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Young girl does big things to help children in foster care

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 4:26 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - She may be young, but a local kindergartner is making a huge difference in the lives of area foster care children.

5-year-old Braelyn Liles, a kindergartner at Killeen Elementary School, has already collected thousands of items in recent months for foster kids by hosting a lemonade stand. Over Christmas, she collected and donated more than 160 sets of pajamas to make sure children in tough situations had comfy clothes to wear Christmas morning and the reigning Little Miss Copperas Cove Five Hills isn’t stopping there. Braelynn is now collecting small suitcases, backpacks, and duffel bags.

“I chose to help the foster kids because some have nothing and I want to make them smile,” Braelyn said.

Braelyn’s desire to help others started before she could talk.

In 2017, Braelyn was named Baby Miss Five Hills. Miss Five Hills is a scholarship pageant and program that encourages service projects by winners throughout the year.

Her platform of service then was Hope Pregnancy Center and with the help of her mom she collected more than $1,000 by putting out jars in the community.

Braelyn received her latest crown in March of last year with a new platform of service to support children in foster care.

She calls it Fostering Hope and has done plenty to live up to the name.

Braelyn hosted a stand with her siblings on Lemonade Day Weekend and passed out a list of items that children in foster care need.

She was able to collect 1,200 items to donate.

“Kids needs all this stuff, but I like coloring books and crayons the most because coloring makes me happy and it will make them happy too,” Braelyn said. “I want kids to know that they are wanted and loved, and I hope they find a family of their own very soon.”

Foster Love of Bell County honored Braelyn for her efforts with a plaque which reads “I make foster care better for kids.”

Braelyn Liles (Photos: Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant)
Braelyn Liles (Photos: Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant)(Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant))

The group also gave her a cake, a stuffed animal, and a gift card so she could get a little something for herself.

“The community is going to love this so much,” Foster Love Assistant Executive Director Mary Herschberger said.

Braelyn and her family say their passion to help improve the foster care experience comes from real-life experience.

“We chose this as her platform because we went through the process to become foster parents to a child in Child Protective Services’ care and learned that so many children come into the system with absolutely nothing except the clothes on their backs,” said Christy Liles, Braelyn’s mother. “Often when they grab their few belongings, they only have trash bags to carry them in. We just hope that the items can provide these children with some hope and happiness in a situation that they didn’t ask to be put in.”

You can help Braelyn by emailing fivehillspageant@gmail.com.

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