December 1, 2013
Top 10 List: #7
Photos: Courtesy Cynthia Dobbins
Kaylee Dobbins has made it her mission to change the world, one small act at a time. At only 10 years old, she has founded her own unique program to help people in her community and make the world a more peaceful place. Through her program, Jolly Good Deeds — albeit a one-man or “one-kid” program currently — she offers her services to people who need help doing work around the house. These chores are done for the elderly or people who just need assistance. She also does spontaneous, random acts of kindness for anyone in need.
“It is to help other people, especially those that need help feeling happiness or peace,” says Kaylee on the mission of Jolly Good Deeds. Kaylee was inspired to start the program by remembering the live and impact of Mattie J.T. Stepanek.
Stepanek was a New York Times bestselling poet who advocated for peace. He was often a guest on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and was named one of her “all-time most memorable guests.” In 2004, shortly before his 14th birthday, Mattie died from a rare disease called Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. However, during his lifetime, he touched numerous people who knew his story. Through his fight against a deadly illness and his heartsongs — which he described as “gifts that reflect each person’s unique reason for being,” Mattie brought peace to others. (http://www.mattieonline.com). Kaylee and Stepanek were cousins and through Jolly Good Deeds, she is continuing to spread his message of peace.
In a time when most children are consumed with video games and electronics, Kaylee understands that there is a need for more harmony within the world. Jolly Good Deeds aims to bring about this change and is necessary, because according to Kaylee, today’s society can be emotionally draining and her program helps people who are feeling “sad” by giving them “time to relax.”
“They can help anybody who needs it the most. You can help others who really want to take a break on cleaning or doing the dishes or cleaning the house,” she said. She explained that participating in her program brings those who are “searching for inner-peace” or who are in need of feeling included and cared for that sense of oneness with others.
She stresses that her program equally benefits the person doing the deed, because they feel helpful and are able to make a difference in someone else’s life. By participating in her program, she said that a person can open the door for others to continue doing good deeds and making the world a more united community.
Kaylee explains that Jolly Good Deeds can be anything: cleaning the kitchen, organizing books or toys, assisting with a baby, helping the elderly or disabled, or doing something to put a smile on someone’s face. They can also be small things that are usually taken for granted, such as picking up a dropped pencil, holding the door open for someone or getting a napkin for them without being asked.
She admitted that “making a homemade dinner for somebody” and “cleaning the house” are among her favorite good deeds to do. While these can be done for anyone in need of a pick-me-up, she took special care in planning one good deed for someone close to her heart.
“My grandma was coming home from New Jersey, and I was going to surprise her by cleaning up the house for her,” said Kaylee. This act of kindness gave her the idea of doing good deeds for others and developing her program to help spread Mattie’s message.
Anybody can partake in the program and perform Jolly Good Deeds on a small or large scale within their own community. Although she does them randomly and as a surprise to those receiving the good deed, she laments that those who cannot are probably suffering from the pressures of everyday life and are in need of having a good deed done for themselves.
The good deeds can be done every day at any time, according to Kaylee. “Sometimes, nobody would even have to ask me, and I’d go ahead and do what they wanted…and let them sit down and relax so that they wouldn’t have to do as much work,” she said, explaining how she goes about doing the deeds.
Kaylee plans to keep participating in Jolly Good Deeds well into the future. She also values attending college where she wants to help animals. She plans to attend the University of Maryland and work with animals as “a zoo keeper or veterinarian.”
When she takes time from doing good deeds for others, Kaylee does enjoy the same activities as other children. She admitted that there is time after working for others when she likes to relax and play games on the PlayStation or the Wii with her sister.
“My favorite is Mario Bros Wii,” she said. A kid after your own heart.