Thursday, May 10, 2018

In The Room

We’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s an elephant in the room,” but do you know exactly what it means? We personally thought that it relates to something people want to touch on, but to be 100% sure we needed to do some in-depth research (ahem, look it up on Wikipedia). It turns out it means:


“An English-language metaphorical idiom for an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss, or a condition of groupthink that no one wants to challenge.”

Now that’s not exactly what we were looking for, but we do think it is a very close fit for what we’re trying to discuss: Something so big that it needs to be touched on, but is often overlooked.

We can probably all agree that if after spending so much time working so hard to make cards/artwork/masterpieces as beautiful as possible, it would be IDEAL to be able to see the final result – a smile on a child AND family’s face. Unfortunately, there’s a big barrier that prevents us from doing things exactly the way we’d love to. Here’s a clue:



Can you tell what that is? Ask most people who work in the health industry and they should be able to tell you about our elephant in the room, or should we say hippo - the hippo named HIPAA.

We linked the HIPAA to the Wikipedia page that provides all types of details. If you look it up online, you can find some government sites that provide additional details as well. Although there’s all that information, we’ll summarize what it means for us and you. In summary, patient privacy is very important, and thanks to HIPAA, privacy is a law.

Recently, we saw another non-profit post something reminding their recipients that if they wanted to receive cards they needed to post pictures of themselves with the cards! We’ll never be like that and here are two key reasons why:

  1. We figure if it took our founder nearly a decade to move from talking about his epilepsy/surgery in the past tense to being proud about it, it’s definitely okay for families to not want us to share their pictures.
  2. We know about the hippo and will stick to it whether the recipients are in the hospital or not. Therefore, any time we repost a picture of a child holding the cards, we wait for their parents to confirm that it’s OK. If they don’t reply to the usual response, “Can we share this pic too?”, that’s not a problem. If there’s a smile, we’re all set.


We’re even over the top. If you follow us on any of our social sites you’ve probably seen that our partnership with Lifetime Wellness has been growing. Since some of those seniors are in assisted living facilities and can be considered patients, we follow up with the staff before we post any of the pictures they send us. Originally, they asked if we had a patient privacy form, so we shared the form below and now we refuse to share any of the pictures unless they confirm that their residents have signed the form and agreed that it is OK for us to share their pictures.


Yes, there could be legal jargon on the form, but we want to make it as simple as possible for everyone involved! Thankfully, several of them have been agreeing recently. If you check out their Facebook album, it’s a combination of artwork and artists!






In summary, our decades of being connected to hospitals has us updated on all the details and background for patients. While that’s good for the kids and their families, it does leave our artists a bit short. We promise we’ll stick to our promised procedure. We won’t post the “Quick Update” posts that show a bunch of packages and lists where they’re going until after we’ve posted pictures of the cards we’ve received. Also, we’ll continue to encourage staff at hospitals to at least have their employees pose with the cards so you can see where they ended up.



With all that being said, we’ll continue to find ways to give you an update, but one thing we will continue to remember is that there’s a hippo named HIPAA IN THE ROOM and we’ll always respect the children’s and family’s privacy.

#intheroom #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

More Powerful Smiles


“Use both hands,” nurses and staff urge a young patient with a bandaged hand. They encourage him to do so during all of his daily activities, ranging from drinking juice to eating some snacks. The one time they DON’T need to encourage him though is when he’s playing video games!




Two key themes that we strive to uphold are that every card counts AND to make sure that there’s no such thing as a pediatric department that’s too small. In regards to the first point, we’ve discussed it many times before, but one of the reasons we use #everycardcounts is that we believe each card is important because every place we partner with promises they’ll deliver all the cards room to room. As for the too-small aspect, we’ve professed our love for some large hospitals, but we strive to partner with hospitals that often get overlooked. With us, we can send a package any size to anywhere!

Thanks to you, we’ve been growing and have been able to do a bit more than simply provide cards for the kids we cherish. On February 1st and 2nd, we delivered our first GO Karts to hospitals in Phoenix, AZ and Providence, RI. Delivery to our hospital in Augusta, GA is coming soon. Here are a couple more pictures from those deliveries:






During the delivery to Maricopa in Arizona, the staff were telling us how the kids are all so excited when they receive our cards. They mentioned how the two main hospitals in the area primarily get all of the donations for pediatric patients, and since they’re smaller and often work with patients and families without insurance, they get less donations. We’re working to change that! We believe there’s no such thing as a hospital that’s too small, #nosuchthing.

For some more background, since everyone at Cardz for Kidz! volunteers their “free” time, we can primarily focus our donations on rewarding hospitals. How it works is that we always ask hospitals to send us pictures of children, family and/or staff with their cards to ensure we still have the right contacts and so we know that all the cards are still being delivered room to room, #everycardcounts. Thankfully MIHS has been sending pictures each quarter. In addition, UBS has donated over $4,000 and 2000+ cards (2,029 to be exact) to our organization, so in order to thank both groups we donated a GO Kart to MIHS in UBS’s name.

These GO Karts align with our passion of making sure that kids who are confined to their rooms can still feel uplifted.

In conclusion, thanks to your contributions we have been able to consistently grow and deliver MORE POWERFUL SMILES to all types of people impacted by children’s stays in the hospital. Together we’ll keep uplifting spirits!

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

You Decide Who's Happy


We’ve written about it once before, but here’s another blog post to highlight our annual March Gladness competition! How it works is that we take advantage of a portion of one of our main hashtags, #everycardcounts. We ask schools across the country to join in and make uplifting, homemade cards. Then, whichever school makes the most cards that meet our guidelines gets to select the city where we reach out to for our next hospital/home/shelter!

For some background, they can’t just be any standard card. In order for them to count for this competition there are a few guidelines:
  • We need to receive all the cards within the month of March, #MarchGladness
  • All of the cards need to be signed with the artist’s name AND their school (e.g. from your pal, Brian at DePaul University – last year’s winner)
  • If there’s a tie, then we’ll add on quality to the voting – quality and quantity


Most people would assume that whichever school wins would simply pick a hospital or home in their immediate location, but that hasn’t been the case. During the first event, the University of Michigan won and selected Philadelphia. At the time, we didn’t have any hospitals or homes there. We reached out and heard back from the shelter, Women Against Abuse, and the hospital, St Christopher. Then when DePaul University won, they selected Flint, MI, which was struggling with a water crisis and now we’re partnering with Hurley Medical Center in light of that.




As you can see, we have a pretty extensive presence across the USA -- 37 states to be exact. We still feel that needs to expand, but we’re not exactly sure where that should go. Should we reward groups who have been participating a lot and get more hospitals/shelters in their area OR should we simply work to expand to get more locations and possibly get more groups to join in since we’ll have a hospital in their area? Either way, based on our discussions with staff at the hospitals and directly watching kids open their cards, we know wherever the child is that gets your card, they’ll be more than happy. Now it’s just up to you and your classmates (or former classmates if you get an alumni association) to take control because if you guys win our March Gladness competition, YOU DECIDE WHO’S HAPPY. Please trust us when we say the families, staff, and children will be thankful you selected their city!

#youdecidewhoshappy #marchgladness #everycardcounts


To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Every Child Counts

We think we’ve mentioned this in a prior blog post and we know we’ve mentioned it on our social sites, but since this is SO important we found it necessary to provide another reminder. Since this is so vital and we’re so very passionate about it, unlike the other blog posts we’re not going to wait for the last paragraph to give away the title. We’ll state it right now. Just like every card, EVERY CHILD COUNTS.

Here’s where the background comes in: For one of our main hashtags, #everycardcounts, we’re highlighting how it has a dual meaning. 



First, we say that we keep track of all the cards, but on a much more vital note we think that every card is important. They all count. They’re all worth it. One of the reasons why is that hospitals all promise to deliver the cards room to room so you know your card is making an impact.

Now, here’s where we’re switching it up a bit. We want to make sure people know that not only are the cards important, but any and every disheartened child deserves to have their spirits uplifted! No doubt about it! That could range from being an in-patient undergoing cancer treatment to simply an outpatient who’s battling seizures from their home. In addition, we’re sending cards to schools after traumatizing events and to homes for physically or sexually abused children.

So yes, we understand that some conditions may not be life-threatening. And people may think some illnesses or situations may be worse than others. But to us, we feel we need to continue to search for hashtags and/or locations to find as many children who aren’t happy as possible. Then with YOUR HELP and with YOUR CARDS, we’ll strive to uplift as many of those kids’ spirits as possible.


Throughout 2017 we were able to deliver over 45,000 cards to children in over 20 countries. We’ll continue to work to increase both of those numbers because no matter what their condition, Cardz for Kidz! believes that EVERY CHILD COUNTS and deserves to have their spirits uplifted! 



#everychildcounts #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Size Fits All

“I can’t ever find anything my size there. I’m a 2XLT shirt and a 38x34 pants and a size 14 shoe. Too big for standard stores, but too small for the Big and Tall stores.” Sound familiar? Or are you one of the folks who has an issue with being too petite for your standard store? With clothing, things are quite specific in terms of size, but thankfully it’s not that way with participating in Cardz for Kidz!.

Something that we always say when we’re recruting new groups to join in is “groups such as Google, Capital One, and the University of Michigan have joined in to help make thousands of cards for disheartened children and seniors across the globe.” If we’re being 100% open and honest, the reason why we say those types of groups is because they’re well-known and we think other groups will be more impressed if they hear that groups with that type of brand equity are joining in and participating in this small non-profit.

While looking into it, we did some research and found this article from last year called The 10 Most Valuable Brands in the World. We were pretty impressed. First, we can’t say who exactly, but our Secret Admirer is high on that list and they’ve made over 2,000 cards. After that, the top brand is Google who has made over 550 cards. Then there’s Microsoft who has made over 30. Based on our credibility and certification, we’ve been able to partner with the #4 company on the list via Amazon Smile as well – plus we received some cards from Whole Foods who’s owned by Amazon. 





Now, even with all the data that shows how we could use those companies to verify ourselves, that’s not exactly what our immediate numbers show.


In fact, if you look at our data, you’d notice that right now our number one contributors are Independent Artists. Those are people making cards in their free time all by themselves, to small book clubs or get togethers. Through 2017, these people have made over 30% more than any other group.


We’re getting cards from all types of independent artists, but currently that’s being led by Diane K in Ann Arbor who’s made a total of 917 cards.

Next up is an independent association – American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. We hadn’t heard of them until they started reaching out to host events. Now they’ve made over 4,000 cards!

In summary, we’ve seen that there have been some very successful events at groups such as Google and Microsoft. We’ve also received top cards from various independent artists or other small groups. It just goes to show that ONE SIZE FITS ALL when it comes to participating with Cardz for Kidz!.

#onesizefitsall #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!
  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Terms and Conditions

“We have updated our terms and conditions. By clicking this link you agree to our full terms and conditions.” Have you ever seen something like that? When you open up the actual terms you try to see what they’re saying, but there’s soooooo much fine print that it’s impossible to understand. Or, if you actually do read through it, it takes hours to get through it all. 


We’ve been thinking about this lately. Since we’re officially a 501c3 certified non-profit, we have to complete annual government paperwork AND have connection to legal advisors, which basically means we need to come up with our own “fine print” in order to be considered a sound non-profit.

To save you the headache, we won’t make you click on a link to read them, but here they are…____ ().

Yup, nothing.

Thankfully, as mentioned in the majority  of our blog post, we always use the phrase – “100% Open and Honest.” We’re always keeping it completely open and making sure there aren’t any detailed and/or long-term commitments. For example, if a group makes cards one time, there’s no requirements for them to ever participate again. Although our number one goal is to get groups to continually make cards, there aren’t any contracts or binding fine print.

There ARE a bunch of added benefits to participating though. Like how making 1,000-plus cards moves you to the top level on our site (www.cardzforkidz.org/participants), or donating a total of $3,500 gets your logo put on one of our special donations to a hospital. There’s also GOKarts! Finally, Top 3 artists are invited to hand-deliver their cards to the kids - #cardzWITHkidz. But all of those are added benefits and not TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Let’s continue to work together to make Cardz for Kidz! Light-hearted and fun.

#termsandconditions #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Revolving Resolutions

First of all, Happy New Year!! We hope you had a fun AND safe time while saying goodbye to 2017 and welcoming in 2018! 

We’re going to continue the New Year’s trend and post some of our goals for 2018.
So far, we’ve been on a roll. In 2016 we accomplished all of our goals -- #allaccomplished. Then the same thing happened in 2017, where we were proud to say that we reached all of those goals as well. We know you’re curious…Here’s how well we did:
  • Goal #1: To discard less than 1% of cards that mirror the ‘Get Well Soon’ verbiage or other content that goes against our mission. In fact, we actually did half of that at 0.5%!     
  • Goal #2: Receive 15,000 cards. Once again you amazed us and we got more than that --18,307 to be exact!
  • Goal #3: Send cards to kids in at least 10 different countries. Going with the trend, we actually surpassed that!

o   Cards were delivered to the USA, South Africa, India, Australia, United Kingdom (England & Wales), Canada, China & Hong Kong, France, Singapore, Philippines, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nigeria, Jamaica.

Special Delivery in the Philippines

Magical Moments in South Africa

Similar to the first time we created our New Year’s resolutions, we’ll use our mission statement to create our goals this year.

Cardz for Kidz! is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of hospitalized and/or traumatized children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards.
1.                   Uplifting the Spirits – Have less than 0.75% of the cards be discarded based on saying ‘Get Well Soon’ and other similar verbiage.
2.                    Across the Globe – In 2017, outside of our locations in the United States, we had a quarterly partnership with a Ronald McDonald House in Australia, Dr. Sonrisas in Mexico and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Canada. In 2018, we’d like to expand our partnerships to not only make special deliveries to multiple countries, but we’d like to have official quarterly partnerships with at least 2 more countries, which would bring us up to 6.
3.                   Homemade Cards – OK. Now we’re definitely going to be pleading for your help! We’re data folks, so our goal is to receive 25,081 cards. You’re probably wondering to yourself how we got that specific of a number. Well, we keep track of where every card is going and where it’s coming from. We couldn’t do an average since 2015 to 2016 was an increase of 123% growth, so instead we simply used the growth from last year which was 37% based on our 18,307 cards.


Our desire is to reach as many disheartened children AND solemn seniors as possible. We’ll always strive to get more cards, but we wanted to provide you some information on our REVOLVING RESOLUTIONS so you can help us accomplish them.

#revolvingresolutions #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedIn pages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!