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Teens Idea to Help the Homeless Without Giving Money - CBS News 8 Story

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On September 19, 2012, CBS News 8 in San Diego featured a story about Tehya and her Tenderness Totes for the homeless. This video was also played for guests at The Landmark Aviation Poinsettia Bowl Luncheon. Here is a transcript of the story.

A link to the original news story on (May have expired)

Marcella: A local teenager is spreading her uplifting message to those who need it most -- the homeless. Seventeen-year-old Tehya Foussat is truly an inspiration. She has overcome her own physical limitations to help others in need.

Tehya: (Handing a Tenderness Tote to a person in need) "This is for you....Thank you." And as the car slowly drives away, she whispers, "He likes it."

Marcella: This is home video of Tehya Foussat handing out care packages to the homeless. The 4S Ranch teenager named her survival kits, "Tenderness Totes."

Tehya: "They are meant to keep in your car and if you see someone who is in need who is homeless you can give it to them," says Tehya.

Marcella: Friends in Tehya's youth group help her assemble the tote bags which include food, water, toiletries, and inspirational messages like "Never Give Up Hope."

Tehya: "This is just like a little message to let someone know that we love them and that people are thinking about them."

Marcella: Tehya pays for the tote bags with money raised through her non profit called Tehyathon. She started the charity with the help of her teacher who runs in triathlons.

Tehya: "My first name is Tehya and so we just added "T H O N" to my name so instead of a triathlon, it's Tehyathon."

Marcella: Tehya was born with Spina Bifida, a Spinal birth defect.

Tehya: "I have to have spinal cord surgeries, and I wear leg braces at school, and sometimes have to use a wheelchair."

Marcella: But her physical limitations aren't stopping her from helping others...

Man: "I think that's really great. Yeah, that's a good thing."

Marcella: ...who seem to appreciate her random acts of kindness.

Woman: "This is pretty cool. I've been dealing with homeless people everyday for a lot of years. I've been homeless, I'm homeless now. I lost my house after 15 years. And this is really cool and tell her I said thank you."

Tehya: "They are always grateful and I always cry when it happens because it's very nice to feel like you're helping someone."

Marcella: And she's not done yet. In the future, Tehya hopes to sponsor her own version of the Special Olympics.

Tehya: "Use what happens to you to help other people and don't get upset about it. But enjoy life and do what you can."

Marcella: "Wow, an incredible young lady and if you want to learn more about Tehya's charity including an upcoming dance performance and fundraiser, just go to and click on the hot button. And she gave us one of these kits to share, Carlo...

Carlo: "Just blown away - just by how much she has it together and how big her heart is."

Marcella: "And the impact that she's having on people. That one woman put it great. She is so appreciative because she lost her home. But this is one neat thing: She includes an envelope with a stamp which to a lot of people isn't that big a deal, but if people don't have the money to make a phone call or send an envelope. It says right here, (reading the letterhead) "A Letter to My Loved One." And so this is an opportunity for homeless people to share their thoughts, put it in a mailbox and possibly reach out to people who they care about.

Carlo: "It's a beautiful effort, a beautiful gesture, and a beautiful young lady."

Marcella: "Yeah...she is amazing."

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