WASHINGTON — Even with a college workload, one Howard University student carves out time to give back to her classmates, and her community back home in Philadelphia.
Sophomore Akayla Brown has been running Dimplez 4 Dayz in Philly since she was 13.
Her goal was to give resources and support to kids in her community.
“I was doing bookbag drives. I was feeding the homeless, teaming up with other nonprofits. And I was just trying to give back to the community and hear their outputs from whatever they wanted," Brown said.
She recently earned a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation scholarship and opened a resource center for her nonprofit.
There, she stocks deodorant, underwear, anything that young people might need -- as well as just her smile with those namesake dimples.
"They already were calling me dimples, because of my dimples on my face, so it only made sense for me to call my nonprofit that," Brown said.
Ever since she began her own nonprofit, she has advocated for more funding for groups like hers -- that know and serve the community.
“And that's why we call it also their safe haven," Brown said. "It's a home for them.”
Brown has made her new home at Howard University and is already giving back to fellow students.
“So I do this thing called Mental Health Monday where I give out free facials," she said. "They can just meditate. If they need to talk, they can just talk, but they can calm down and they can breathe."
It's a much-needed moment of peace as she and her classmates chase down their big dreams.
“I want to help the community," Brown said. "I want to see more grants given to nonprofits. I want to see more programs established. I want to see more kids coming out to research centers. I want to see more youth being helped, things like that. Those are my goals. Those are my passions that I won't stop until I get them.”
And, she'll be flashing those dimples along the way.
Be sure to subscribe to the Get Up DC newsletter, where we'll be sharing an uplifting story every morning as well.