Social & Emotional Development

Gallant Kids Spotlight: Peyton Anderson

By: Christine Burke
Gallant Kid Peyton Anderson, with a swimming medal around her neck.
3 minutes to read
Ages 6+
Social Emotional

Peyton Anderson, a 10-year-old from Wisconsin, is a champion in and out of the water. When she’s not training for elite swimming competitions, she’s dedicating her time to helping homeless children in Wisconsin and California. 

A close-up portrait of Peyton smiling.

Here’s what Peyton had to say about starting an organization called Eye of a Child when she was 8 years old:

“What inspired me is that I witnessed homelessness close up in my very own family with my great-uncle. I didn’t like that, so I asked my parents if we could do something. 

“First, I did some research and learned that there are 2.5 million children my age that are homeless, so I asked my parents, ‘Is there anything we can do about that?

Can we start an organization?’

“And then, of course, my parents helped me figure out a name and that name is Eye of A Child and now here I am.”

“I witnessed homelessness close up in my very own family with my great-uncle. I didn’t like that, so I asked my parents if we could do something.”

Peyton raises money for homeless shelters in Wisconsin and California by selling T-shirts and heart-shaped crayons at craft fairs and pop-up stores. When she reaches her goal of $500, she donates the money to different homeless children’s centers. To date, Peyton has raised more than $10,000 for shelters in Wisconsin and California.

 Instead of enjoying a traditional birthday party for herself each year, Peyton organizes what she calls a “Donation Celebration” — a yearly event that is a fundraiser and donation drive to raise money and awareness for her organization. 

“I love helping other people.”

“In honor of all those children, I don’t need any toys, any clothes. I don’t need anything, but I know they are struggling to get that stuff so I want to give them as much as possible,” Peyton tells Highlights. “Basically, wherever I have my birthday party, I usually set up bins. People can bring something to donate. That’s their ticket into my party. And it’s also a fundraiser/birthday bash and a whole bunch of other stuff.” 

Peyton delivers the wrapped presents and hygiene product donations to a local children’s center.

Peyton kneeling and petting two dogs.

Though her friends think she’s a celebrity when they see her receiving awards for her efforts or being interviewed on TV about her charitable donations, Peyton remains humble about the work she does for homeless children. Peyton says, “I don’t brag about it and I keep it to myself and if I do tell somebody, which I rarely do, I don’t say it all snotty. I just say, ‘Hey, you know what, I just raised $500 and I donated it to a shelter’ and my friends are like, ‘Good for you!’”

Peyton says she hopes that her organization will continue for many years to come. She says she dreams of being able to reach kids all around the country one day. 

“It makes me feel happy. It just feels like an accomplishment. It feels like I’m actually having fun doing it,” she says with a smile. “I love helping other people.”

Author Christine Burke
By: Christine Burke

Christine Burke is the Digital Parenting Editor for Highlights Parents. She’s the owner of the popular blog, Keeper of The Fruit Loops, and her work has been featured on Today Parenting, Scary Mommy, Your Teen for Parents and other parenting sites. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two teens, and a needy shih tzu.