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