TAMPA, Fla. — Gabriella Gillen is only 15 years old but has already spent nearly a decade volunteering. 

  • Everyday Hero Gabriella Gillen a longtime volunteer
  • Created TLC bedtime bags for children entering foster care
  • Honored for her efforts by the Tampa Bay Lightning

And after years of helping a variety of groups she now has her own way of giving back to specific kids in need. 

"I had the opportunity to deliver meals to elderly people and shut-ins," Gillen said. "And through that experience, I felt inspired to keep volunteering." 

After years of volunteering (since age 6) and being an active girl scout, Gillen had an idea to help foster children arriving at new homes.



Gillen came up with TLC bedtime bags. 

The bags allow "children to call something their own when they're put in a really tough situation," Gillen said. 

Containing pajamas, a toothbrush, toothpaste, children's books, a mini-sized pillow and socks, the bag can help kids get through their first night in a new place in foster care.

"And also make them feel loved."

With her years of volunteering and creating the bedtime bags, Gillen was honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a Community Hero of Tomorrow. 

She was presented with her own Lightning jersey with the number 15 on the back for her 15th birthday. The team also presented her with $50,000 to go toward her education and to "A Kid's Place" rescuing abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Ever since I was little, my faith has taught me to forget myself," Gillen said, in explaining her charitable drive. "And serve others."