Landan Namayan (volunteer): We need your help. The more school supplies we can collect, the more we can help out their school.
Jezreleen Namayan (Jaden and Landan’s mother): We just love spending time as a family whenever we can. Our family loves to travel. A big part of it is [because] my dad’s a minister, so growing up, I travelled a lot.
[On-screen gfx: What is your most favorite vacation and why?]
Jaden Namayan (volunteer): Going to Greece — that’s where I met grandma and grandpa.
Landan: Going to Disneyland and Palm Springs.
Eric Namayan (Jaden and Landan’s father): So, the last trip we went to was in the Dominican Republic, specifically in the city of La Romana. So, we’ve been contributing to the food and clothing drives, also helping in the Neighborhood Appreciation Day. Sometimes, we’ll go to the senior centers and they sing to the seniors and they really love that.
Jezreleen: In my kid’s schools, they do something called Kids Against Hunger, where they raise money to make meal packets for the less fortunate and it gets shipped all over the world. So when it’s Jaden or Landan’s birthday, we know gifts are going to come in.
Landan: We sort our toys and the toys that we don’t want anymore, we donate to other schools and other places in the world. We think that other kids that don’t have it might want it.
Jazreleen: We’ve been to the Dominican before. We’ve seen how there are some impoverished children there. So, we sat down as a family and we started talking about what we could do to help other people. Landan wanted to collect books. We kept talking and talking…
Jaden: And then, we decided to donate school supplies because we learn at Church that, “Whenever we possibly can, do good to those who need it.” And then at school, we learned, even though we’re young, we can still make a positive impact on the world.
Jazreleen: So we made a video, put it on social media, and then it started pouring in. And you just see the kids’ eyes light up everytime another one comes in. And when we were done, we had over two huge suitcases full that we brought with us.
Jaden: I was really excited to see what the other kids’ reactions would be and the adults’ reactions and the other people. A lot of the walls were yellow—yellow-painted stone—and then, there were a lot of tiny little crabs around on the ground, two-story buildings, one on the right and one on the left. The gate that surrounded the school had barbed wire around it at the top.
Eric: Just to see the condition of the campus, it’s—you can tell why they are in need, really.
Jazreleen: We went in and we got to meet the director and we met some of his staff.
Denise (volunteer at school): About 200 students here. Unfortunately, this school is not big enough for them, really. So basically, the kids in the school have only three hours of schooling every day.
Landan: In their library, they don’t really have any books. When we walked in, we saw lots of smiling faces. They were very happy.
Jazreleen: You just feel the gratefulness coming from them and it’s just overwhelming.
Jaden: They were saying “thank you” in English. They don’t have that much money to just go to Walmart for something and buy it themselves, so helping out is good.
Eric: I felt very proud that we’re raising our children according to how we’re taught in the Church [Of Christ] — to be good people, to be lights of the earth.
Denise: I think this school is forgotten. Nobody donates, that’s why I always come here and I bring the donations here.
Raelfael Antonio Mercedes (school director): They will put it to good use. Every day, they use erasers, colored pencils, pens, crayons, and the bags will help them with their notebooks.
Denise: Well, that was amazing because basically, two young kids [were] getting donations by basically collecting bottles.
Landan: I felt happy that we were doing a good thing.
Jaden: When I came home, thinking about the difference between us and them, I felt really fortunate and I was a lot more appreciative for what I have.
Landan: I felt grateful for what we have.
Jaden: It made me feel good to know that I was helping people out.
GET TO KNOW US NAVIGATING LIFEINSIPIRING STORIES