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Teen Turns Trading Card Passion Into Purpose

John Makoweic, 15 of Winnetka, runs the charity Cards for Kids.

This week's Patch Portraits also feature and .

For many kids, giving back is not at the top of their list of fun things to do in their free time.

John Makowiec, 15, isn't like most kids.  

Makowiec runs Cards to Kids, a non-profit that specializes in delivering sports cards to needy, or bed-ridden children.

"Cards are beneficial in a number of ways. They encourage math, reading and being active," Makowiec told Patch while sorting through the most recent batch at Winnetka's .

Earlier:

Makowiec was already good friends with Bleachers Sports' owner Keith McDonough, when he conjured up the idea of setting up a collection bin in the store to gather sports cards for kids.  

"I thought it was great, and it's something that we know there are a lot of cards out there that you could do something with that people aren't doing anything with," said McDonough.

Before he started, Makowiec thought it would be difficult getting enough cards. But now most of the work goes into sorting, packing and delivering them. Already spending a couple hours most days sorting through the donations, Makowiec's is looking to get more volunteers to help him bring some joy to kids who might need it.

And as Makowiec's collection of cards to be donated grows, the teen hopes to expand to more locations. Over the Labor Day Weekend, he gathered more than 9,000 cards in one afternoon outside Wrigley Field. Meanwhile he has also received support from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who said they would like to set up a collection mechanism to assist Cards to Kids.

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