Spooky costumes, masks and imagination beyond your wildest dreams. It’s scary what good one young person can do to help others in the name of Halloween.
Isabel del Valle McGuinness, an eighth grader at Mast Academy, is spearheading an initiative called “Share the Boo,” to collect Halloween customs to give to kids in Liberty City.
Isabel believes it’s important for kids to enjoy a break from reality, pretending to be whoever they want during a holiday known for making fantasy come true. The initiative is supported by the Chief Press Foundation, which has been helping the underserved community for 15 years.
An atypical teen from Key Biscayne, McGuinness is conscientious beyond her years. She is determined to put smiles on the faces of kids who live in Key Biscayne’s sister city.
Q: Why did you decide to collect costumes for kids in Liberty City?
Isabel: “I’ve actually seen a lot people doing good things so I decided to help. I saw an Instagram of people doing this and I thought I could bring that idea to Miami.”
Q: What has been the reaction from kids you approach with the idea?
Isabel: “It’s been pretty good. They all say they will help and donate and spread the word. They’ve been pretty positive.”
Q: Are you just asking friends and schoolmates or do you have a bigger plan to maximize your efforts:
Isabel: “My mom has helped me as well and she’s into the parent groups. And I have some boxes at Mast Academy, and Chief Press is helping me. And the D.A.R.E. offers as well and other people. I’m hoping to get other schools to help.”
Q: How many costumes have you collected so far? i
Isabel: “I’ve collected about 12 boxes so far. I think I have like 10 costumes per box. I want to be able to get things for all ages.”
Q: “What type of costumes have you received so far?
Isabel: “There is a wide range of everything Disney, and monsters. And kids ones like lady bugs and pumpkins. I bring them home and … see if they have a stain or rip or anything. (If so) I put them in the washing machine and get them sewn up.”
Q: Do you have a plan to deliver the customs to the kids in Liberty City?
Isabel: “A big group of us (will go) with Chief Press to Liberty City and have a little party and hand out all the customs.”
Q: Why did you decide to partner with the Chief Press Foundation?
Isabel: “I know he’s done things for the kids from Liberty City, for like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I wanted to add to that list.”
Q: What did you donate of yours.
Isabel: “I donated a lot of costumes from my closet, like princess costumes from when I was younger. Not too many scary things though.
McGuinness’ mom, Christy, is proud of her daughter’s desire to help others, but not surprised.
Q: What was your reaction when Isabel said she wanted to do “Share the Boo”?
Christy: “I wasn’t surprised. She came to me with the idea and I said ‘Ok, let’s do it.’ I like that kids today don’t look at things as impossible. They say, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ “
Q: What’s been the reaction from parents you’ve spoken to?
Christy: “It’s been great. We did a soft launch in the summer and we got a great response. People have been very receptive. My husband works in Liberty City so Isabel knows the people there have been through a lot.”
Police Chief Chuck Press is creating a legacy of brotherly love with his foundation, which has been helping kids in Liberty City know that Key Biscayne cares about their futures. To say Press was impressed by Isabel’s project goal would be an understatement.
Q: What did you think when Isabell told you what she was doing?
Press: “I was floored because that’s not the way a lot of young people think nowadays. We have an “I … me” generation going on right now. It told me two things Her family is raising her the right way, and she understands there are people less fortunate than her. And she has a big enough heart to want to do something about that. Somebody like her will be very special person one day. She is a superstar on the way up.”
Q: You have always led by example. How does it make you feel to see someone from generation Z taking the initiative to help the less fortunate.
Press: “Sometimes I don’t realize the tentacles of the work I do reaches places I don’t always know, but this happens to be one of those incidents. Does that make me feel great? If makes me feel every bit of the sacrifice is worth it and if that’s my legacy I know my mom and dad would be proud of me.”
COSTUMES FOR “SHARE THE BOO” will continue to be collected through Oct. 11. Donation boxes are located at:
- Mast Academy
- Ocean Sound Key Colony
- KB Police Department
- KB Community Center
- Islander News office, 104 Crandon Blvd, Suite 301