Thursday, March 23, 2017

Four



Our 4th birthday came and went quietly.

Quietly is how we do business.

For the past four years we have grown steadily as a nonprofit with a mission statement that has held true.


We've funded many opportunities for children over the last four years and we are especially proud of the ways we've helped them afford the peripheral items & equipment needed to participate in their chosen activity so they can truly show up and blend in.  We are fiercely determined to make blending in an option for our K50 kids. However, this consistently leaves us with a marketing dilemma.

Making a choice to keep the details of our K50 children's lives private (financially and otherwise) means we are not able to leverage their stories to help us raise funds.  This topic comes up in conversation at all our Board meetings and we always land in the same place.  We are not willing to exploit the very lives we are working to improve.

In the early years we were concerned this decision would make for a short-lived nonprofit, but we stayed the course.  Now, in year four, we can see that our decision is not only wise, it is right.  We want our K50 kids to step into their funded opportunities with a clean slate and if this means we take a financial hit so they don't have to, then that is how it will be.  Providing opportunities for them to be free of constraints in their young lives is incredibly rewarding for us.  They deserve that and much, much more.

How have we been able to stay afloat without any significant marketing plan?  Our donors are incredibly committed to our mission and our circle of support grows wider every year.  Word of mouth is our greatest tool and people simply volunteer to donate.  In our first year, we solicited local businesses for donations.  Since then, we've been held strong by unsolicited donations.  People get it.  They don't need to see the face of a child or hear about the child's struggles to be convinced to donate.  They simply remember their own childhoods, draw from those experiences and donate as a way to pay their own gratitude forward.  Meantime, we continue to promise that 100% of all donated funds will go directly to the children we sponsor.

There will never be a shortage of children who need our financial support. And, hopefully, there will never be a shortage of people who want to fund the activities our K50 kids both want and need in their lives.

The experience of being part of an organization that is truly doing good in our community brings rewards that can't be measured.  Our most heart-felt thanks to all of you who have made the last four years so remarkable.  We truly could not do it without you.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Three



We made a quiet entrance in 2013, excited to build a nonprofit to support local children as they explore their gifts and meet like-minded friends.

In 2014, we celebrated our first birthday with an exhale of gratitude to our supporters and with great pride for the accomplishments of our sponsored K50 kids.  

In 2015, we stayed the course.  

The early years of a nonprofit are often riddled with exploration and misstep which explains why less than 15% of nonprofits survive.  

How have we survived?  We are an all-volunteer organization with a laser sharp focus. (Sorry...A little bragging there.) By staying the course, we've held true to our mission and now, three years later, we've witnessed the formation of identities.

"I'm a dancer."  

"I'm a gymnast."

"I'm a second baseman."

"I'm an artist."

The children we sponsor often require a noticing adult to bring their story to our attention, so in many ways, it's the noticing adult we reach out to. In the simplest of ways, we are a Board of kind-hearted match-makers.  We match kids to opportunities and we match the donations of our supporters to the kids.  It's a perfect triangle, void of complicated twists and turns.  Donations come in and then funding goes out.  It's really that simple.   

As in years past, we will continue our promise of dedicating 100% of your donated money to the children we serve. We are as proud of that as we are of our K50 kids.  We have been fortunate to operate in a protective bubble that allows us to keep our best intentions in the forefront.  Even Santa recognized our work again this year with his generous, unsolicited donation!



The last three years have brought great support for our mission (locally, nationally, and as far away as the North Pole!) as well as words of thanks: 

"I love what your organization does. I would have been one of those kids whose parents could not afford extra curricular activities.  I know how much these activities can do to build confidence in children from my own kids, who were able to participate.Thank you for this beautiful way to support children."

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for granting my son the scholarship money.  The joy on his face and in his expression of gratitude is something my words cannot convey.  Overjoyed is a grave understatement in this case. Without your amazing organization, he would not have this opportunity."

"Thank you for doing something so wonderful for the children in our communities."

As we celebrate our third birthday, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all who have supported Kids Five & Over whether it be through word, deed or donation.  We thank our K50 kids for continuing to dream big and for letting us know what our support has meant to them.  And, we thank the adults who have sent in nominations asking for financial support for very deserving children.  

We look forward to the year ahead and more opportunities to enrich the lives of children.

Thank you.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kids These Days


The Student Council at Rye Elementary School, under the tutelage of Jacquie DeFreze, recently organized a fundraiser called "Mall in the Hall" where they sold both goods and services to their school community.  The Mall in the Hall was peppered with a variety of creative kid ideas including face painting, nail painting and the ever popular pet rock.  One dollar at a time, the students inched closer to their goal. All the while, those of us at Kids Five & Over had absolutely no idea they were doing this for us.  The students' hard work and creativity yielded incredible success.  

Imagine our surprise when they asked us to come to an assembly so they could present us with a check.  A really, really big check.

Rye Elementary School Students, 2015

ONE THOUSAND dollars! That is an enormous amount of money and the students deserve great praise and high accolades for their efforts.  What made our hearts fill with pride was that these were kids helping kids - and moreover, they were helping kids who they may never meet.

A favorite quote of ours at Kids Five & Over is this:  

You have not lived 
until you have done something 
for someone who can never repay you.  
 - John Bunyan

How many of us would like to rewind the clock in order to learn that important lesson at the young age of ten?  The generosity of these students is heartfelt.  We saw great pride and incredible poise as they stood in front of their peers during a recent assembly to share how they raised the money and, equally as important, WHY they raised the money.  As mentors to younger students, they explained the importance of helping.  Student Council Vice President, Daisy Helm, explained, "Everyone has a talent....and everyone should have a chance to make something of that talent."

No one understands the mission of Kids Five & Over more than kids.  They know at a gut level how alive and in sync they feel when they are immersed in a hobby or growing their talent.  They know about meeting friends with similar interests and creating bonds that come with their own unspoken language.  They know about teamwork and tenacity and all those things that build strong human beings.  They want these things for all kids and, in the case of our friends at Rye Elementary School, they are willing to use their time, energy and talent to make it possible for other kids to realize dreams of their own.

If you ever feel discouraged by "kids these days," you need only think about the students at Rye Elementary School.  They are a perfect example of what is right in our society and we will be forever grateful to them for sharing their hearts with us.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Two

Kids Five & Over  501c3

And just like that, we turned two.   Two years of building the most incredible group of supporters who understand there is important work to be done.  Two years of sponsoring kids with big dreams and big hearts.  Two years of surprises and celebrations and heartwarming stories of people helping people, and kids helping kids.  Two wonderful years.

Where do we go from here?  We stay the course.  Great growth comes from having both tenacity and patience.  It comes from making sure our actions are aligned with a specific goal, but our focus isn't so intense that we miss a golden opportunity.  It comes from believing in what we do and letting the smile on a child's face tell the story.

We are excited about the year ahead.  With donations in December totaling over $5,000, we are $2,000 away from our goal of raising $25,000 by March.  We'll get there, no doubt about that, and we'll let you know when we do.

Until then, please send in your requests for sponsorship, keep spreading the word about our mission, and know that we are so very grateful for your support.





Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Anonymous Donor Strikes Again!

Christmas Eve -- A time of family & friends,  food & fun,  with visions of sugarplums and........cash?  

The anonymous donor has struck again!  In today's mail came this:



It's been a wonderful month at Kids Five & Over with a donation from Santa at the beginning of the month, a story in Seacoast Online mid-month, a radio interview this morning on WGIR, and now this?  We are over-the-top with excitement for the love and support we have felt this month and know that our K50 kids feel the same.

Thank you to everyone who has embraced our mission and shown their support through donations.  We are so very close to our goal of $25,000 by March of 2015 and know we will get there because of you.

Holiday hugs and heartfelt thanks to all!




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Feelin' the Love

Thank you to Denise Wheeler, writer extraordinaire, and Seacoast Online for publishing a story about Kids Five & Over.  You can read the story by clicking here: "Nonprofit Gets Early Gift From Santa"

The added spotlight on the work we're doing has yielded an onslaught of donations, including donations that will be used as gifts this holiday season.

To our Kids Five & Over kids - past, present and future - 2015 is going to be a great year for you!!

Dream big!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Santa is Real


During these early weeks in December when young children are writing letters to Santa with very specific requests for what they hope to find under their Christmas trees, Santa has been busy doing some letter writing of his own.

In a letter dated December 2nd, Santa wrote to Kids Five & Over and he said:




And then he enclosed something in the envelope that we're pretty sure wasn't made by his elves - though that can't be confirmed.  Santa, a most generous soul, gave an unbelievably generous gift to our K50 kids.  See for yourself.



We are speechless.

Five hundred dollars.

Cash.

Cash for our kids.

To our Santa - In this busy time of year, when finances are especially tight, your random act of kindness has touched our hearts.  There is a famous quote from John Bunyan that says:

"You have not lived today until you have done something 
for someone who can never repay you."

This quote reminds us of you.  Thank you from all of us at Kids Five & Over for your generosity.  Our K50 kids will reap the benefits of your random act of kindness immediately.  You embody the holiday spirit.  We are so very grateful.


Thank you