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Kenwood Student Donates Hats to the Homeless

Fourth-grader Jaylen Daughtery collected 108 gently used hats this winter for a service organization in Detroit.

At the age of 9, Jaylen Daughtery has a passion for giving.

The fourth-grader doesn't hesitate to give out food, money or any other items to friends or family members in need. But this year, Jaylen decided to expand his passion by helping a new group of people— the homeless.

In January and February, Jaylen collected 108 winter hats for the Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit. Jaylen said he accomplished this by asking friends and family to donate the gently used hats.

NSO is a nonprofit service organization that focuses on community development programs. It provides housing, emergency care and mental health services for the homeless.

"If (homeless people) didn't have hats, they would have been cold in the winter," said Jaylen, who lives in Oak Park with his family.

Jaylen's father, Waymon Daughtery, said he decided to help his son collect hats after Jaylen asked him to pull over in Detroit in December so he could give his own hat to a homeless man. Waymon said he had to explain to Jaylen the risks of approaching strangers.

"When we got home, he was a little disturbed we didn't stop," Waymon said. "He's always upset when we don't give out money (or other items) to the homeless."

But Jaylen's small idea led to an even larger movement. On Feb. 18, Jaylen visited the NSO and individually passed out hats to the homeless people at the facility.

Jaylen said the experience was rewarding. 

"I was excited because if that was me, I would be happy, too," Jaylen said.

As a father, Waymon said it was inspiring to see his son excited about helping others at such a young age.

"It made me feel good to actually see him accomplishing his goal and making others happy," Waymon said.  

Jaylen has received recognition from the NSO for his efforts. On Feb. 28, the NSO presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation for taking action on his idea. 

NSO President Sheilah Clay said Jaylen is one of the youngest donors for her organization. She said Jaylen's effort shines light on the positive things young people are doing in the community.

"A lot of people think about it and they don’t do anything," Clay said. "Jaylen moved it, he thought beyond himself and wanted to do something."

Essentially, Jaylen met a great need at NSO. Clay said dozens of homeless people come to her facility after being out in the cold, living in abandoned buildings.

"If you can cover the top of someone’s head you might be able to save a life," Clay said. 

Jaylen's hat collection doesn't stop here. He said he plans to continue collecting hats to donate next winter.

How You Can Help

If you'd like to donate hats to Jaylen's collection, email his father at waymondaughtery@yahoo.com or call 248-980-7955. For more information or to get involved with NSO visit www.nso-mi.org/ or call 313-961-4890.

Stacy Schaldenbrand March 07, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Sooooo proud of you Jaylen! Mrs. S.
waymon daughtery March 07, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Daddy is proud of you son keep up the good work..
Steven Blow March 07, 2012 at 04:13 PM
What a great story and a great kid. Very inspiring.
Ronald Wolf March 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Actions speak louder than words ever can. Congratulations from Royal Oak on your ingenuity and selfless work. This world need more young people like yourself. Bless you and your loving proud parents.
jerell daughtery March 08, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Proud of u nephew, keep pushin forward, keep up the good work, luv u...uncle jerell
waymon daughtery September 14, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Well hats for homeless is coming around for its 2nd anual event so if you would like to donate to hats for homeless this winter please contact 248-980-7955 Mr. Waymon Daughtery.. NO NO Money Just hats New or Gently used.

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