Since the early age of 16, Brielle Samuels has been working with Trenton youth. Spending time with the kids as a childcare worker for the Capital Area YMCA, she began to develop a passion for nurturing her community.
“I always worked with children and the youth, and I always wanted to give back to my community,” said Samuels. “Working at the Capital City YMCA, and getting to know the kids encouraged me to find my passion with children. So, I said, ‘Let me start my own organization in the city of Trenton to give back to kids something that they’ve never had.”
That ambitious goal led the now 21-year-old college senior to create Brielle Samuels & Co., an organization on a mission to provide tools for students living in inner city communities, and to create a culture of success and perseverance.
Through Brielle Samuels & Co., local leaders meet regularly to plan donation drives and provide services for families in the community. Although they work to primarily improve the lives of the children in the Trenton community, Samuels says the organization’s work benefits people of all ages.
“We are more than just helping the youth; we are here to help everybody because it starts with someone,” said Samuels. “Everybody can learn something.”
Brielle Samuels & Co. is a fairly new organization, which Samuels began a year ago after feeling financially stable and prepared to take on a bigger task. Although it is still in the process of becoming a registered organization within the city, Brielle Samuels & Co. is very active in the Trenton community.
During the summer months, Samuels and her 30+ volunteer team collect school supplies and book bags for their annual Back to School drive. Through community outreach, the organization accepts gently used backpacks, supplies and monetary donations to create school starter packs for the young kids in the community.
“Seeing kids not really having school supplies… I think that’s the first thing they need,” said Samuels. “They need a good book bag, they need pencils, they need pens and they need notebooks, because if they don’t have that, they won’t have a successful school year.”
According to Samuels, many families in the area struggle to provide these foundational materials for their young school-bound children. Witnessing this need during her time at the Capital Area YMCA, Samuels knew she could make a difference.
Samuels and her volunteers went to work around this time last year collecting supplies. Reaching out to anyone the group knew, the organization spent hours well into the night and early mornings packaging donations.
“When the back to school drive came, we actually sat in my living room, late night and even during the daytime. I told everyone to come and we just formed a line with all the school supplies and we packed them,” said Samuels. “The book bags in my living room just filled up. It was just such an amazing thing to see because it’s like I had this vision and I really manifested it, and it really came about.”
Through the efforts of Brielle Samuels & Co., 200 Trenton children received school back packs full of supplies at the 2020 drive. The group set up a tent, created flyers and passed out the donations to families. It was a successful event that reassured Samuels of the organization’s impact in Trenton.
“It’s more than just the back to school drive and giving back,” said Samuels. “It’s really talking to them and just seeing their faces, and seeing that these kids are really eager to go back [to school].”
Right now, during the summer months of 2021, Brielle Samuels & Co. are collecting school supplies once again. However, this year, donations are slower than before. Samuels asks that the Trenton community spread the word about the drive and visit their GoFundMe page to help out.
“I just want people to know that I’m really serious about it, and I really want to give back to the community,” said Samuels. “Growing up in the city of Trenton, just living in the city in general, we never really had…guidance or motivation…I want to be the voice and I wanted to be the change in my community.”
To learn more about Brielle Samuels & Co. and for their most up-to-date missions, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Brielle-Samuels-Co-100163031802114/
To donate to their GoFundMe account, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/brielle-samuels-co-supply-drive