FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Her name is Amila Rey, she was born in November of 2017. Her time on this earth was short, but her mother says she brought so much joy
“She was a total mama’s girl. She was really attached to me as I was to her I think because I knew she was going to be my final baby in my mind,” said Linda Barreto, Amila Rey’s mother.
At the age of five months, Amila passed away from SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome.
“And when she passed I was so angry. I was confused. I was really grief-stricken and I hated that energy,” Barreto explained.
Barreto and her family channeled that grief into something good, starting the Amila Rey Foundation. Its mission, to spread joy by providing support and resources to children and families.
There was lots of joy at this books and blankets event for kids in Mendota. The foundation partnered with the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Migrant Education Program
“Any opportunity that we get to participate in any community event our instinct and our automatic response, let’s part, let’s help out, let’s be a part of it especially if it’s for kids,” said Eddie Rodriguez of the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.
The foundation with the help of donations from individuals and companies was able to collect hundreds of books and blankets. The migrant education department helped with outreach to rural communities
“Many kids have been isolated or in the home so reading or having a book to read is very, very helpful opens their minds and keeps them thinking,” said Dino Perez of the Westside Youth Center.
Barreto says the books and blankets are to encourage parents to read with their children, she says that’s what she would be doing with Amila Rey.
“It’s just so special to me to like, see the smile in their faces and their faces light up and their joy, because I imagine that is what she and I would be doing, she and my husband and her brothers and sisters,” Barreto said.
Barreto is already thinking about next year’s event and would like to partner with migrant education again. She says her projects are always guided by Amila Rey.
“We’re thinking maybe when she’s five well do backpacks and maybe when she’s 10 we will do soccer scholarships or things like that,” said Barreto. “And to infuse joy into the community without expecting anything in return.”