Debbie Aquino is a woman who can do it all, especially when she sets her mind to something. Starting out as a model at a very young age, she became successful enough to move from her original country of Brazil to Italy to further her modeling career. While there, Debbie worked as a showroom model and eventually landed her first gig in a catwalk show. After two years of living out her modeling dreams in Italy, she decided it was time to move back home to Brazil.
However, this only lasted about six months before she decided to pack her bags yet again and move to the United States. In addition to her work as a model, she went to college and eventually became an entrepreneur who started her own bikini and activewear line.
Debbie became pregnant with her son in 2004, and she sold her company the month before he was born. Debbie then decided to get her real estate broker’s license in order to have a stable income and career once her son was born. With all this in consideration, it’s safe to say that Debbie is certainly a jack of all trades.
As if all of her impressive career aspirations weren’t enough, Debbie created a charity called Kids Helping Kids Succeed in 2012. This organization helps provide children in underserved areas throughout Florida get access to necessary resources to achieve success such as school supplies, mentoring, group activities, art programs, and celebrating important milestones such as birthdays and graduations. The charity strategically focuses on children living in homeless shelter facilities and in school districts with fewer resources in Miami-Dade county.
The inspiration for Kids Helping Kids Succeed came to be because of a school project Debbie’s son had been working on. Through this project, they found out that nearly 50,000 kids in Florida were living out of shelter facilities. This staggering and heart-wrenching statistic moved Debbie to do whatever she could to help.
Debbie grew up with a mother who was very passionate about helping those who are less fortunate, so this passion came naturally to her. She followed in her mother’s footsteps by creating her own charity in which she gathered other local moms and their family members to help out.
Since then, Kids Helping Kids Succeed has expanded in many new and exciting ways. In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization began delivering essential food and diapers to families who have kids with special needs and disabilities. They started by feeding 30 families, and they now deliver up to 150 boxes of food and necessities to families from Kendall, Hialeah, Bay Harbor, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties in Florida.
In addition to these deliveries, the charity has begun working to help children who have survived natural disasters with the mission to provide food, clothes, and toys. They donated these resources and medical supplies to children in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria and in the Bahamas after hurricane Dorian.
Debbie hopes to continue growing and expanding her charity with the objective of creating a youth center for Kids Helping Kids Succeed in the near future. We look forward to watching Debbie continue to help and inspire the youth for many years to come!
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