There’s no age requirement for becoming a superhero. A 7-year-old girl in Lombard, Illinois is crafting face masks for people without homes to help them protect themselves from COVID-19. Young Olivia Dru Tyler even founded a nonprofit to fulfill her mission and called it OliviaDruCares.
Though she’s only 7 years old, Olivia is clearly wise beyond her years. As her mom, Linda Tyler, explained to Real Simple, Olivia has felt compelled to help homeless people since she was just 5 years old. So, when Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker made it mandatory for residents to wear face masks or coverings outdoors, Olivia immediately realized how such a law could negatively impact homeless folks.
The problem was especially dire at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, when face masks were difficult to find. But even once they become more available, they remained difficult to access for some. With the help of her parents, Olivia decided to do something about it.
“Governor Pritzker said on TV that all people are supposed to wear masks, but I thought, how are people supposed to get masks?” Olivia told Real Simple.
“Masks are sometimes expensive and sometimes people don’t even have the money,” Olivia continued. “So, I decided that we make a company called OliviaDruCares where we give you some masks to help you stay safe, including in this time.”
A few months later, OliviaDruCares is now a fully formed 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Olivia and her parents sell face masks for $5 each, and “for every mask sold, we donate one to the homeless or an essential worker,” Olivia’s dad, Andrew Tyler, explained.
Olivia now designs her own masks, based on her drawings. And she’s even met Governor Pritzker.
But her dreams of helping the homeless don’t stop there. In addition to providing free masks, Olivia’s organization partners with other existing homeless organizations to help provide housing, food, prescription co-pays and more.
Olivia’s ultimate goal is to create a hotel for the homeless. Proceeds from OliviaDruCares are going toward making that vision a reality.
Amazingly, Olivia isn’t the only child who’s producing and distributing face masks to people in need. A 9-year-old girl in Michigan has also sewn hundreds of handmade masks for essential workers.
During these strange and uncertain times, we are lucky to have these pint-sized heroes in our midst!