The kid is onto something.
When we last visited with Alyssa Castille, the 9-year-old Garden Grove girl was at the GGPD, explaining to officers a campaign she created called “I AM.”
At an afternoon briefing last August, Alyssa explained how her campaign aims to eliminate negativity, racism and bullying through the distribution of colorful pins that spell out acronyms of the pins’ colors — for example, the “I AM BLACK” pin represents “Beautiful, Loving, Awesome, Confident, Kind.”
Kids and adults wear their favorite-colored pins to build themselves and others up.
Since that visit, Alyssa, a fourth-grader at Sunny Side Elementary, has been recognized by the Garden Grove City Council for her campaign, which sprung from a conversation she had with her parents about racism and hate going on in the U.S., especially in connection with the black community and law enforcement.
Alyssa is half-black, half-Puerto Rican.
In addition to GG City Council recognition in January, Alyssa spoke at a school assembly in November — anti-bullying awareness month. The PTA donated money to pay for rainbow “I AM” wristbands for students.
“My friends are proud of me,” Alyssa says.
They should be.
Alyssa also has been given a Bronze Award from the Girl Scouts — the highest honor Girl Scout Juniors can achieve.
On Jan. 21, Alyssa was awarded an Everyday Young Hero award from the organization Youth Service America.
Also this year, Alyssa kicked off speaking engagements at all four branches of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove. She spoke at her first assembly, at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Clinton Branch, on Jan. 18.
In addition, the Disney Channel posted a photo of Alyssa and Garden Grove Police Chief Todd Elgin on a website as part of its “Lead like Elena” campaign.
To date, more than 200 I AM pins have been handed out to kids and adults, said Alyssa’s mother, Loraine.
The pins are available at $2.99 at iamvisible2.com.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” says Loraine Castille, who also has a 1-year-old daughter, Autumn. Loraine’s husband, Erik, also is very supportive of Alyssa’s campaign.
“We’re super grateful, and this campaign is definitely helping the kids,” Loraine says.
Alyssa wants to be a police officer when she grows up.
“They put the bad people away,” she explains. “And they have cool weapons.”
Click here for more information about the I AM campaign.