asked about what he would say to inspire others to give back in a similar way, Sherbl said: “Think of a time when someone did something nice for you, and remember how that felt. You can help make others feel the same way.”

To learn more about what this junior philanthropist and his team did, check out Sherbl in action during his TEDx talk at TEDxKids, El Cajon.

Have a superpower that you would like to share with us? Let us be your #ACCESStoGood! Click here to learn how to get involved with ACCESS. 

This series shares the stories of the many philanthropists, change-makers and leaders that make up our ACCESS family. These individuals – ACCESS donors, volunteers and friends – embody the spirit of giving. It is our hope that their stories of going the extra mile in service to others and doing good through ACCESS will inspire you to embrace your inner philanthropist, and show you how we can be your "ACCESS to Good."