Using dishtowels to make a difference . . . .

Hello again from the team at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us all at OM HQ.

Young people like Emily, Sarah and Thomas Kladar . . . .

The Kladars spend their time helping people, saving lives and making a difference . . .

They're doing it using dishtowels.

Emily, Sarah and Thomas' tale began in 2008 when, during a trip to see their grandparents in Mexico, the trio accompanied their parents - both healthcare professionals - on a visit to a rural pediatric clinic.

Not long after their arrival, the trio happened upon the so-called Wall of Hearts, displaying photographs of the children seen by the clinic who, without heart surgery, were expected to die.

'We just felt that if we didn't help them, no-one else would,' explains Emily, who, earlier this year, was named as one of the top ten youth volunteers in the United States. 'We didn't want to give up [on them] because we knew we were doing something really good.'

Upon returning home to Hayden Lake, Idaho, Emily, Sarah and Thomas began to formulate a plan.

'We came back and thought 'we've got to do something about this',' recalls Sarah. 'We started selling lemonade and walking dogs, [but then we realized] if we're going to do this, we need to do something big and creative.'

It was at that point that Kids Helping Kids Fix Broken Hearts was born.

The logo came from budding artist Emily, the name from Sarah and the concept from all three.

These days, the Kladars run a thriving non-profit organization that has raised more than $60,000 to fund life-saving cardiac procedures for children. They've done it all through selling their dishtowels - Emily's idea, a great one as it happens, because 'they're something practical and everyone uses them'.

Selling them for $5 a piece, it took just seven months to raise the first $15,000. This, the Kladars delivered to the clinic in Mexico themselves. That cash alone helped 13 sick children.

Since that initial success, Emily, Thomas and Sarah have expanded their operation and are helping children not just in Mexico, but throughout the United States.

More than 6,000 dishtowels have been sold, the proceeds covering not just the medical procedures but also helping families to meet associated costs that include lodging, transportation and food. Their dishtowels have found buyers in more than 30 countries and all 50 of the United States. That's making an impact. That's making a difference.

The Kladars - who also forego presents on their birthdays, preferring their friends and relatives to make donations to their chosen charities instead - have shown that when it comes to helping others, anyone can do it from anywhere. If a humble dishtowel can do so much good, there's hope for us all.

Here in Saunderstown, we're using our our OMs to reach people and touch lives . . .

Emily, Sarah and Thomas are using their dishtowels . . .

Please take a little time to think about what you can do . . .

We are all connected.