Meet the Kars4Kids Staff: Eli

Eli Fried is our real estate specialist here at Kars4Kids.

Hi, Eli! What do you do here at Kars4Kids?

I’m in charge of the Real Estate Donations Department. I mostly review the properties of potential real estate donations. I need to make sure they can actually benefit us before we accept.

Some properties might actually be a liability because taxes or maintenance costs, and have very little resale value.

I’m also involved with other financial aspects of Kars4Kids, like mortgages and endowments.

Can you describe your background?

Sure! I’ve actually been investing since high school. When my mother saw I was interested in finance, she bought me a copy of “Investing for Dummies.” After reading that, I sold 100 shares of Citibank stock which I had received as a gift and reinvested the money in various securities. That was my start in investing!

I eventually went into real estate investing. I was involved in real estate investments for about 10 years before I came to Kars4Kids. I dealt with buying and selling commercial properties.

I also read a lot. In all, I’d say I’ve read over 100 books on economics, investing, and finance.

Can you tell us about any unusual donations you were offered here?

We were once offered property in Hawaii that was actually destroyed by a volcano! The property was worthless because the volcano is still active, making any practical use of the land impossible.

Another time, someone wanted to donate a bad investment that he bought: an abandoned brake factory! Nothing could be developed on that land because of all the industrial waste.

What do you do for fun?

I like reading. I have a subscription to “The Economist,” which I read scrupulously. I also enjoy learning about science and technology.

In my off-time I like to spend time with my family and find quiet spots for contemplation.

Thank you, Eli!

Kids Helping Kars4Kids!

We at Kars4Kids were quite surprised when we received a check in the mail from the 5th grade class at SAR Academy, in Riverdale, NY, for the sum of $900! Together with the check, they sent us a letter explaining the generous gift:

“Dear Kars For Kids,SAR Academy letter

The 5th graders and student leaders at SAR Academy chose your organization to donate money [to]. Your organization was chosen because of the difference you make in our community. In addition, some of our fellow students have been helped by you and other students have been inspired by the amazing work you do. It is powerful for kids to raise money to help other kids and their families. We hope this money helps your organization grow.”

It turns out, the $900 was raised exclusively through collecting pennies. Penny by penny by penny – 90,000 times!

We spoke with the class on Skype and told them about our programs. Our camp administrator, Abraham Krawiec, then addressed the students and spoke about how they should always strive to be on the giving side rather than the receiving side.

Thank you SAR Academy students, and thanks to everyone that gave their pennies!

Meet the Kars4Kids Staff: Dorit

Dorit is a customer service rep here at Kars4Kids!

Can you please describe what you do here at Kars 4 Kids?

I help people donate their cars and I answer their questions and concerns. I also try to resolve any issues that may crop up in the donation process, like assisting donors to get in touch with the towing company and arranging expedited pickups.

What qualities do you bring to Kars4Kids? How are you unique?

I take responsibility! When there’s an issue that needs attention, I make sure it gets resolved and I don’t just pass it along to someone else. I also try to be available to take as many calls as I can.

I also have a sense of humor and I am a good conversationalist. My goal is to give the donor a memorable donation experience. I crack jokes, and when appropriate, I’m emotionally supportive as well.

I make sure that the donors realize how much their car means to us and to the kids. This gives donors a great feeling about donating their vehicle. I want to hear those smiles through the phone wires!

What do you like about working for Kars4Kids?

I like the work environment here! It’s fun and exciting.

It’s also especially meaningful to hear about the fruits of my hard work and how the donations benefit kids nationwide. When I hear about the success stories, the families and kids who were positively impacted by our programs, I feel great to be a part of this special organization!

Any strange or funny stories you’ve encountered working here?

A woman was once desperate to retrieve an item from the car that she donated. Of course, I told her that I’ll do my best to help her. When I asked her to describe the item, she told me it was a stick!

I guess we wouldn’t have much use for that!  What do like doing in your free time?

I love shopping, traveling and going out to eat.  I don’t get to do these very often (since my little boy demands a lot of my attention!), but it’s a treat when I get a chance!

Any hobbies or interests?

I’m interested in writing and editing, and I try to write a bit in my spare time. My area of expertise is academic writing and research papers, so I like to help friends with their schoolwork and speech-writing.

I also appreciate well-written literature. I use my kindle a lot!

Thank you, Dorit. It’s been a pleasure!

Kars4Kids Staff: Meet Sarah

Sarah has been with Kars4Kids for nearly two years.  One of our great donation specialists, she graciously agreed to an interview!

Hi Sarah! What is it that you do here at Kars4Kids?

Basically, I take donations over the phone, and “chat” with our donors on our website. In general, I’m part of the customer service team here at Kars4Kids.

How do your personal qualities help you do such a great job here?

Well, I think my ability to focus on the task at hand helps a lot.

When someone calls about donating a car, they’re often hesitant about a number of issues. They’re not sure if the car’s good enough, if they need the title – you name it!

My job is to reassure the donors and guide the conversation to the right place – donating a car for the kids.

For example, sometimes the donor might be hesitant to donate his car because he’s so attached to it! Like, it might have been his grandfather’s or something. My job is to reassure him that he’s making the right decision by giving it to Kars4Kids.

And what do you especially enjoy about working for Kars4Kids?

I like the fact that I can use my particular talents for something worthwhile! I feel like I’m good at what I do, and that’s very important.

I also really enjoy the work environment around here. I always feel like there’s someone who “has my back,” and I can rely on my co-workers to help finish the job.

Working here has taught me the importance of teamwork! It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a group is working toward one goal.

Do you have any outside interests?

Well, I like writing, the creative kind. I like writing short stories and poetry.

Hmm, maybe you can post something on our blog…!

And what do you like to do for fun?

I like nature, taking long walks in the park and visiting well-kept gardens. Aquariums and beaches are also a favorite of mine. I guess I like quieter things rather than thrilling adventures! I also enjoy socializing, baking and cooking.

To me, the truly important things in life are friends and family. Spending time with them gives me a warm feeling of support and connection.

Sarah, thank you so much for your time!

Kars4Kids Staff: Meet Rebecca

Rebecca is one of our busy customer service reps here at Kars4Kids. Fortunately for us, she found time for a short interview!

Hi, Rebecca. Can you please describe what you do here?

I take calls from potential donors. I do my best to help make the donation process as easy, smooth, and meaningful as possible for every caller.

What is your unique contribution to Kars4Kids?

I am one of the more experienced reps at Kars4Kids. I’m very good at establishing a positive rapport with a potential donor. I have an ear for listening and I try hard to address any concerns they may have.

In an automated world like ours I think it’s nice that the donor has the benefit of personalized customer service and the name of a person to call if they need anything.

What is the most fun thing about working for Kars4Kids?

Every call is a completely new experience since every car has its own story. One donor is giving the car that belonged to their parent, spouse, or other close relative. Another donor might be a member of the armed forces who is being stationed overseas. Or someone might be a donating a car that was simply used to the max with very colorful history. Obviously, these donors can be quite sentimental. I really enjoy making these donors feel their particular car has found a worthy new home.

Do you have any interesting stories?

Yes! Someone donated a car to us that happened to be nearly identical to their neighbors’. When the driver showed up, he accidentally took the neighbors’ car! Of course, as soon as we realized what happened I called the neighbor to apologize and assure her that we will return the car right away. I was anticipating a conversation with very annoyed person, but she actually told us we can keep the car! She said she was thinking about donating anyway.

Another memorable call I received was from parents whose daughter ran away from home with their car! They lived in Scottsdale, AZ, and they located their daughter in Philadelphia. They wanted their daughter to fly home, but they didn’t know what to do about the car. They decided that the best solution was to donate it to us. We were able to pick up the car directly from the airport and allowed them to mail us the paperwork.

What do you enjoy learning about?

Everything to do with Southwestern culture. We have a vacation home in Tucson, AZ. I love learning about the history of the place, its culture and its art. My husband majored in History, so having him on our trips makes them really interesting.

What do you like to do on your off-time?

Shopping and the library! My 12 year old daughter is very fashion-conscious and so she drags me to all the so-called “cool” stores! I am lucky that she gave up trying to give me a makeover a while ago! The library is another favorite place of ours as we are both avid readers.

Really? What type of books do you enjoy?

I really like thrillers and mysteries.

Currently my favorite book is “The Answer Man,” by Roy Johanson.

Thank you, Rebecca, for your time and for a fascinating interview!

Meet the Kars4Kids Team: Faigy

Enthusiastic and fun, Faigy is an integral member of our customer service team.

Can you describe what you do here?

Faigy: My job at Kars4Kids is mostly receiving donations, and making sure that the process is smooth and easy for our donors. This includes answering calls, chatting online, and following through with each donation to make sure that everything was taken care of efficiently.

When my phone rings, I hope that it’s a new donation, as each donation greatly benefits our children. If the caller has already donated, my job is to see what they need and try to assist as best as I can.

How do you contribute to Kars4Kids?

I love interacting and connecting with people! When I answer the phone, I am given the opportunity to do the things I love the most. Being open, friendly, cheerful and helpful gives me so much energy!

We can almost feel that energy now! What would you say is the most fun thing about working for Kars4Kids?

I love speaking to people all over the country with different accents. It’s like a game trying to figure out which region the donor is coming from, and then getting the answer when taking down their number and address! I get better and better at it.

And because I love connecting with people, I really find it interesting when my donors tell me about themselves. For example, a donor had a fire in his home and was helped by kind people, so he’s “giving back” by donating to charities.

What is the strangest story you’ve encountered working here?

Well, there was an instance where a donor emailed me requesting that I call him so that we can discuss donating his property. I gave him a call, and asked him if it was a convenient time to talk. He told me that he’s actually hanging from a building a few hundred feet off the ground and requested a call later on. I’ve followed up with him over a period of about three months through phone and email, but I was never able to reach him since that initial correspondence. I hope he got down!

If that is not strange, I don’t know what is.

That is kind of strange! And what do you love doing most in general?

I really enjoy interacting with people. I love hearing about people’s life experiences, because I see how that affects their perspective on life. Why have to go through life learning things on your own when you can also learn from other people’s experiences and gain so much?

I also love shopping, going out with friends, reading and just taking it easy!

Finally, tell us one value you consider very important.

From my experiences, I see how important it is to make someone’s day more pleasant. A smile, a nice comment, being sympathetic, or even a joke, can make a person’s day.

Thanks Faigy!

Meet the Kars4Kids Team: Fay

It’s only been a year since Fay joined Kars4Kids, but with her ever-present smile and upbeat attitude, she quickly became a fay-vorite (groan).

Describe what you do at Kars4Kids?

Fay: The bulk of my work here is answering the chat inquiries on our website. Unofficially, I’m known as the “Chief Chatter.” I also deal with donation inquiries via phone and email.

How do you contribute uniquely to Kars4Kids?

Well, I’m really good at multitasking. I can do a lot at once. I’m also very friendly, and I’m caring and sympathetic.

I’ll give you an example. Someone once called to donate her deceased son’s car. When the tow truck arrived, she became so distraught at seeing her son’s car towed away, she called me to say she was changing her mind! I gave the driver permission to leave without the car and reassured her that we’d take her donation whenever she was ready.

More recently, I got a call from a donor in near hysterics. She couldn’t find any paperwork for her car, and she was in the process of moving while simultaneously being a caretaker. In addition, she doesn’t use the internet and would have to physically go to the DMV to fill out a form. She was so overwhelmed she literally began crying on the phone.

I was able to get the towing company to agree to bring the paperwork for her to sign and to take care of her DMV issue too. Needless to say, she was relieved and gratified!

What do you enjoy about working at Kars4Kids?

The atmosphere around here is very friendly. Plus, the managers really care about us and go the extra mile to make us happy.

What do you feel you are learning by working here? 

Well, for one, I get to brush up on my Spanish! I took two years of Spanish in school, so when a Spanish speaker calls us, I’m able to help and simultaneously get some real-world Spanish practice.

I’m also learning valuable people skills, particularly how to deal with people who are upset. Sometimes you have to know how to just bite your tongue!

Do you have any hobbies or interests? 

I like helping people. I cook and shop for friends who need a hand.

I also enjoy reading about psychology, abnormal and clinical psychology in particular. I wouldn’t want to be a therapist professionally though. I think it can be a very depressing job. You hear about people’s problems all day and don’t necessarily see clients getting better. They don’t always even want to get better.

What do you do on your time off?

I’m a mother, so that doesn’t give me too much time off! But I like cooking and shopping for people.

Cooking– what’s your specialty?

Moroccan fish. I also like going for walks and hikes. I find watching my son play at the beach relaxing.

Thanks for sharing with us Fay!