Teenager Conor Quill began volunteering with Orange County-based Miracles for Kids in first grade, and he shows no signs of stopping.
Christmas. Back to School. These are all times of excitement for families with young children. But they can also be times of stress, especially for families with young children who are battling serious illness. Which is why Miracles for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of critically ill children and their families, implemented their Baskets of Miracles program.
“We deliver baskets to the house of the children and their families,” explains Conor Quill, Miracles for Kids volunteer, “with cleaning supplies, food and depending on the time of year, Christmas gifts or school supplies.”
Quill began his involvement with Miracles for Kids as a first-grader when his father, Peter, became a Miracles for Kids board member.
“My dad took me along on basket deliveries,” Quill recalls. “And even from that young age, it was a humbling experience.”
He has participated in basket deliveries in every major holiday since.
“He responded really well as far as recognizing the seriousness of what the families were going through,” says Peter. “What definitely sets the organization apart for me is that they are not just focused on children with illness but also their families. And they have data that shows that the child will respond better to treatment if they know their home is stable and they don’t feel like they’re the one causing stress and strain on the family. So, families first and as a result, kids get better.”
As Quill grew up, he only found more ways to make a difference with Miracles for Kids. He joined the volunteers that assembled the baskets for delivery and even founded a Miracles for Kids club at St. Anne School, where he attended middle school in Laguna Niguel.
“We would make cards and stuff to put in the baskets,” Quill says. “It had about 20 members at its peak.”
His father noted that the club “is still going strong now, years later.”
Quill also assisted at the Surf & Paddle Summer Camp the organization hosts to give kids on the mend and their siblings a day at the beach.
“It is such a great experience,” he says, “getting the kids in the water and helping them stand up on a board.”
The organization reports that 150 kids have benefitted from the Surf & Paddle Summer Camp.
Quill is now a senior at Orange County School of the Arts and will be attending college out of state but he intends to work with Miracles for Kids when he is home and make himself available in the summers to help Miracles for Kids grow.
“I hope Miracles for Kids only gets bigger and is able to help more and more people as time goes on,” he says.
To get involved, visit www.miraclesforkids.org.
By Sarah Mosqueda