Our small grant program is an important part of what makes Kars4Kids tick. That’s because this program allows us to expand on our mission of mentoring and educating children. The small grant program does this by helping us to identify organizations that are doing this very same work, but in new, different, or creative ways.
Sometimes, a grant is given to an organization still in its infancy. The organization seems promising and deserves some support along the way. At other times, a small grant recipient is an organization that is responding to the very particular needs of a particular community. In all cases, we are grateful for the opportunity to help children all over America, get what they need to be happy, healthy, and whole.
Over the past few months, we gave small grants to the Wesley-Rankin Community Center, Freedom Readers, and After-School All-Stars DC. So what struck us in a positive way about each of these organizations?
With Wesley-Rankin, it was the wording on the website in which it states that the community center “relies on dedicated, passionate volunteers” to assist with homework, reading interventions, its STEM program, and summer camp.
Wesley-Rankin isn’t going to grab the first warm body off the street to help with the kids, but only take truly quality people, with the kind of passion that is infectious. Because the community center wants kids to feel that passion and use it to succeed in school and in life.
We felt that. And knew they had to be doing a wonderful job. So we did what we could to help.
With Freedom Readers there was a similar proposition. Dr. Tracy Bailey, the founder and executive director of this organization told us that volunteer tutors have stuck with their young charges for as long as five years. They aren’t just building readers, but building relationships, which of course, can only be a reinforcement for becoming a fluent reader, which in turn, means succeeding in school and in life.
This isn’t just some fly-by-night operation, but one that’s in it for the long term. Creating readers, one by one. We love that idea.
Then there are the After-School All-Stars of DC. Here we are talking about wading in to help children in the worst sorts of straits. These are children who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from. How do you break the cycle of poverty? By giving them stability, hope, and guidance. This is the kind of thin line that is so difficult to get right—so difficult to find the balance between nurturance and professionalism. But we know that ASAS DC is getting that balance right. Because their impact on the young people of DC, is undeniable.
Our small grant program is only a small part of what we do. We always wish we could do more to help these organizations help children. But we are glad to do what we can.
We hope that when you read about our small grant program, you will be inspired to do what you can to help the children in your own community with your money or your time. And of course, when it’s time to buy a new car, by all means call on us to tow yours away, so that the proceeds of your old car can make a difference in a child’s life.
Because helping children is our most important legacy, as citizens of the world.