Sixteen-year-old Hayley Falk is not your average teenager.
Though like many of her peers, she spends a lot of time blogging online, Falk’s goal isn’t to share news about her newest purchase or trip with the family. Instead, she is using her social platform to bring attention and awareness to an issue about which she and her family are incredibly passionate.
“About seven years ago, I went to my first Wreaths Across America event with my dad,” she recalled. “I knew I wanted to do something to bring attention to veterans and that’s when I had the idea to start a blog.”
Falk recently started her site, named “Because of the Brave,” which highlights all veterans and what they’ve done for our country.
“Every Monday is ‘Medal of Honor Monday,’ where I take a Medal of Honor recipient that I find interesting and write a post about them,” she explained. “I usually try to highlight their service and why we should remember them.”
While Falk’s family has always been heavily involved in veterans’ affairs — her father, local police sergeant Jeff Falk, is a veteran, as is her grandfather Don Falk — Hayley wanted to separate herself from the rest of the Falks.
“Through my years of volunteering, I have been able to witness first-hand the right way to honor service members,” she noted. “In April, I had what started off as an idea to blog, (and) that soon became hours of creating a website and Facebook page.”
With help from her brother Jack, Hayley was able to create an entire website dedicated to memorializing and thanking veterans everywhere. On her website, Falk mentions that her single goal is “to honor our current and former service members,” which, she believes, is something more local youths could spend time doing.
Jeff Falk has been a big supporter of veterans locally, and has spearheaded several activities and programs, including the Medal of Honor education program in Cheshire’s schools. When he heard about Hayley’s new project, he was shocked.
“Everything I do, I try to do with and for my kids,” he began. “When I learned about Hayley’s website, I honestly had no idea what it was, but I really couldn’t be prouder that she is making this entirely her own.”
Falk got the idea for the blog from a college student in Chicago, who began a charity dedicated to thanking local veterans in her area — something Falk hopes to eventually begin in Cheshire.
When Falk launched her blog and Facebook page in November, she and her family had no clue how big it would become.
“When she got 100 followers, she thought she may want to do something special for when she hit 250, and then she hit 250 that night,” said Jeff Falk, laughing. “And then we thought we would do something for when she got to 500, and then that happened so quickly, too.”
Currently, the Facebook page for “Because of the Brave” has about 1,300 followers, and continues to gain more everyday.
“I really want to turn this into a nonprofit organization which can help veterans,” Falk said. “I want to reach out to other veterans’ organizations, too, and partner with them — really anything to get the word out.”
Visit Falk’s website at https://www.bcofthebrave.org/, and her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bcofthebrave/.