This year marks the centennial anniversary of the end of First World War. With no surviving veterans that served in the war, one Shawnigan Lake family is on a mission to make sure it’s an anniversary that does not get overlooked.
Co-founded by siblings Mckenna and Cooper Haz, as well as their mom Kristie, KidLED launches campaigns as a way to educate and spread awareness about a specific cause or charity.
They launched their first campaign roughly two weeks ago, selling merchandise with partial proceeds from their WWI Centennial Collection going to Wounded Warriors Canada to fund a diverse set of programs and services for soldiers and their families.
“Our dad was military police for 10 years,” explained Mckenna, noting he had friends that suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “Both ideas melded together.”
By wearing items from the WWI Centennial Collection, it’s a visual reminder of those that have served and continue to serve and some of the hurdles they encounter such as PTSD.
“It’s not just the individuals [that suffer]. It’s the family, and we’ve seen that in our network,” Kristie said. “Kids are dealing with it.”
Mckenna added the hope is this campaign will inspire those that are struggling to come forward and get the help they need.
Their mission is simple – to bring the community together and in doing so, fund brighter futures.
“We realized not everyone is our purchaser and we created this new concept called the ‘gratitude T-shirt.’ So if you want to make a donation to support KidLED and Wounded Warriors Canada you can purchase this gratitude T-shirt and send in a message,” explained Mckenna. “It’s a way to say thank you and you matter.”
Offered for a special rate of $20, these T-shirts and messages are sent through KidLED to someone that Wounded Warriors Canada is helping with KidLED picking up the delivery and tax costs.
“If we could sell 100 of these that would be pretty cool,” Kristie added.
Other items in the campaign including mugs, T-shirts, toques and hoodies range in price from $15 to $55.
Mckenna, 19, is an accomplished rugby player who is in the midst of finalizing a rugby scholarship to play for a university in Connecticut this fall. Cooper, 16, attends Brentwood College School taking classes six days a week and when he’s not at the arena playing hockey you’ll find him out rowing.
But the busy teens have dedicated themselves to this new initiative. While they’ve just launched their first campaign, the concept behind KidLED was something that started to take shape while Mckenna was still in Grade 11.
“The emphasis is to put the kids on a platform … the initiative moving forward is to get more kids involved,” explained Kristie, adding they’ll be able to support those youth in campaigns that are important to them.
Mckenna added the ‘LED’ in KidLED stands for leadership, education and development. “Our mission is to bring community together.”
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 in Langford has some of the WWI Centennial Collection for sale and all items and sizes are available online. For more information go to kidled.com.