Riverdale student Sutherlynn Gibbons shares how she is helping her community

January 2024 - Sutherlynn first became passionate about truly putting in the work to help her community first hand after Russia invaded Ukraine. She did some research and found a group which was directly helping the children of Ukrainians. Sutherlynn had previously made a few woven bracelets using small rubber bands just for fun, but she realized that if she crafted the bracelets using the colors of the Ukrainian flag, she could sell them to raise money for the children displaced by the war. Her efforts started out small, but they soon blossomed into a bigger market than she could have ever imagined. She made and sold enough bracelets to gather over $300 for New Horizons for Children (NHFC), which assists orphans around the world. 
Following this first venture, she decided to see if there were other organizations who could use money to help others in need. After further research, Sutherlynn decided to make camouflage bracelets. For these, the money contributed to the Wounded Warrior Project, which aids veterans and active duty military members. In total, she raised over $700 for the foundation. 
Even then, her work was not done. The third charity she chose to support was the Children of Fallen US Soldiers. The red, white, and blue bracelets she made raised over $900 for this charity organization. 
Beyond her bracelet-making, Sutherlynn has also volunteered for the FedEx Family House 5k, most notably helping to set up and distribute medals to the runners. Sutherlynn’s philanthropic work has also grown to include baking cookies for first responders. She, of course, still does fundraising for her school, volunteers at community events, and helps elderly neighbors by taking their trash cans to the curb, raking their leaves, bringing in mail, and watering gardens alongside her younger sister Haisley. 
Sutherlynn has been recognized by others in her community for her dedication to community service. She was recently nominated to and accepted by the City of Germantown for the elite leadership MOVERS program. Her participation ensures her continuation as a volunteer for the City of Germantown as well as for the FedEx Family House.  
Outside of her extensive volunteer work, Sutherlynn is an active member of the Riverdale Choir and is on the Riverdale Cheer Team.