How has 4Kids of South Florida grown since beginning 15 years ago?
4KIDS of South Florida is celebrating its 15-year anniversary of caring for over 17,000 abused and neglected children and youth. In a relative short period of time, 4KIDS has grown to be one of the largest foster care agencies in Broward County and continues to grow in Palm Beach County.
BFF began as an agency serving 17.5 year olds and providing educational support as they prepared to age-out of the foster care system. In the past few years we have adjusted our program to include students as young as 8th graders, for two main purposes: to have the time necessary to build a relationship that will remain strong through the aging-out process and to avoid commonly seen problems typically encountered by high school students in foster care such as low GPAs and the need for credit recovery.
At a tour of SafePlace 4KIDS recently, representatives from the three nonprofits celebrated the synergy of their connection which will better serve children entering and those already navigating the government foster care system in South Florida.
In a recent interview with the Literary Coalition of Palm Beach County, here is what Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Jeanne Heavilin had to say about the past, present and future of the organization.
The primary focus of the Literacy Coalition in 1989, when it was founded, was on adult literacy. That is always our base as we know the best way to educate children is to ensure that their parents are fluent readers. However, to meet our goal that all adults and children in Palm Beach County read well, we have realized that many diverse programs are needed to reach everyone. Also, in the past twenty years, the need to teach English literacy, in addition to basic reading skills, has increased significantly.
ESPN Boca Raton Bowl
2014 Holiday Gift Drive
Show Your Spirit and Make a Wish Come True
It’s that time of the season to show your Spirit of Giving. The 13th Annual Holiday Gift Drive will ensure that the holiday wishes of over 4,500 local children come true. The Spirit of Giving Network, in partnership with the Junior League of Boca Raton, are working with 35 agencies to provide toys to needy children in Palm Beach County.�
The Spirit of Giving Holiday Gift Drive is the leading organization in our community granting holiday wishes to children; it is a grand community-wide project and we cannot do it without your support. This year, you can help make a child’s wish come true in the following ways:
��� Sponsor a child by fulfilling a gift wish on a gift tag
��� Collect new, unwrapped gifts – we will provide the collection box
��� Make a cash or gift certificate donation and we will do the toy shopping for you
The idea of a gift drive began back in 2001 when Barb and Dick Schmidt (Founders of Spirit of Giving Network) asked their friends to bring a gift for a child to their holiday house party. The response was overwhelming and the rest is history. The Schmidt’s were compelled to continue their efforts as the needs were greater and greater each year. The enormity of the work involved with of collecting, sorting, storing and distributing gifts became so great that the Junior League of Boca Raton was asked to partner in the event seven years ago.
We are excited to announce that Spirit of Giving has a brand new radio show!
Wendy Friswell will host Forum for Nonprofits every
Sunday on WSBR 740 AM at 6:20am and WWNN 1470 AM at 7:30am.
Don't worry about setting your alarm.
Shows will be available at forumfornonprofits
Krumholtz, Saraco honored for Back to School Bash
At the Back to School Breakfast and Interfaith Prayer Celebration for the American Association of Caregiving Youth were, from left, honorees Karen Krumholtz and Stephanie Saraco; Connie Siskowski, association president and founder, and Mark Hansen, association board chairman.
Krumholtz, Saraco honored for Back to School Bash
August 29, 2012
With 12,000 needy children starting school with new backpacks, haircuts, shoes and uniforms, it was just a matter of time before somebody honored Karen Krumholtz and Stephanie Saraco for the Community Back to School Bash.
Leave it to Connie Siskowski to do that at her nonprofit's annual Back to School Breakfast and Interfaith Prayer Celebration sponsored by United HealthCare on Aug. 22 at Lakeside Terrace in Boca. The American Association of Caregiving Youth event drew Mayor Susan Whelchel, among 150 early birds.
The Back to School Bash takes place before school starts in Delray Beach every year and children are recommended and invited through charities that serve children and families. This year they had 75 sponsors, 450 volunteers and the support of 80 nonprofits, Krumholtz said.
Krumholtz wore a red T-shirt with the Bash logo and joked privately about branding. But a slide show of all the children who started school well equipped was the perfect backdrop for the remarks. Her other hat is executive director of the Spirit of Giving Network.
The mayor said she taught school for 20 years in her previous working life "and you could pick out the children who needed your care. All you had to do was watch, and you knew."
The first Back to School Bash events go back about 21 years and took place in a garage, said Kitty Lanier, director of planned giving and grant development for Adopt-a-Family of the Palm Beaches, based in Lake Worth. "So many people wanted to help us," she said.
"We saw there were duplicated efforts," said Linda Gunn, board secretary of Spirit of Giving Network. She led a standing ovation for Krumholtz and Saraco, Bash president.
Ellyn Okrent remembered sleeping in her shiny new red school shoes. "Kids often leave tags on," to show their belongings are new, said Okrent, who heads Florence Fuller Children Development Centers and brought poster-size thank-yous from the children. "You allow them to go to school proud and ready to succeed," she said.
Chrissy Biagiotti, the city's community relations manager, noted that she goes to back to Interfaith in Action with Siskowski and Pope John Paul II High School with Saraco. "It's amazing how organizations evolve," she said. "I couldn't believe what Stephanie was doing with no staff on her own time."
"People ask me why I do this. I do it because I love it," Saraco said, adding she came up with the idea years ago at her workplace at NCCI Holdings Inc. where she's an assigned risk analyst. "This is now truly a community effort that pulls everyone together. We already started planning for next year."
"This is not a two-woman show," Krumholtz said. "It is such important work we do. There's nothing more important than putting kids on the right path."
"This takes a community," noted Siskowski, whose nonprofit has served 550 children, mostly in middle school, who are responsible for the care of sick or disabled adults. The Rev. Tom Tift, secretary of that board, emceed the event.
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel