Riley Fujioka, a member of the National Charity League’s Stanford Hills Chapter, has a sweet mission.
A sophomore at Los Altos High School, Fujioka has made it her goal to serve children, including those in foster care, at risk or without shelter. Many lack basic necessities and parental love and support.
To fill the gap, Fujioka volunteers with Cake4Kids, a Bay Area nonprofit that provides free birthday cakes for children who might not otherwise have them. Fujioka and her mother create cakes based on the child’s personal tastes.
“I want them to know that I spent time on it and not just threw things together,” said Fujioka, who has received the National Charity League’s Presidential Service, Gold Level and Merci awards for her volunteer efforts. “We want to make sure they realize that we know that their birthday is special and that someone cares for them. Mom and I spend time together figuring out how to make a cake special for children.”
According to Fujioka, after receiving a custom cake, the boost to a child’s self-esteem is immeasurable. She said the recipients of her cakes are typically 2- to 6-year-olds, but recently she and her mom baked a cake for an 18-year-old. Cake4Kids operates on a policy of strict confidentiality – volunteer bakers are only given the first names to write on the cakes.
Serving youth is an ongoing passion for Fujioka. She has also volunteered at Abilities United’s Summer’s Excellent Adventures Camp.
“It is hard to know that they have a disability until you talk to them,” she said of her time with Abilities United.
Fujioka said she hopes to major in psychology in college so that she can help children with disabilities.
“I would like to help them lead normal lives,” she said.
In addition to being an outstanding student, Fujioka is a star athlete and longtime member of the Stanford Diving Club.
For more information on Cake4Kids, visit cake4kids.org.
For more information on the National Charity League, visit stanfordhillsncl.org.