Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Someone We All Need to Meet

Have you ever played the game where you make a list of ten people you'd like to meet in your life and then you compare that list with friends?  The point of the game is to spark conversation and reveal something about you others don't know.

The first five names come quickly.  They're usually the names of people who are famous, or rich, or responsible for some kind of remarkable accomplishment.  Many of our close friends probably already know our top five because they've heard us mention their names.  But what about numbers 6-10?

In the Top 10 game, generating the names for numbers 6-10 usually brings reason for pause.  Once the celebrity list is exhausted, we typically begin to look more closely at those people around us.  We say things like, "I'd like to meet my grandfather.  He passed away before I was born" or "I'd like to meet the person who taught my mother how to sew.  It brought her such great joy."

While the top five people on our list often reveal something about us on a surface level, the bottom five people on the list often reveal something about our hearts.  Do we have the list upside down?  We probably do.

All of this is to say, there is someone out there we all need to meet.  Someone whose name should be in the top five or our Top 10 list.  Someone who has the kind of qualities that deserve our admiration -- generosity, selflessness, altruism.  Someone who responds to our Spirit of Giving campaign with this:

Our Spirit of Giving campaign, shared in a previous post, provides all KF0 sponsored children with a $20 gift card to be used on a random act of kindness from their own heart. The goal is to help grow a new generation of children who learn that giving to others is an important part of a person's responsibility.

This someone we need to meet --  The someone who sent the handful of $20 bills in the mail -- We have no idea who it is.  Look at the photo again.  No name.  The envelope?  No return address.  The postmark?  Not a from a neighboring town.

Who is this person?  What is their story?  What experiences did they have that helped shape them?

We will probably never know, but this much we do know.  Their random act of kindness touched our hearts in a profound way and reminded us that the untold story of a person's life is often the greatest story of all. 

For our anonymous friend whose heart is pure, thank you for your generous deed.  The ripple effect of kindness reaches farther than you can imagine.  We will think about what you did and what it means to us and our KF0 kids for a very long time.  We will carve out a new corner in our hearts and find ways to pay your good deed forward.

The response to our 'Tis the Season, Spirit of Giving campaign has been extraordinary.  We've raised enough money, in $20 increments, to provide ALL our KF0 sponsored children with funds for their random acts of kindness.  In fact, the response to our campaign has been so great that we have decided to continue it year 'round.  Going forward, all future children sponsored by Kids Five & Over will be provided with funds for a random act of kindness -- a pay-it-forward deed -- to help teach them that doing something for someone else is an important part of living a good life.

Thank you to all who dug deep into their pockets, gathered their spare change, and used the opportunity to show their own kids the importance of giving.

The final destination of your donation in is the hands of our youth and we know they will make you proud.

Monday, November 18, 2013

'Tis the Season

As we enter our first holiday season as a nonprofit, we are so very grateful for how young lives have been enhanced through your generous donations.  We could not have imagined in the short span of nine months that we'd grow from the spark of an idea to the tangible reality of children being connected to opportunities in the community. And, as we had hoped, we've seen a ripple effect of good deeds that range from local agencies rallying around a cause, to guardian angels taking care of the unique needs of a family of five.

In this public blog, we hold back on the details of those stories - always walking that delicate line between sharing the magic we see every day and letting young lives have their privacy. It is nearly always the case that great acts of kindness are sparked by stories of great need.   Because of this, when we write about children who have been given the opportunity to stand on a ski slope for the first time in their lives, we will share their excitement ("I can't believe this is happening to me!  I never thought I'd be able to learn how to ski!") but we won't share their full story without their permission.  Their stories go much deeper than skis and ski boots.  Not having the chance to learn how to ski is almost never about the logistics of a ski trip.

It's hard to explain the rewards that come from helping others because it's something that starts as a thought in the confines of the brain and then lands directly in the heart.  Remember the Christmas story of the Grinch who decided to return the gifts he'd taken from the Whos in Whoville?  The story says his small heart grew three sizes that day.  Imagine how much it would have grown if he'd actually purchased those gifts himself?

There will be many ways we can help others this holiday season and we hope your big hearts will find the opportunities that feel right to you.  At Kids Five & Over, we are putting a spin on the traditional Spirit of Giving campaign.  Instead of asking for funds that will support our organization, we are asking if you can help us to help our KF0 kids in THEIR spirit of giving.  Beginning December 1st, we'd like to provide each KFO sponsored child with a $20 gift card to be used on a random act of kindness from their own heart.  They may choose to buy food for the food pantry, visit the Giving Tree at Walmart to get a gift for a child in need, donate their money to a Relief Fund, or drop it in the Salvation Army bucket outside their local grocery store.  Whatever will fill their heart - grow their heart - is what they should do.

We are proud of our KF0 kids for their gratitude and kind thoughts about what KF0 funds have meant to them, but we believe deeply in the concept of paying it forward.  While we help our KF0 children find their niche in life, we also want them to know what it feels like to help someone else.  That's a tall order for children in financial situations that are out of their control.

Will you help us grow a new generation of children who learn that giving to others is an important part of a person's responsibility and that even when things are tough, finding ways to pay it forward can soothe a wounded heart?

Donations can be made on our website www.KidsFiveAndOver.org.  On the final check-out page, you can include a note that indicates the funds should be earmarked for the Spirit of Giving.  If you'd rather mail a donation, our mailing address is:  P. O. Box 4746 Portsmouth, NH 03802.  We will include in our thank you note to you, a list of how those funds were used.

Thank you for helping us as we help our kids grow their hearts.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unveiling Our Logo

Lori Decato Metz, owner and creative genius at Idea Outfitters, donated her time and talent to create a logo for Kids Five & Over.  Have you seen it?  We love it!

We are honored to have this original piece of art as a signature for our nonprofit.  As an artist, Lori designs posters, tickets, signs, logos, press material and catalogs for local restaurants, businesses and nonprofits.  Among other things, her work with Share Our Strength https://www.nokidhungry.org/ brings a long list of good deeds sprinkled with a unique kind of patience and compassion that has been described as "sheer awesomeness."  

We are grateful to Lori for her random act of kindness and for taking time out of her busy schedule with competing deadlines to focus on a project that fills a heart instead of a wallet. 

Need a graphic artist for a project of your own?  Put Lori's number on speed dial.  You'll be glad you did!