How Local Teen Took Action and Changed Lives
When he saw a void, he found a way to fill it and strengthen his community, one child at a time.
Las Vegas teen Nijel Murray, Founder of Klothes 4 Kids, was inspired to take action when his foster brother arrived with nothing but the clothes on his back. Murray made an immediate decision to ensure that foster kids around the valley had a good set of new, clean clothes to provide comfort and confidence to kids going through difficult period. The fledgling foundation is making a significant difference in the lives of foster children across the valley.
What was the inspiration to start Klothes 4 Kids?
Klothes 4 Kids was started out of an experience that I had with a kid who was fostered by my family. When my foster brother left Child Haven, his clothes were either too big or too small and he was embarrassed to wear them. He had school the next day so my parents scrambled to purchase clothing for him. Seeing the stress of my mom and the sadness of my foster brother, I knew that I didn’t want other kids and families to experience this so I wanted to do something about it. That’s why I created K4K, which provides foster kids with duffel bags with new clothing and basic necessities.
How did the first event come together?
On August 11th, 2018, I celebrated my 15th birthday by inviting the entire community to “The Klothes 4 Kids Duffel Bag/Birthday Drive.” The goal was to bring awareness to the foster care crisis and to collect new clothing to give to kids who are in foster care. My goal was to fill 25 duffel bags and raise $1,500.00 in cash. Well, I exceeded that goal and was been able to offer and provide assistance to more than 50 foster families immediately after my event.
I didn’t want other kids and families to experience this so I wanted to do something about it.
Why did you choose duffel bags to hold the clothes?
Children in foster care are given trash bags to put their belongings in. Trash bags were made for garbage and for a child who has lost everything, this is just one more reminder, in their minds, that they are worthless and disposable, like garbage. This is why Klothes 4 Kids takes special care in how we deliver clothing to children. Each child gets a brand new duffel bag packed with brand new clothing and supplies.
Why does this continue to be important to you?
Because foster kids matter. They need to know that just because they had to leave their families and all of their belongings, their peers, like me, care about them and want to do something to support them.
What obstacles have you overcome to make this happen?
Funding, transportation and daily operations are all challenges because we do not have a public space. Therefore, my parents are taking me to do all of the shopping for clothing and they drive me when I make deliveries to families.
What advice can you offer kids who want to help their community?
I would say whatever is on your heart to do that can help someone else, ‘Just start where you are.’
How has this project changed your life, perspective?
Helping kids in foster care changed my life AND perspective because it helped me to see and understand that life is challenging for most kids and I have learned to appreciate what I have but, most importantly,I have gained empathy for others.
To donate to Klothes4Kids, they accept new clothing for children from newborn sizes through high school. They also accept cash and donations through PayPal.