A philanthropist and social activist, Jaiyah Kimber, 15, a junior at New Britain High School, loves to reach out to those who need help.
“Every Friday, I help the kids on my street with their school work,’’ Jaiyah said. “It’s my own little camp. It’s something I want to continue to do for as long as I can.”
The idea came to her when a neighbor mentioned that their grand-daughter needed help with school work. Jaiyah volunteered to tutor her, “and I thought, ‘hey, why not help the other kids on my street too,’” Jaiyah said.
She noticed that most kids on her street don’t push themselves enough at school and don’t like listening to their parents. But they respected her.
“So I offered help, and they showed up,” she said.
Within a week, they started to show great improvement. They kept coming for more, and Jaiyah hasn’t stopped.
This urge to reach out to kids struggling with academics inspired her to volunteer for a summer program in New Britain. Jaiyah has since accumulated 120 hours of volunteer service.
“I like to help others before thinking about myself,” she said. “This one time, I noticed my friend was hungry during lunch. I knew she had more money in her pockets than I did but she was saving up for something. I had just $1 with me and I bought her food instead of buying myself something. She was starving and I wasn’t necessarily hungry, I guess.”
Jaiyah also prides herself in playing softball and volleyball and in being a sports representative.
She has an avid interest in robotics.
She was inspired by author Jodi Picoult’s book, “Perfect Match,” which deals with child abuse and murder, to pursue a career in family law.
She said her dream is to attend the University of Connecticut.
She lives with her mom, Sophia Marilyn Harrison, a waitress, and one of her three siblings in New Britain. Two other siblings, Zachery Andre Kimber, who owns a moving company, and three step-siblings live with her dad in New Haven.
Jaiyah has many awards to her name, including winning a spelling bee, a varsity award for softball, a language lab award and achieving high honors in seven of eight semesters in school.
She has a clear path set out for herself.
“When I’m done with school, I want to start a proper summer camp for kids,” she said. “I want to be able to give an opportunity for them to learn and get a firm grasp on their school subjects and explore different activities in a fun environment. Someday, I know, I will make it happen.”
Nora Thajudeen is a student at Wilby High School, Waterbury