Hollis is wearing the “Sapphire Shores” Bikini
Tell us in 5 words; who is Hollis?
Funny, determined, outgoing, passionate, happy.
Please elaborate on 1 of the 5 things you wrote down
When there’s a sticky situation, or people need to be cheered up, I can almost always find a way to make them laugh. I love humor and love how it can help when people need to relax and feel better. My family is very witty, so I think I fit right in and have learned a lot about how to be funny!
How old are you and what grade are you in?
I’m 12 and in 7th grade. My birthday is mid-September, so I’m on the younger side for my grade.
We know you’re a soccer player, and are quite good at juggling the ball with your feet. How did you get so good at this?
It sort of happened naturally at first. When I was 8, I was on my first competitive soccer team, and our coach encouraged us to juggle because it helps improve skills overall. I started doing it, and it was pretty clear right away that I was good at it. One of my strengths as an athlete is coordination (it’s one of the reasons I’m a dancer), and this helps a lot with juggling. Once I got up to ten juggles, I was hooked, and I was determined to get to to 100 by the time I was 9. That’s when Juggling for Jude started! Since then, it’s been all about practice and just time spent juggling. Sometimes when I don’t juggle as much, I get a little rusty, but I have a pretty solid foundation at this point, so it’s easy to get back on track.
When and how did you figure out that with your ability to juggle the ball, you could raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
My mom actually made this connection for me. When I got 50-something juggles at the age of 8, she posted a video on Facebook and got a lot of responses. She figured people would probably donate money to a good cause if I juggled high numbers and worked hard. She talked to me about the idea, and even though I didn’t totally understand why people would donate if I juggled, I believed my mom when she said that people would appreciate my hard work and would love to support a cause like St. Jude. It turns out she was right!
Why St. Jude? Was there any particular reason?
My mom suggested St. Jude when I was 8. She told me all about it, and she told me that when she was my age, she saw TV commercials about St. Jude, and she always made sure her parents donated. She told me about how some kids like me are very sick with a disease called cancer, and that there is a special hospital where they can go and get the medical care they need without their families having to worry about the money to pay for treatment. She also told me that doctors there are working hard to find a cure for cancer, so that some day nobody will have to suffer from it. All of that sounded pretty great to me! The more I have learned about St. Jude over the years, the more sure I am that it is such an amazing place and that the work they are doing helps us all! I have been inspired by stories of kids overcoming cancer because of the help of St. Jude, and I have even made a good friend who was a patient for brain cancer. Since St. Jude opened its doors, the survival rate for childhood cancers has gone from 20% to 80%, which is amazing!
Make us understand how it all works typically; where do you juggle the ball and how do you get donations?
During the summers, I juggle every day, usually at the soccer field right near my house, but sometimes in different places like when my family is on vacation. I post videos on social media of my daily records and keep a blog going with information about St. Jude, as well as my records for the week. I also do special events, like golf tournaments and other sports events, to spread awareness and get donations.
Basically, the way it works is that people see me juggle and donate on my website. Sometimes they choose an amount based on my number of juggles, but mostly now it’s just donating in support of my cause. I’m up to 1,646 juggles in a row, so most people don’t want to donate a dollar per juggle! The easiest way to donate is on my website at https://jugglingforjude.com/donate/. The money goes directly to St. Jude, so we don’t have to worry about that. But you have to do it on my page, or else it doesn’t apply towards my total. Since I’m trying to get to $200,000 this year, that’s important!
During the school year, I juggle at special events and here and there when I have time. I’m really busy with dance, soccer, and school, so I don’t do it every day. I also do public speaking and especially love talking to other kids about how they can make a difference and about St. Jude and what it’s all about.
How much money have you raised so far and in what period of time?
Since I started three years ago, I have raised $125,000 for St. Jude, thanks to so many very generous people who continue to donate in response to my juggling!
What have you learned from this journey with St. Jude?
I have learned that even little girls can do a lot and that we can all make a difference in the world. I have learned that (even though this sounds cheesy), if you put your mind to something, you can do anything. I have learned that if you really want to give back, you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You can’t pretend. If you are going to do something meaningful, there will be hard times. You have to be able to push through those challenges. For me, I do this by thinking of the kids at St. Jude who are going through way more than I am, even in my toughest times. They are true survivors, and it makes me always be able to work harder. You have to be able to think about other people and not yourself, and if you really care about something, thinking about the people you’re helping will make you keep going!
We also saw that you do a lot of public speaking in regards to this. How do you like doing this? And did you and/or do you get nervous speaking in front of all these kids and grownups?
I love public speaking! Of course there are nerves, but I actually don’t think you can do really well at it without any nerves. Having nerves means you care, and it means you are giving it your all. I love public speaking and know that my acting and performing background really helps me. It’s just kind of like a practice at this point. I would love to do a lot more speaking, mostly about how kids can use their passions to make a big difference, and also about the lifesaving work St. Jude, of course! I’m always open to those opportunities!
Is it true you’re going to receive an award in June? Tell us a little bit about it.
I am! It’s really exciting! My family and I didn’t even know the award exists, so when I got a letter in the mail from St. Jude last month, and it was a huge surprise! It is called the Jerry Nicholson award, given by the St. Jude and its fundraising organization to a young person “for exemplary service to St. Jude.” The award is in memory of a St. Jude patient who spearheaded fundraising efforts for the hospital back in the 1960’s, and I will be going to Memphis in June to accept the award at the 60th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Dinner! I am so thankful to be chosen for this honor, and it just makes me want to keep working harder and harder to help the kids at St. Jude.
Besides playing soccer, you’re also a great dancer! How do you have time to do all these sports, school, modeling and raise money for St. Jude?
I am definitely very busy, but it’s doing things I love, so it’s OK. It is sometimes really hard and stressful to manage conflicts between dance and soccer, but I try to keep things in perspective. I also love performing in musical theater, which can be a big commitment. My mom helps a lot with scheduling, so if there’s a way we can make everything work, she will figure it out! When I juggle in the summer every day, it’s when I’m not in school, so there is usually more time outside of dance. I have done a few modeling jobs and TV commercials, but that isn’t something that takes up a lot of time on a regular basis. It’s just every once in a while, so it makes it possible to do that, too!
-Tell us what kind of dance you like to do, and how often per week do you practice?
I like Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, and Ballet. I take classes four days per week, for four hours after school each day. On weekends, I often have rehearsals and workshops, to prepare for performances. It’s a big commitment, but I LOVE it and wouldn’t change it for anything!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
I want to be dancing as a professional and acting/singing on Broadway. I also want to be running Juggling for Jude on a much bigger scale. I want to be juggling with more famous soccer players and getting more kids involved, I want to be spreading the word to bigger audiences, and I want to be raising more money (maybe I’ll be close to a million dollars by then)! I would love to officially work for St. Jude some day, too! Basically, I want to be doing everything I’m doing now but in a bigger way.
We wanted to team up with you, because well, you’re amazing, beautiful and we LOVE the Juggling for Jude cause. Tell us a little bit about the Chance Loves Swim shoot we did in San Francisco.
Well first of all, it was freezing!!!! The fog was really thick, and it was a cold day by the Golden Gate bridge where we shot. The good thing was that I was juggling for a lot of it, so that helped me stay warm in a bikini! It was hard to juggle in bare feet, but nothing too bad. I loved doing some dance leaps at the end, too! It was fun to meet Chance in person and talk a little bit about ourselves to each other. I wish we had had more time, so we could have gotten to know each other more. It was fun juggling with her, even though she’s not a soccer player! Everyone can get at least one! Anna made the shoot so easy and stress-free, so overall I had a great time!
15% of your purchase will go to St. Judeclick here + Use code - STJUDEHOLLIS - in checkout
Do you like the swimsuits, which ones are your favorites, and why did you like teaming up with us?
I LOVE the suits!!!! The first one I got is the Costa Azul Bikini, and I chose that because I love the blue colors and the white mesh part at the top. My second one is the Blue Currents Bikini. That bright blue is amazing, and I love how the top can be worn long for a bandana look, or folded under to loom more like a regular top. It makes me feel unique and different, because it doesn’t look like any other bikinis I see around. I am dying to get the Laguna Art and Cost Flora Bikinis next, because I LOVE the colors and patterns of both of them. I love how the Chance Loves Swim suits cover right under my neck, because that’s a spot that always gets sunburned. They also stay put and keep me covered, which is important because I like to be active!
I am so excited to be teaming up with you, because I love your suits and also I love the fact that the company is run by a girl my age and her mom. I know what it’s like to work with my mom for Juggling for Jude, and we also have a family business. It’s a great way to see our moms in action and working hard for something they’re passionate about. I also love brands that cater to young girls like me, so Chance Loves is a great fit all around! Thank you for giving me this opportunity!
We’re SO happy to be collaborating with you and your cause. What would you like to say to all the girls and moms that will be reading this interview?
If you have a passion, just remember that you can always use it to do something good for other people! Try not to worry about what other people think about your dreams and goals. Just keep working hard and know that you are capable of a whole lot of great things, as long as you are wiling to work hard and are being a good person along the way. The most important things are to be true to yourself and to be respectful and kind to others. Never be afraid to be yourself, and always treat other people well!
THANK YOU SO MUCH HOLLIS!! We loved participating with you! Please let’s help Hollis get to 200K in donations to St. Jude!!