'Aaron's Presents' helps young adults who want to do good

"The kids themselves see themselves as givers and visionaries, as agents of change."


A group of teens in Massachusetts are on a mission to do good thanks to one organization.


Leading the group is high school freshman Ernestine Hallowanger, who has initiated a long list of projects thanks to Leah Okimoto and her organization, Aaron's Presents.

"I had a Halloween party one year for the House of Hope," Hallowanger said. "We've done a spa day with women in recovery."

Okimoto started the organization in honor of her son, who died in 2013 just eight days after being born.

"I thought, 'What if we raised a few thousand dollars and we were able to give it to young children?'" Okimoto said. "I envisioned this gallery of all these small and really meaningful acts."

Aaron's Presents has helped about 850 kids and completed hundreds of acts of kindness, and connects with students in schools and through after-school programs.

"The kids themselves see themselves as givers and visionaries, as agents of change," Okimoto said. "It's true empowerment. If we can unleash all of that energy, you know, you could change communities. You could uplift and revitalize entire communities."

Hallowanger said working with Aaron's Presents has changed her.

"I cannot see myself living well, having everything I may ever need or may ever ask for, and see somebody else on the streets in need," Hallowanger said.