Jude Foster, Zack Koss and Anderson Kopp knew they wanted to do something special to honor the memory of their family friend. The trio of eighth-graders at Saint Theresa created a new charity called Live Like Mo, in honor of Mike McQuaid, Sr., who died from complications related to COVID-19 last summer.
“The reason we started LLM is with COVID going on, we couldn’t find any service projects to do our [school] service hours, so we started our own,” Anderson said.
“Mr. McQuaid was known as Big Mo,” Zack said. “Because we want to encourage other people, kids and adults to live like Mo, we named our service project after him.”
The boys decided their first project would be to design, manufacture (with help) and sell face masks to raise money. Word spread quickly, and the organization sold 700 masks and raised $10,000 for Andre House, a homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix.
“The boys’ creation of LLM and their mask project brought a lot of joy to the McQuaid family,” said Anderson’s mom, Brooke. “It actually helped them during their mourning and healing process.”
“Mr. McQuaid was one of the main donors to the Andre House, and he spent a lot of time volunteering there,” Anderson said. “Since we were honoring him, it was only right that we give all the money we raised to his favorite charity.”
The trio started their mask project in the fall, and it ran through December.
“We designed the mask ourselves,” Zack said. Each mask bears the LLM logo. To help get them made, Zack reached out to his father’s friend, who makes clothes in Italy. “He was happy to help.”
“Once we had the masks, we sold them to students and teachers at school, family members, friends and all around the Arcadia community,” Zack said.
When the project concluded, the three friends launched another initiative to pick up Christmas trees during their holiday break. They gave all the proceeds collected to Circle the City, which provides healthcare to the homeless.
“We’re hoping to do about four different service projects a year, maybe one a season,” Jude said.
The boys explained that their charitable missions will now be channeled through their organization.
“These boys are showing all of us how we can give back to our community,” Brooke said. “They are also teaching us how nice it is to think of others. Their ability to think outside the box has not only inspired others, but it is has kept them busy during this time.”