As a single mother, Andrea Blackstone has always been careful to remind her seven-year-old son Tyler, that the sky is the limit. Blackstone says Tyler knows he has her support and the youngster continues to display a willingness to work at what he wants.
“I never want him to make excuses for not meeting his potential. He has grown up traveling with me on work assignments, while I juggled many concerns independently and I think that my desire to be the very best mom that I can be led Tyler to be a go-getter, too,” Blackstone said.
Tyler continues to prove he is not only a go-getter but he is an amazing philanthropist.
In partnership with the Maryland Center for Veteran’s Education and Training (MCVET), Tyler and the online mattress store, Leesa Sleeps, have donated 125 mattresses and 250 pillows to help homeless veterans have a place to rest comfortably at night. This is the second such partnership involving Tyler.
"Leesa is honored to continue our partnership with MCVET to give our country's heroes a better night's rest. We partnered with MCVET because they are building better tomorrows for the homeless veterans they serve, we hope our mattresses get to play a role in that," said Jen-Ai Notman, Head of Social Impact at Leesa.
“I think the partnership with Leesa and MCVET is important because the veterans should get a good night’s sleep,” said Tyler, who is known for wearing a cape when filling “Hero Bags” of goods to help veterans. “I also think that it’s important that they wake up refreshed and ready to do what they need to do to get back on their feet.”
Tyler has also raised tens of thousands of dollars through Go Fund Me campaigns for homeless veterans.
“I am extremely proud of Tyler for thinking of others at a young age, and for wanting to take action,” said Blackstone, who taught her son about the plight of homeless veterans back in 2015.
“When I showed a YouTube video to Tyler about veterans, when he was four, I never expected him to tell me that he wanted to help them. I simply wanted to plant seeds of gratitude in him, but I suppose that wanting to help others is something that he inherited,” said Blackstone who comes from a family of veterans.
“It is easy to talk about what we do not like in life, but doing something about injustices, social issues, or volunteering requires action and hard work,” Blackstone said. “Since the age of four, Tyler wanted to help veterans and other kids who needed or wanted free books. His level of commitment to improve his projects, and the impact that he is making, reminds me that each individual has different capabilities and gifts.”
Tyler is unafraid to embrace “what God put in his heart to do, even when it is hard or if it seems impossible,” Blackstone said. “Even when people doubted him, he learned to deal with it and keep going. He taught me a thing or two about having better faith”
For his part, Tyler says it’s important for others who may want to assist to understand that money shouldn’t be a deterrent.
“You don’t have to have a lot of money to make a difference,” Tyler said. “You can ask a parent or adult to help you to get started if you’re a child. If you’re an adult, you can start off by giving small things such as deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste by taking it to homeless veterans and local shelters.”
Additionally, Tyler believes fundraising through crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe can be an option.
“You can always do something good, no matter what,” he said.
Jen-Ai Notman, Head of Social Impact at Leesa regarding our event: "Leesa is honored to continue our partnership with MCVET to give our country's heroes a better night's rest. We partnered with MCVET because they are building better tomorrows for the homeless veterans they serve, we hope our mattresses get to play a role in that."