Kris Kaylin knows what it’s like to trudge to school in the rain without a raincoat, umbrella, or rain boots. She would have been happy to have only an umbrella on her walk from the Gadsden Green Housing Project to Julian Mitchell Elementary School where the students dodged water filled ruts, oversized mud puddles, and muddy terrain. She and her peers often arrived soaked to the bone.
After she witnessed current students enduring the same, she vowed to help. The downtown native kicked off the inaugural Rain Gear Drive to benefit all of the students at Mitchell. Sponsored by Z93 Jamz, Mu Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Purpose 4 Life, and South Carolina State University’s 1890 Program, the drive encouraged community members to donate new rain gear and drop them at one of nine locations. Monetary donations were accepted as well. In just one month, enough umbrellas, raincoats, ponchos, and rain boots were collected to donate to every student.
In addition to community donations, 100 umbrellas were donated by SC State’s 1890 Program, Z93 Jamz donated ponchos and umbrellas and $2,000 was raised. “Every student received something,” said Smith. “It was awesome. The effort arose from the community seeing a need and in combination with the school and community resources they were able to supply our entire student body.” Smith credited school staff members, Allison Hilton and Reggie Terry who worked diligently to coordinate sizes. “They didn’t just target a grade level,” added Smith. “They coordinated and made sure every student got what they needed.”
Kaylin lived her entire life on the Peninsula, participated in the Burke High School Band, graduated from Charleston County School of the Arts and then South Carolina State University. She is well known in the community as a radio personality of Z93 Jamz and is the Assistant Director of Community Relations with the RiverDogs.
Kaylin was able to secure the support of both of her employers and not only donated the needed supplies, but treated students to an afternoon of fun. The RiverDogs donated hot dogs and chips and Charlie T. Riverdog made a guest appearance. Z93 Jamz played music and broadcasted their midday show live from the school.
“I wanted to be the person I needed when I was growing up,” said Kaylin. “I enjoy doing purposeful work. It truly takes a village, and there are still people in need in this community. There are people in this community that can help, including myself, and I will do anything in my power to offer assistance where I can.