NEW JERSEY – It started at age 6.
Eileen Berger joined her mother on a trip to the Dominican Republican – the country of her mother’s birth – to visit some relatives. While in country, Eileen saw something that affected her deeply – other children her age running around without any shoes. It left such a lasting impact on her that for three years she bugged her mom to start a nonprofit organization that would raise money and collect shoes for underprivileged children in the Dominican Republic. Today, that organization is called Happy Feet, and already hundreds of shoes have been passed on to children in that third world country.
As if that weren’t enough to illustrate how impressive this 10-year-old girl from New Jersey is, Eileen also is a credited actress, musician and model. She’s performed in half a dozen films, recorded a handful of songs and has started to explore her voice through writing.
Her mother, Nazaret Medina, said she’s always known that her daughter – the middle of three children – was talented, but it wasn’t until age 7 that she really saw how much potential Eileen had. That was the year she auditioned for a play on Broadway and made it to the final five … without any formal acting training.
“When that happened, I was amazed,” Nazaret said. “So I started getting her some training – acting classes and practicing piano. Over the last three years she’s really turned it into a career. She’s passionate about it. If she thinks about it, she goes and does it.”
As a musician, Eileen performs under the artist name Eileen B. She’s recorded four singles,
including the most recent track “Heaven’s Phone.” She says it’s a song she was inspired to co-write with her producer by watching the world around her and seeing how relationships work.
“Ultimately it’s a song about loss,” Eileen said. “Everybody has lost someone that they loved. In the music video we’re creating I’m losing my father, and it’s very touching to me because it’s an emotion that almost everybody can relate to.”
Eileen said she loves to wow people with what she can do at her young age because she knows it will inspire other young people to do big things. She points to Selena Gomez as one of her biggest inspirations, and wants to have a career similar to hers – being successful in both music and acting.
Her single “Wine Up” is on YouTube and continues to get a lot of hits. She said she’s working on a music video for the new single, “Heaven’s Phone,” which she will also release on YouTube at the end of June.
In the meantime, Happy Feet continues to grow. Nazaret said last year Eileen used some of the money she’d received for Christmas to purchase about 200 pairs of shoes on her own, which she distributed to children in the Dominican Republic. The organization hopes to collect as many as 2,000 pairs of shoes this year.
Those seeking more information about Happy Feet, or who want to hear the music of Eileen B, can visit www.eileenberger.com. She also has her own YouTube channel, and is active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.