Get to Know Our Teen Leaders at Riley’s Way

By: Arabella, Riley’s Way Council Member, The Hewitt School

In the spirit of Riley Sandler, who was only nine years old when she passed away, her parents, Ian and Mackenzie Sandler created this foundation. Riley saw a friend in everybody, and was a true friend who showed genuine care and compassion to those around her. Now, Riley’s Way Council is devoted to spreading kindness and taking action toward positive change, in Riley’s footsteps. Our Council is a team of girls from both public and private schools in New York City who are passionate about making the world a more inclusive, engaged, and brighter place by working together. With the support of our lovely teachers and adult leaders, every other week we come together to develop and commit to plans of action for implementing solutions to social problems, like the false and destructive perceptions of immigrants in the United States, which we are currently focusing on changing.

Arabella at our 2019 BBQ Blowout

As we work toward and accomplish our goals with passion and dedication, we also have fun developing new friendships, teaching 3rd and 4th grade students about empathy and kindness in workshops we lead at different schools, and applying ourselves in service learning to strengthen our community.

The Hewitt School & The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria

I want to share some words from our Council about our experiences as Riley’s Way Council members. Sara, from The Hewitt School, says, “I joined Riley’s Way because I think people overlook the importance of spreading kindness. In a world where so much is changing, we need kindness more than ever and I thought that Riley’s Way had a strong set of values that I hope to help spread. With kindness, I think we can make the world a better place.” Arianna, from The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, says, “Riley’s Way means to me a community I never knew I needed. It is a place of support and full of amazing people that have changed my life for the better. I lead with kindness and inspire others to do the same.”

Arabella of the Hewitt School and Nora of Young Women’s Leadership School in Harlem. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

I am a part of Riley’s Way because I value coexistence, connection, strength, laughter, peace and love, and Riley’s Way Foundation presented the perfect opportunity for growing those values in our community and beyond, together. Believing in the power of kindness and the strength of unity, we are leaders through example and designers of our future.