HAYWARD, Calif. - A young girl with a big heart.
She is just 8 years old. She already has her own nonprofit, helping people in need.
Her name is Ashley Sinn. She lives in Hayward and she's proof that it's never too soon to get involved with helping your community.
She says it all started two years ago when she was just 6. She noticed homeless people on the street and asked her parents how she could help.
On Wednesday evening, Ashley braved the chill of the December chill to tend to a community garden at South Hayward Parish, a collective of faith communities that run a food bank.
She and neighborhood children whose help she's enlisted are pulling out summer plants to prepare for reseeding. They grow fresh produce for the food bank to distribute to the homeless and low income families.
"I always seen people in the streets and I've always felt like I can help them," says Ashley.
This community garden is but one project that has sprouted from Small Hands with Helping Hearts, a nonprofit started by Ashley after she was told she was too young to volunteer at other nonprofits.
Ashley's mother suggested that she start her own charity.
The third grader's response was, "Yeah. that's what I want to do. How do I start?"
"She doesn't think there is anything you can't do or a reason that you shouldn't or couldn't do. It's very inspiring," says parents Michelle and Jeff Sinn Jr.
Ashley says it all started two years ago during a trip to the grocery store with her father. She noticed the homeless people who were around.
"I just wanted to sell hot chocolate for a dollar and help the homeless instead of buying toys and make care packages," says Ashley.
The first year, Ashley raised $260. The second year, it was $500.
This year, it was $6,700 aided by a GoFundMe account, enough for not only care packages but a spaghetti meal for those in need last weekend.
Last month, Ashley received the Hayward Youth Achievement Hall of Fame Award for Innovation in Volunteerism.
"I didn't really want it. I didn't want an award. I was just happy to be there," says Ashley.
She says she doesn't volunteer to get recognition and is embarrassed by the attention.
Ashley says her nonprofit gives other children opportunities to help, a small group with big ambitions.
"It does not matter your size or your age, that you can do anything," says Ashley.
Her next project is to start a volunteer club at her elementary school in January.
In March when she turns 9 years old, She's asking friends to donate to the Hayward Animal Shelter in lieu of gifts.
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