Photo/Courtesy of Kelly Hyles
Kelly Hyles firmly believes every child, regardless of race or socioeconomic background should have access to educational opportunities and adequate supplies to aid in their learning.
When Kelly moved to Jamaica, New York from Guyana with her family at the age of 11, she experienced firsthand the value of a quality education. Kelly was accepted into a New York high school that specializes in Math, Science, and Engineering and graduated valedictorian of her class. She knows if other students in underserved and disadvantaged communities like the one she grew up in had access to similar opportunities, they too can thrive.
For this reason, the aspiring doctor founded the non-profit organization Gears for Success during her sophomore year at Harvard College. Kelly noted, “As I entered college, I realized that I don’t have to wait until I’m this big successful doctor in order to give back.” Helping those less fortunate in her community has always been something the Harvard scholar aspired to do.
Gears for Success seeks to empower Guyanese students to dream beyond their socioeconomic bracket by arming them with the resources needed to help improve their learning outcomes. Hyles kicked off her initiative in partnership with Vryheid’s Lust Primary School, the school she attended during her early years in Vryheid Lust, a small village on the East Coast of Demerara. She spent the first year working closely with the teachers and students to assess their needs. Recognizing the need for improvements in math and reading, the Harvard alum began fundraising to support these initiatives.
She received donations of over 500 books, which she used to create a Reading Room. She also created a Mathematics Room equipped with various math games and supplies to help bolster students' interest to learn mathematics. In addition, in 2019, Kelly hosted a Science Summer Camp to help peak students' curiosity and get them engaged in hands-on science activities and experiments.
Kelly with students in the Math Room
Kelly is now working on expanding the reach of her programs to secondary school students. She has partnered with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) top performers and Stanford University student, Sherlock Langevine to co-host a College Application and Admissions Workshop this July. The workshop will walk Guyanese students through the U.S. college application process and provide insight on the Common Application, personal statement, essay writing, financial aid application, and much more.
Kelly Hyles is committed to doing her part to alleviate barriers to academic success and access to adequate healthcare. In addition to her work with Gears for Success, she is currently wrapping up a 1-year internship with the 5G Dialysis Center in Guyana - an opportunity she received as a recipient of the Richardson Fellowship in Public Service. Through this internship, she was able to help provide access to health services to deprived communities in Guyana. In the fall, Kelly is looking forward to starting medical school at Stanford University.