Meet The Colorado Charity That’s Entirely Kid-Powered

Colorado Kids for Kids (CK4K) became a dream come true in 2013. When I was six years old, I began my philanthropic endeavors donating all my birthday presents to a local homeless shelter. Seeing the impact my donations had on the children, I immediately decided to donate my presents every year.

Each year as I grew, so did my desire to give back to the community. In addition to birthday gifts, I began donating my hard-earned allowance, holiday gifts and time to children in need. As I continued down this charitable path, I heard many stories of the children’s overwhelming excitement and joy at receiving my donations. These accounts further solidified my commitment to charity.

When I turned ten, I hit a stumbling block – I no longer had birthday parties. Struggling with my desire to give to the community while no longer having party gifts to offer, I searched for a way to continue helping children in need. After learning about not for profit organizations, i quickly decided to create Colorado Kids for Kids, a 501(c)(3), to benefit sick, disabled, homeless and underprivileged children.

At the age of twelve, CK4K became a reality. Colorado Kids for Kids is a kid run not for profit organization whose mission is to help sick, disabled, homeless and underprivileged kids by supporting their needs, raising awareness and volunteering.

In CK4K’s short existence, numerous events and campaigns have been held to support their mission. The most notable of these has been the annual school supply drive. At the end of each school year, new and gently used school supplies are collected from students at area schools. Last year, in an effort to reach even more kids and engage more volunteers, CK4K opened a school supply store that works much like a food pantry here in Denver that empowers its users by giving them a choice. Instead of handing out supplies, kids shop, look through all the items and pick the ones that appeal to them. For example, one child may choose a Hello Kitty spiral while another may choose something sports related. All the items in the store area distributed to kids that need them free of charge. In the second year, over 600 children from more than 50 schools in the Denver Metro area were served.

While the school supply drive and store are the biggest events of the year, CK4K also hosts a party at a local homeless shelter for the kids in December to celebrate the holidays. Here, board members, volunteers and kids play games, decorate t-shirts, make holiday cards and origami, and more. At the end of the party, children in the shelter are given gifts such as beanie babies or blankets.

CK4K also has an on-going Get-One-Give-One blanket campaign. High quality fleece blankets embroidered with the CK4K logo are sold, and for each blanket sold, one is donated to a child in need. Last year, CK4K donated over eighty blankets to Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital. Board members had the opportunity to meet and interact with patients in the hospital as they delivered blankets.

Most recently, I received the highly prestigious National Liberty Museum Young Heroes Award sponsored by TD Bank. I am both humbled and honored to receive this award. I plan to continue my charitable endeavors in the hopes of making a difference in kids’ lives every day.

This story "Meet The Colorado Charity That’s Entirely Kid-Powered" was written by Cailey Karshmer.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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