Two Grade 10 Students Delivered Donated Gifts to Retirement Homes in Waterloo

Ellen B. (left), and Leya O. (right), waiting for donated gifts to arrive. Photo taken from Aiuto’s Instagram.

Two grade 10 students delivered more than 50 gifts to seniors at Chartwell in Waterloo and Village at University Gates  retirement homes last Monday to test out their idea for a new app.

Leya O. and Ellen B., at WCI and Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute respectively, have created a service called Aiuto. It was made for a technology and entrepreneurship competition for girls called Technovation.

It works by having people who need help request specific items, which donors will then be able to see and provide. In its finished state, the app will connect donors with those who are in need. 

This year’s project is a repurposing of what they worked on in 2019, which was intended to help with disaster relief by connecting different organizations with one another. For this version of the project, they decided to focus more on donor-organization relationship.

They started working on this project in September, focusing on the business aspects of the project for the first half of the year, so that the designing of the app come January would be well-informed. For this test, the service was provided through their website.

The girls got in contact with Chartwell and Village at University Gates, and they discussed what gifts should be requested. They decided on chocolates and other candies, games, blankets, male and female toiletry kits, as well as a cash option.

They ended up receiving 51 donations, which was way more than either of them expected.

The gifts were dropped off on Friday, December 11th. Over the weekend they used the cash donations to buy the remaining gifts, and then they wrapped all of the presents. Gifts were delivered on Monday, December 14th.

Ellen B. (left) and Leya O. (right) wrapping donated and purchased gifts to be delivered to retirement homes. Photo taken from Aiuto’s Instagram.

Due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19, Leya and Ellen were not allowed to go into the building, but they will be sent pictures of the gifts being opened to put up on their website.

Any extra donations  will be going to a local homeless shelter for women.

The pair talked about how this test taught them a lot about donor behaviour. One aspect of this is that having people jump between platforms is not a good thing.

Ellen remarked that transparency is important for donors: “People are more willing to give money if they say where it’s going to. You need to keep that personal connection, that link.”

Leya added that donors are also more willing to donate if the donation process is easier, which is why having a cash option is useful, since donors will not have to go out and buy gifts themselves.

“What we’ve learned for our app is that we’ve got to keep the payment options on the app, and that people are actually more giving than you think,” said Leya,  “you just need the marketing, and you need to show them that the money is going to the right place.”

Once the app is finished, they hope to get a few partners to help them out, and then “get it out there, and try and put it in an actual situation where it can be used and hopefully help people.”

Leya and Ellen have agreed to continue working on this project beyond the end of this school year. They may submit it into competitions other than Technovation, and maybe turn it into a non-profit organization.

Featured photo taken from Aiuto’s Instagram.