BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — A young man’s tragic loss has prompted him to help others by starting a charity for kids who’ve also lost their mothers.

At 7, George De La Rosa’s mother died suddenly from complications during a routine gall-bladder surgery.

“I remember her specifically always talking with me, always joking with me, always pulling my toes when I was sleeping,” he recalls.

Her absence was especially felt during the pivotal events in her young son’s life.

“When I graduated eighth grade, I guess, my entire family was there, but my mother couldn’t see me graduate, and she won’t be able to see me graduate high school,” he said.

It was that void that prompted the Loyola High School incoming senior to start a charity called Mothers to the Rescue.

The organization matches volunteer moms with kids in need.

“I, unfortunately, had to grow up a little faster than I would have liked to, but I feel like if I can help other people stay children, stay and just have fun with their lives, then that will make me feel better,” he said.

So far, 40 moms have stepped up, including Patty Thorington, who volunteered as a rescue mom last month.

“There’s something a mother or a woman, there’s a touch, that is not there with a man no matter how hard they try,” she said.

De La Rosa is quick to point out that the volunteer moms aren’t trying to replace the real moms. His own mother continues to inspire him even though she’s been gone for more than a decade.

He’s been studying hard to accomplish a goal the Colombian immigrant set for her child when he was just a baby.

“She always talked to my dad, saying that, ‘I want my son to be smart. I want my son to go to Harvard.’ And because of that, I want to make her happy. I want to go to Harvard for her,” he said.

For more information on the charity, click here.

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