Every year, the Easton Community Foundation chooses six local nonprofit organizations to support as part of our Change for Charity initiative. Our Change for Charity partner in January and February is A Kid Again, a non-profit organization dedicated to making memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, by providing opportunities for the entire family to go out on activities and adventures they might not normally get a chance to do.
We had the opportunity to chat with A Kid Again’s Chief Operating Officer Jen Koma to discuss the mission of the organization, and how they are benefiting their community.
What do you love about being a part of A Kid Again, and what do you want people to know about the organization?
“Our mission is to provide hope, happiness and healing, and I love that we are able to work with EVERY member of the community to achieve that!” Jen said. And that is exactly what A Kid Again wants people to know. A Kid Again serves the entire family, not just the child with a life-threatening condition. A Kid Again works to normalize the lives of these families by taking the focus off of their next treatment or medical procedure, and often the bills that follow, and gives the family something to look forward to. By providing families with access to cost-free and care-free “Adventures,” A Kid Again brings magical moments of togetherness for the whole family.
What type of work does A Kid Again do on a day-to-day basis?
A Kid Again works with donors, volunteers and community partners on a daily basis to plan free monthly Adventures for the families they serve. These adventures can include anywhere from 500 to 3,000 people, so they take a lot of time, effort and dedication to coordinate. A monthly Adventure might be a visit to a Columbus-based sports game, a trip to the zoo, a day at King’s Island or Magic Mountain, or getting out to any of the other family-friendly destinations around the Columbus area. “A Kid Again serves more than 900 families, and the families get to choose what events they want to attend,” Jen explained.
What have been some of A Kid Again’s biggest accomplishments in the past five years?
“We’ve successfully been able to expand into new markets so A Kid Again can serve more families locally, and all over the country,” Jen answered. And the expansion has been remarkable! Since 2017 alone, the A Kid Again program has added over 200 families from central Ohio communities. This success has led to the transition of a national office in Columbus.
What does it mean to be part of Easton’s Change for Charity program? What do you plan to accomplish with the funds raised from the program?
“It’s absolutely flattering, humbling and a complete honor to be selected as part of this program,” Jen said. A Kid Again is an integral part of the Columbus community and as such was an easy pick for the Change for Charity program. Among the many Ohio-based non-profit organizations, A Kid Again was recognized due to its effectiveness in creating change in the families and individual lives they interact with. With the funds raised as a result of the Change for Charity program, A Kid Again plans to expand on that effectiveness through increased programming for the families they serve and to help meet their goal of serving 1,000 families by the end of 2020!
Other than participating in Change for Charity, how can Easton visitors support A Kid Again?
As with any organization, volunteers are the heart and soul of A Kid Again, and enable the organization to host monthly adventures. “It takes 50-150 volunteers to pull off each of our monthly adventures, so we can always use more volunteers,” Jen explained. With a trip to the Miracles & Magic show at Lincoln Theater planned for this February, a Blue Jackets game in March, and a visit to the Wilds Columbus Zoo already booked for April, a Kid Again invites any and all families and volunteers with the desire to participate.
If you have a free day, volunteer to help out with any one of these incredible experiences for families, and if you know someone who could benefit from A Kid Again’s mission, let them know! By simply spreading the word of A Kid Again and their hard work in central Ohio, you can help expose more families to this initiative, and help someone feel like a kid again!