Twin Brothers Make Wooden Toys For Homeless Kids
This story is part of our Choices Changemakers series, in which we spotlight teens doing amazing things in their schools and communities!
These two New Jersey brothers have one goal: Bring a smile to the face of every homeless kid in America. Ambitious? Sure, but Logan and Sam Leppo have a plan to make it happen.
“Wood-working has been in our family for a very, very long time,” says Logan. “Our grandfather is an experienced carpenter and painter. He always was helping us build projects when we went to visit him, since we were two or three years old. We just thought, 'Where can we put this passion to use?'”
The 16-year-old twins decided to direct their passion toward helping the community. They noticed that food and other necessities are often collected for the homeless, but most people don’t think about fun things—like toys for kids. So the boys started their own organization that creates wooden toys for homeless children, called Logan And Sam’s Workshop.
“Giving back and helping the community has always been a part of our lives,” Sam explains. “When we were younger, whenever we had a birthday or Christmas, before we got new toys from our parents, they would have us collect toys that we were finished with, and we would donate them to our local homeless shelter.”
Over the summer, they hosted an event called "Christmas in July," where they gave out 50 toys in partnership with HomeFront—a N.J. organization that helps the homeless.
During the event, Logan and Sam let kids pick out toys that they then painted together. They even had a toy hospital, where broken toys could be restored.
“It was so great bending down with a full tray of toys saying, ‘Pick one. Which one do you want?’ and then playing and interacting with the children,” Logan recalls. Sam described the day as “incredible.”
Seeing the impact of their hard work firsthand inspired the boys to set a huge goal for next year: They want to make 5,000 toys. After the success of their first event and all the positive feedback they've received (including their proud grandfather's full support), they believe it's more than doable. They even started a "Toys For Smiles" club at their high school that will contribute to the goal.
To other teens who want to make a difference but don't know where to start, the brothers suggest asking yourself: "What do you love to do? And how can you use that to help the community?"
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Leppo brothers' organization, visit their website! They have toy patterns you can use in your own woodshop to make dog- and car-shaped toys. They encourage other teens to donate their products to local homeless shelters and spread the message of Logan And Sam's Workshop.
For more Changemakers, read about Isaac, who held a backpack drive, and Albemarle High School, which collected thousands of cans of food. Feeling inspired to help your own community? Try this month's Choices Challenge!