Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taking Our Cue From the Kids

We've been walking in circles for a few weeks trying to figure out when and how to continue our mission of raising money to help kids.  Not to say our mission isn't important, but clearly the crisis that hit 50 miles south of us last month created an unspoken hierarchy in terms of fundraising needs and we wholeheartedly agreed with that hierarchy.  Out of respect for those wounded at the Boston Marathon bombing, we pushed the pause button for a bit.  It was the right thing to do.  We've followed their stories, we've been inspired by their tenacity and resilience, and we are keenly aware of the fact that their needs continue long after the media pack up and leave.

We are proud of the organizers of the One Fund for the work they are doing to help our Boston friends. While no amount of money will erase what happened on Marathon Monday, the One Fund has the potential to fill some financial holes, connect people with much needed resources and bring support to those looking for ways to heal.  Please visit this important organization at if you are interested in learning more about how you can help.

But what about Kids Five and Over

When we first launched Kids Five and Over, people asked, "Where will you find kids to sponsor?" It was a question that caught us by surprise.  The truth is, kids who need support are everywhere - literally everywhere - and they are often the ones putting on the brave face.  They are typically really good at the brave face.

All of us who volunteer at Kids Five and Over spend at least part of our days in the company of children. We've learned that children don't always know what kind of help they need or what kind of spark they possess, but they do know how to send signs. And when signs are strong, they find us.

That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago.

In a series of text messages and emails, we were introduced to a 7-year-old boy who, in his young life, has been presented with a life-plate that most adults would find challenging.  The details won't be shared here, but what's important to know is that he's a baseball player.  A good one.  A few weeks ago he took the field to pitch in his first game and something magical happened. He found he had a hidden talent and it caught him by surprise.

Messages came from Moms in the stands:

"You should see him pitch!  Unbelievable!  He's glowing!"

"He's really coming into his own this year!  He looks amazing out there!"

"He has grown so much.  This REALLY matters to him!  He's beaming!"

When his glove fell apart mid-game, we knew we'd found our sign.  By the next game, we'd purchased a new glove and begun conversations about how to support his training through local opportunities.

We are a young nonprofit - barely three months old - and we don't have the leverage or resources to make a difference on a wider scale like the One Fund, but we can plant seeds and provide experiences that have great impact down the road.  That is our place.  That is where we belong.  And no matter what big things happen in the world around us, there will always be a place for our efforts. We circle around individuals and families and create change on a micro level with the hope that those changes will have macro results.

There are kids needing support everywhere.  There are kids with gifts and talents who need mentors.  There are kids sending signs and silently asking for help.  There are kids who put on brave faces every day of their lives. Every day.  Everywhere.  It happens when cities are chaotic and when they are quiet.  It happens no matter what events, big or small, are headlining the evening news.

It's time to get back to work.

If you know a child in need of support from Kids Five and Over, visit our website at or contact us at and let us know how we can help. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Beautiful Day in the City

We took a road trip to Boston today.  It was a beautiful spring day.  A perfect day, actually.

We walked from Copley Square to Faneuil Hall, down Boylston Street, to Newbury Street and through the Public Gardens.  Sidewalks were crowded with people and laughter was in the air.  The energy of the city was palpable.

It couldn't have been a more perfect day.  It seemed like every tulip opened its eyes to the world today.

Just two weeks ago, Boston was a war zone.  Today, flowers bloomed on schedule.  The make-shift memorial for the victims of the marathon bombing had been reduced to an unmarked space with a few Boston policemen standing by.

But people know.  People remember.  People leave teddy bears and flowers and messages written on the sidewalk in chalk.  People find trees just a few steps from where the first bomb exploded and hang momentos as if they're Christmas ornaments.

People bring "Boston Strong" stickers and place them on the trunk of a tree.  People don't forget. People won't ever forget.

(Proud of 14-year-old Nick for pulling that sticker out of his pocket and placing it on the tree.  Even prouder that he thought to bring it with him.)

Boston IS strong.  It really is.  To be there in that space, to walk the streets and see the city so alive, to know the energy is real and the city is stronger, brings great comfort.  It doesn't erase the tragedy of two weeks ago or take away the pain and suffering - mentally and physically - of the hundreds of people who stood at the finish line anticipating celebratory hugs.  It does, however, remind us that when people work together and pool resources, so much is possible.

In only a few weeks, The One Fund has raised over twenty-seven million dollars to help those people most affected by the events of April 15th.  Twenty-seven million!  

People helping people. It's how it's supposed to be.

We encourage you to contribute to The One Fund if you haven't already.  As Governor Patrick said, “At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people.”  He is most certainly right.

We will return in a couple days with an update on our own mission to help people and the story of a young boy whose moment in the spotlight served as the signal for Kids Five and Over to release the pause button and get back to work.

Check in again soon...