The Heart & Soul Award for February was awarded to Laguna Niguel resident Kaitlyn Waterbury. A few years ago she adopted Ghandi’s simple philosophy of “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
At just 18 years old, the Dana Hills High School student has already accomplished remarkable things for her school, her community and even those living in third-world countries, making her the perfect recipient of the O’Connor Mortuary Heart & Soul Award.
“I am so pleased to honor Kaitlyn this month. Philanthropy isn’t something she does; it is a part of who she is,” said Neil O’Connor, President and CEO of O’Connor Mortuary. “She has set a wonderful example with her unyielding compassion and fierce campaigns for all the individuals and organizations she helps.”
One of the organizations that best illustrates Waterbury’s philanthropic spirit is “Be the Change,” a club she founded her sophomore year of high school. Given budget cuts in education and her own heightened awareness that her school was in desperate need of funds, Waterbury’s club originally aimed to raise enough money to revamp the school gym – a goal recently accomplished with the help of a parent-led nonprofit group. Now, Be the Change is raising money for new computers, and Waterbury has implemented creative fundraising tactics such as coin-collection jars in classrooms and recycling bottles, cans and ink cartridges. She’s even spearheaded an extensive campaign to win a grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project.