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There are so many children and young people out there who don’t have someone to tell them that they are doing a good job as they take part in extracurricular activities and strive to meet their goals academically.

Laguna Beach’s Casey Reinhardt established the CASEY Foundation (Children’s Alliance for the Success and Education of Youth) to fill the gap for unmotivated youth. Let her story of advocacy motivate you to help children build self-esteem and attain their goals.

Can you tell me about the success you’ve had with the CASEY Foundation?

I created the foundation in 2002 when I was in High School. I created it because my family is very involved with helping children and people in general. I found a special place in my heart for them. I wanted to create this foundation because I worked with different organizations.

In seeing my parents being very charitable, I wanted to do the same thing and I decided to create this foundation because I wanted to help kids. I know the importance of an education, and I wanted to share and bring awareness to the importance of staying in school. I really worked closely with all of the Olive Crest Children’s Foundations, which help support abused children. That has been my goal: to help abused children by donating books, food, clothes… anything they need. I love hanging out with kids and bringing them presents. I’m really hands on in that way with my foundation.

Due to the economy and everything that’s going on in our world, have you noticed that the academic intelligence of children is worse when it comes to helping children with literacy and self-esteem?

It’s very different… people aren’t giving a lot of money anymore because people can’t afford it. So I’m really there helping promote the awareness of abuse of children and just making sure they stay in school. Because we are their voice, and they’re helpless and vulnerable and we need to speak up for them because they can’t.

Tell me how you have grown personally from reaching out and helping… What have you learned?

I’ve really learned how lucky I am. I come from a really incredible family and I’m so fortunate of that. That’s why I feel like I need to help – because I’m so fortunate. Not everyone comes from a good family, but making someone’s life a little easier is what I can do. I’ve grown up in philanthropy and have been involved my whole life. It’s really rewarding. Just to touch one person’s life is worth it.

For someone our age who doesn’t have a lot of money to start a foundation, where is a good place for them to start?

Just being totally hands on, getting involved in school foundations. So many schools have foundations in which you can help out. Help the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of America. You don’t have to give everything… give your love. Kids need love more than anything else. And if you don’t know where to start, you can start out helping in my foundation. I’m always looking for volunteers.

Were you brought up to show acts of kindness or was there a certain event that made you start your foundation and start volunteering as early as you did?

I was brought up to give back. But I really became passionate about it when my best friend died when she was sixteen years old from breast cancer. That really woke me up to really living my life full, and to have meaning and purpose. Going through that extreme with my girlfriend made me realize I really have to do something, and I had to help and be really involved in helping others because I understand how short life is.

Do you think that young women in Hollywood are doing a great job at setting a example for other young females, or do you feel they’re really taking their stardom for granted?

You know, I think that some of them are and some aren’t, and they have the opportunity to do so. Like Hayden Panettiere – she’s fighting for the dolphins. I think that’s so great that she’s a part of that and that she’s showing young girls that she’s fighting for a great cause and showing such passion. But I believe that other celebrities have the forum but don’t really take the advantage of it.

Will any of your upcoming projects reflect the work you’ve been able to do with young children?

I’m sure they will. I really want to write a book. I have a few projects that I’m actually in the process of starting. I’m working on them. I want to bring awareness to children in need in general. It’s a big huge part of my life – I’m very passionate about it and I really want to incorporate it into my career. It’s really important to me.

What can the fans look forward to seeing you in next?

I just finished a film. It’s a thriller called LURE. I’m really excited about it. I have a few appearances on The Hills. And I’m really into this philanthropic project that I’m doing right now, this project I’m working on which I can’t wait to tell you about. It’s in the works. So I can’t really say anything. I really want to put a lot of time into charity since I just graduated from college. I really want this year to be a great year for me and the children philanthropy wise.

Look To The Stars would like to thank Casey Reinhardt for taking the time to talk to us.

You can contact Casey at Casey.Reindhadrt@yahoo.com or Casey@ CaseyReindhardt.com to volunteer at the CASEY Foundation. She would love volunteers.

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