Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Anonymous Donor Strikes Again!

Christmas Eve -- A time of family & friends,  food & fun,  with visions of sugarplums  

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 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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Everybody Needs A Budsie!

We are in love.  We met someone who wants to honor children by celebrating their talents, and this same someone believes in giving back to the community.

It was love at first sight.


If you haven't already heard about Budsies, consider this the day your life changes for the better.  Alex Furmansky is the genius behind Budsies - a company that brings children's artwork to life through fully customized stuffed animals (and side note: many adults have decided they like making artwork too!)  It also has a social mission to provide for kids in need.

Alex talks about his humble beginnings and the need his family had for support from their community when he was a growing up.  He is determined to give back and - this is the exciting part - he has made Kids Five & Over an Official Ambassador for Budsies.  What does this mean?  It means every time someone uses this link ( to purchase a Budsies stuffed animal, we will receive a percentage of the sale - a pretty BIG percentage of the sale. This is a very generous company that is serious when it says it wants to give back.  Alex has also said he wants to help some of the budding artists we support through our sponsorships and well, now we are gushing.  We love when people help people.

Please check out their website, read their story, and use our special link if you decide to place an order.  If your days of drawing animals with that special 64-pack of Crayola crayons is over, consider sending a photograph of a friend, relative or colleague and watch how Budsies can turn that special person in your life into a stuffed animal!  If that doesn't say whimsical gift giving, we don't know what else does!

Thank you to our new friends at Budsies for being our kind of people!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Being Thankful Is Overrated

Thank you to our guest blogger for this month's contribution 
and for all the great work you are doing for kids!

I know November is the month of being thankful, but don’t you sometimes think being thankful is overrated? 

Or, is it? 

Recently my son and I were sharing memories (he is 20-something) and I said, “Remember when we did this or went there?”  Interestingly, many things he did not remember, and he sheepishly apologized.  However, he said he was thankful for the experiences because he knew each one was instrumental in making him who he is today.  “YES!”  I said. 

I have been mentoring a young teen for more than a year and trying to provide her with new life experiences - positive, healthy, confidence building experiences - the kind that many kids might not even consider something to be thankful for.  It has been a privilege to be part of her life in this way, and it has also been an eye opener.

Kids Five & Over has provided funds so this young teen can participate in extra curricular opportunities that help her grow in all the right kinds of ways, and I’ve been able to see how these opportunities are shaping the young woman she is becoming (even if she won’t remember each and every one of them 20 years from now.)

A few weeks ago I was watching an episode of House Hunters (because I'm an HGTV House Hunters addict) and my K50 teen was with me.  I don’t typically watch ‘my addiction’ when she is with me, but we knew one of the realtors showing the houses so screen time was a must.

On this particular episode, a young couple was looking for their first home.  He wanted modern, private and a man-cave; she wanted vintage and charm.  As this young couple perused three homes they picked apart each option…

·      Only one sink in the master bath (How would we get ready in the morning?)
·      One mismatched appliance in the kitchen (Need to be changed immediately)
·      No his and her closets (I need a closet just for my shoes!)
·      Unable to twirl in the closet without touching sides (I’d feel so closed in)
·      Laminate flooring (We must have hardwood) 
·      Too close to neighbors (They could look right in my window)

All of a sudden this teen looks at me and says  "Really, can't they just be thankful for a house?  Sheesh!"

Flashback to Father’s Day last June and the card she made for her stepdad. It read,

Happy Father’s Day!
 If it weren’t for you we’d be homeless like mom.

Do I think being thankful is overrated?  Absolutely not.  I think being thankful is often overlooked.  It is so easy to take things for granted.

Do you want to know what I am thankful for this November? 

People like you. 

Yes, YOU!! 

Because of your donations to Kids Five &Over, this child watching House Hunters with me has been able to participate in gymnastic classes; ski club; summer camp; basketball league; yoga class and is now taking flute lessons. 

And guess how many of these activities this child would have participated in without your donations? 

NONE.  That is right … nada. 

There usually isn’t enough money at the end of the month for the basic staples, like milk and bread

And what would this young girl be doing if not participating in these activities? Probably sitting in the living room watching videos with her three siblings (they don’t have cable) or running around in a neighborhood that unfortunately shows up too often in the local police log.

And yet this child is so upbeat, personable, polite, and has such a zest for life that you would have no idea of the circumstances that surround her.  The only thing I can complain about this young woman is that she doesn’t love chocolate.  REALLY?  Who doesn’t love chocolate?! 

One of our goals at Kids Five & Over is to find children like this - kids who have a spark, a dream, a belief that they can do anything - but the finances are just not there to support their dreams.  And our goal is that once we find them, we hold on to them and continue to support, nurture and finance their dreams.  In many instances we collaborate with other agencies and co-fund activities.  As a member of this Board, we so often say, “It takes a village”.  And, you know what? You can be part of this village.

What might your donation buy?

$20 – A flute lesson
$20 – Participation in basketball league
$40 – A baseball clinic
$40 – Sneakers to play basketball (We ensure when we sponsor a child that they are fully equipped with whatever they might need to participate in the program)
$100 – Digital Art Classes
$250 – A membership in the school’s ski club
$500 – The opportunity to participate on a gymnastic competition team
$1000 – Oh, my! 

The most important thing to remember is that every dollar counts.  When resources are pooled for a greater good, funds add up quickly.  Your donation, no matter the amount, will help us in our goal of sponsoring all deserving children who apply.

November is the month of being thankful – not for trey ceilings, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances or two sinks in the master bath. November is the month to be thankful for what we can do for others. 

Being thankful is not over-rated.  Being thankful is what grows character. 

Being thankful is what I am for YOU.

To make a donation to Kids Five & Over, click here

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Do you remember the Gershwin composition "Summertime" from musical Porgy and Bess?  Those famous lyrics:

Summertime - and the livin' is easy 

But what if the livin isn't easy?  

What if summer brings new layers of stress and worry?   

While many children count down the days until summer vacation, others see summer as a time when the livin' isn't so easy.

At Kids Five & Over we think about the 16 million (1 in 5 ) children who live in poverty and we wonder how their families will be able to afford summer experiences - experiences like swim lessons, day camps, and team sports when both funds and transportation options are limited.  We hear, "Summer is so short" and we wonder if everyone feels that way.  We hear, "Summer days are packed" and we wish every child could have such a rich menu of options filling their summer calendars.  

Summer is an important time in a child's life because it brings new experiences that help flex new muscles.  Summer is a time when new friendships are formed and new talents are unearthed. Summer should be joyful, carefree, enriching and rewarding for all children - not just those whose parents can afford to make it so.

Will you help us spread joy this summer?  Will you help us fund summer experiences for children?

At Kids Five & Over we are actively raising funds to help schools and families fund summer experiences for children.  The list of needs is long - It's really long.  Please help us put a bright spot in a child's summer.  

Donations to Kids Five & Over can be made by clicking here or you can visit our website at

Thank you for helping us bring the easy back to summer for some very deserving children.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


One year ago, we came together as a Board for the first time to talk about our vision for Kids Five & Over.  It was, in a way, the day our nonprofit was born.  We sat around the dining room table for nearly three hours and emerged with a skeletal plan, a whole lotta hope, and an undeniable bond that connected us as Board members.  While the experiences that brought us together were unique, our hearts were most definitely one.

In February of 2013, we sent out an email introducing Kids Five & Over to the world.  Ok, not the world, but it felt like it to us.  It takes a leap of faith to announce publicly that you have an idea, you think it's a good one, and you need some money to get it started.  We kept it safe and sent the initial email to our friends.  If nothing else, we knew we could count on their cheerleading.  Imagine our surprise when, eight weeks later, we had raised over $5,000 in private donations!

Social media took hold and our website, blog and Facebook page introduced us to new people who wanted to support our cause.  We received handwritten notes and email messages that said things like, "Your nonprofit is pulling at my heartstrings.  What can I do to help?"  And we quickly learned there were many people who understood, at a profound level, that helping those who can't help themselves - especially children - is an unwritten responsibility we all share.

Today we held our second annual Board Meeting.  We sat around the same dining room table, shared stories of the year gone by, and pooled our collective ideas for the year ahead. Sometimes it's hard to share stories of the kids who have benefited from the support of Kids Five & Over without the perfect storm of emotions.  Their life stories have tangled threads of despair, resilience, loss, and hope.  Hearing their stories causes a juxtaposition of emotions that make the heart and brain feel as if they've been tossed about.  We know we can't fix their whole life, or even the whole world, so we work to positively influence our little corner of the world, one child at a time.

And that is happening - thanks to all of YOU!  Today's year in review told us we've raised nearly thirteen THOUSAND dollars!  And because we were selected last spring as the recipient of a grant from The Pollination Project -- a nonprofit celebrating "ordinary people doing extraordinary things" -- 100% of all donations received by Kids Five & Over for two years will go directly to the kids we serve.  Not even the cost of the postage stamp on a thank you note comes out of the money donated.  How beyond amazing is that?!?

Tonight our hearts are full of gratitude for all those who helped us reach this milestone - the one year anniversary of the birth of an idea.  We are grateful to the people who nominated children for sponsorship and then shared stories and photos of their wide smiles.  We are grateful to the people who donated their hard-earned money and believed we could ignite sparks of joy.  We thank you for believing in us.  We thank you for believing in our kids.  We are excited about the year ahead and where it may take us, and we are especially excited to have you along for the ride.

Kids Five & Over