WVHS Student Starts Nonprofit After Receiving $10,000 from Ellen

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Waubonsie Student on Ellen

“Do you think Ellen’s going to be proud of you?” asked Brynn Drews’ sister after she pulled her wisdom teeth out. “Yeah, I just paid it backwards,” said Drews.

Back in January, Waubonsie Valley student, Brynn Drews, had her wisdom teeth pulled out. While still under the effects of the anesthesia, she remembered Ellen DeGeneres.

“Ellen said if I pay for someone behind me and I send her a video on Ellentube then I can, then I can… I forgot,” said Drews in the video.

The 16-year-old did just that. She submitted the video and then received a call while at school from Warner Brothers.

“I was freaking out and I got home. Then that night, like at seven, they flew us out to LA,” said Drews. “It was a quick turnaround but it was super awesome.”

Drews appeared on the show and received a big gift – $10,000. As soon as she was on the plane back home, she thought about what to do.

“I feel like if I keep the $10,000 that’s not why I received it or what I should do with it,” said Drews.


That sparked an idea to start her own nonprofit, #PayItBackwards.

You can buy a wristband for $5, which goes toward a fund for charity.

The goal is to sell 1,000 bracelets to raise $5,000. And since launching on August 8, the high school junior has already reached half of her goal.

She encourages anyone who wants to, they can give the gift of paying it backwards.

“If you have an idea and it’s positive and you’re making an impact and you want to do it, just do it. There shouldn’t be anything you should be afraid of,” said Drews.

All the money raised from the wristbands will be donated.

Those who purchase one can then vote which charity they think the money should go to.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.