Feel Good

These Teens Are Working To End Poverty

Kayli Joy Cooper founded ‘Girl Well’ in August 2020, an organization that supplies self-care kits to homeless teen girls.

Cooper tells Yahoo Life, “There was apparent inequity surrounding self-care. I knew that self-care was a big part of me getting through the pandemic, and when it clicked to me, everyone didn’t have access to what I had access to. I knew that I needed to do something about it.”

Cooper’s organization has given self-care kits to more than 500 homeless girls in five states.


The Girl Well organization has partnered with the online teletherapy site Better Help to offer free services to needy girls.

Cooper says, “The partnership with Better Help is very near my heart.” She adds that helping girls incorporate mental and physical wellness into their daily lives is one of her passion.

Cooper recently joined “Disney Dreamers Academy,” an education mentorship program created and hosted by Walt Disney World Resort that offers career-opening opportunities to Black students from underrepresented communities across the U.S.

She recently spent four days in Central Florida with her team members attending networking workshops, learning from motivational speakers, and more as part of the 15th year of the program.

Cooper says, “We networked with professionals, but we also network with other young change-makers.”

One of those young change-makers was Elsa Woodarek, who attended the Disney Dreamers Academy from Buffalo, N.Y. She lives in a tourist community known for its skiing.

During her junior year of high school, Woodarek, 18, created the Ellicottville Central School (ECS) Caring Closet.

The Caring Closet is an unused classroom converted into a closet filled with donated clothes, shoes, and toiletry items that her classroom and her classmates can use.


Woodarek says, “There was something that clicked. I was like, and we can make a change and provide for these kids. It is not something they are actively doing to disadvantage themselves. It is where we live.”

She says her classmates were hesitant to come to the Caring Closet and take what they needed at first. But that has changed over time.

Woodarek recalls, “I took one of the fourth graders into the Caring Closet a few months ago. We have a little changing room closet, and I was like, ‘OK, well, you can go in there.”