'I love helping': 9-year-old Milwaukee girl founds organization to help homeless children

’I love helping’: 9-year-old Milwaukee girl founds organization to help homeless children

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Peyton is a 9-year-old girl who's taking on a very adult challenge.

Two years ago, she founded an organization called "Eye of a Child" to help homeless children.

She was inspired to do so after seeing homeless up close in her own family.

CBS 58 tagged along as she handed out T-shirts at a recent National Night Out event in Milwaukee.

"Want a shirt from my organization?" Peyton asked as she approached a group of children.

She may only be nine, but she knows how to network. She was fearless and determined as she walked through the crowd, passing out shirts.

"Is there a certain size you guys wear?" she asked, flipping through the tags.

She also made sure to give out contact organization. Her mom, Leticia Anderson, quickly passing her business cards when needed.

"Oh, you have a card," one mom laughed, delighted, "Thank you! This is awesome!"

She made connections like a seasoned professional.

"Well, that's awesome," another woman told her. "You keep up the good work."

The shirts are all bright colors, and on the back they say, "Every child deserves to smile."

Peyton came up with that, and everything else about her organization. After finding out her uncle was homeless, she became very interested in the issue.

"And then I did some research and I also learned that there are children that are just like me and they're homeless," Peyton said. "And did you know, there's more than 2.5 million children, children my age, other ages, too, that are homeless?"

Anderson said it made a big impression on her daughter.

"She was like, for my 8th birthday, I want to invite 100 homeless children to my house," Anderson recalled. "And I was like, I don't think we can do that, but maybe we can figure out something else to do."

Figure it out, they did. They collected all of Peyton's birthday presents, along with a check, and brought them to the kids at Sojourner Family Peace Center.

"Because her concept, how she explained it to me was, it's different getting something that's used versus opening something that's yours, that's brand new," Anderson said.

"Peyton to me is such an amazing example of hope," said Carmen Pitre.

Pitre is the president of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

"What you see in Peyton is this incredible passion, but intense focus. She's very clear and very sure about the difference she wants to make," Pitre said.

Peyton has been donating toys and money ever since. She sells T-shirts and heart-shaped crayons at pop-up events to raise money.

"All of the proceeds that we get is 100% donated to shelters," she stressed.

And while she gets out into the community to talk about Eye of a Child a lot, she's also organizing a back-to-school supply drive.

"I am collecting backpacks, new backpacks and school supplies," she said.

Peyton hopes it's one less thing for families to worry about.

"Because while they're already facing a lot, a lot of challenges, so, why not try to fix one of those challenges," she said.

Pitre said the new gifts do make a big difference.

"It's just a reminder that you're not alone, that somebody remembers, and you know, that people know, sort of, the path that you're walking," Pitre said.

As for the path Peyton is walking, Anderson said she is awed and amazed.

"I'll say this -- I think proud is an understatement, when it comes to my child," she said.

And while Peyton may still be a kid herself, seeing the world through her eyes is a pretty good view.

"I love helping and caring for others that are less fortunate. I just love helping and caring for anybody, actually," she said.

Peyton is collecting new backpacks and school supplies until Aug. 28. To help or donate, you can get more information at https://eyeofachild.org/.

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