Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nope I'm All Set!

Often people get a bit nervous when they first make cards! In front of them lies a LARGE table FULL of markers, construction paper, scissors, glue sticks AND, if that wasn’t enough, three and a half bottles of glitter glue. Then they remember all of our ranting and raving about how each hospital guarantees that ALL the cards will be hand delivered. That means that in a couple weeks a little child will be holding their modified construction paper.

Other folks start to get scared because their masterpiece may be the only gift this child gets. Since A LOT of the hospitals we work with are too small to receive other donations, their gift could be the only thing the child receives to uplift their spirits.

Finally, there are those who begin to shake because their card may be some children’s first interaction with ANYONE in the United States! As of December 6, 2013, Cardz for Kidz! has sent 175 cards to children outside of the USA; four separate countries.  

BUT DON’T WORRY! We’re here to help. Below is a list of some cute sayings that can be used to create your world renowned cards. After reading these suggestions, if someone asks, “do you need any ideas?” Your response can be “Nope I'm all set!

English:

Frog:
·       Time’s fun when you’re having flies
·       You make my heart leap
·       Why are frogs lucky? They get to eat what bugs them!!
·       Oh, HOPPY DAY!!!!!

Garden:
·       If friends were flowers, I’d pick you!
·       All the flowers of tomorrow are in seeds of today.
·       Friends are the flowers in life’s garden. You’re in full bloom!!
·       If you had a flower for every time someone thinks of you, you could walk forever in your garden

Laughter:
·       A smile is a whisper of a laugh. Thanks to you we’re all telling secrets.
·       Everyone laughs in the same language. Thanks to you we’re all fluent!!

Happiness:
·       Free hugs!!!  One size fits all.
·       You’re entering the Hug Department.   Always Open!!!
·       Happiness adds and multiplies when we divide it with others. Thanks to you we’re doing the math!
·       Thanks to you our happiness is homemade.   (use with “jams” pies, breads….
§  Seasoned with love.
§  Mixed with kindness.
§  Stirred with sincerity.
§  Blended with love.
·       Happiness isn’t the easiest thing to find, but one place we’re guaranteed to find it is in your smile.


Other:
·       Sending you lots of big hugs
·       Wishing you sun shiny days

Spanish:

Sonreir:
·       Sé feliz.
·       Tú me haces sentir feliz.
·       Cuando pienso en  ti me siento en las nubes
·       Sólo una tarjetita para hacerte sonreír.  
·        

Sol y Flores:
·       Te envío unos ratitos de sol.  
·       Saludos desde mi rinconcito del mundo
·       Eres las más hermosa de todas las flores

Abrazos:
·       Aquí tengo un abrazo que lleva tu nombre.  Te lo envío con todo mi corazón.
·       Sólo quiero enviarte un fuerte y cálido abrazo.
·       Un abrazote mío sólo para ti.
·       Te mando un gran abrazo
·       Te mando este caluroso abrazo
·       Te envío un abrazo caluroso / grande / enorme/ fuerte
·       Te mando un gran saludo
·       Enviándote un abrazo


Otros:
·       Que tengas un día grandioso.
·       Pienso en ti.  Sólo quería que lo supieras.
·       Que hoy sea un día de buenos momentos.
·       Te envío un gran saludo.
·       Pensando en ti.
·       Un amigo como té es difícil de encontrar, fácil de querer y difícil de olvidar.
·       Que tu vida esté colmada de sueños que se hagan realidad.
·       Que todos tus deseos se vuelvan realidad
·       Tu haces mejor la vida.
·       No me digas que tu madre no es pastelera, porque un bonbón como tú no lo hace cualquiera

Special thanks to Senora Kalata for researching and finding these key phrases.

#upliftingspirits #nopeimallset


To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , or visit our LinkedIn page!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Helpful Hints

Since we guarantee each hospital that NONE of the cards will say ‘Get Well Soon’, we look through every card that’s made. 

Based on our experience of reading over 5,000 cards here are some Helpful Hints:
  1. Use glitter glue  rather than sprinkling glitter on glue
    • Glitter glue makes it much easier to transport the cards. Also stays on card better
      • Okay and let’s be honest. Our couches are covered in that sprinkle glitter J
  2. Sign your first name on all your cards so they seem more personal
    • Now that we have locations ranging from Alaska to New York it’d be fun to state your city too.
      • We asked some of our friends at Senior Living and Elementary Schools to write their ages as well.*
  3.  At the end of the quarter, keep your eye out for the OVERALL TOP 10
    • The top artists are invited to make cards with children at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Please reach out if your masterpiece is selected.
  4. Based on the long distance the cards have to travel, we do not recommend gluing on small “fuzz balls”
    • Our concern is that they may come off during the shipping. Either way still works. Still looks good. But be careful.
    • Limit the religious references or specific holidays (i.e. Christmas)
      • We can’t promise those cards will be delivered room to room since they must go through a separate group at the hospital.

Either way we can deliver all the cards as long as they don’t say ‘Get Well Soon’, but we still wanted to provide these Helpful Hints!

#helpfulhints #upliftingspirits

*From,
Your Buddy in Chicago,
Marcus, Age 82


To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , or visit our LinkedIn page!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Today's Special!


Here’s a question we often receive.

Do you guys accept cards on….

  • The last Thursday in November?
    • Yup we definitely do! Kids LOVE turkey cards and we’re thankful!!! :) 


  • December 25th?
    • Yeah!!! It’s a shame that kids are in the hospital at this time, but receiving cards around the holidays would definitely cheer them up!


  • January 1st?
    • Yes for sure! Getting a creative card is an excellent way to start out the year!

  • February 14th?
    • Of course! The kids would LOVE to receive cards this day

  • Well what about March 10th, May 11th, August 11th, October 2nd…..
    • YES!!! Those dates are all PERFECT too!

Now some may say, “wait wait there’s no picture under those dates! They’re not holidays so they’re not important.”

Our response: no picture no problem!

Although it’s horrific that some kids spend holidays in the hospital, hospitalization is traumatizing no matter what day of the year. Based on our conversations with volunteers and staff, we learned that more people donate around “special” dates. Don’t get us wrong, if you are contributing, don’t stop that is AMAZING!!
It’s just Cardz for Kidz! believes that no matter what day of the year, Today’s Special, and we need to make sure the kids feel cherished each and every day!

#todaysspecial #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , or visit our LinkedIn page!


*FYI. Dates were selected because this post was written on 11/8/2013 at 1:15pm. Those dates are all just mixes of those numbers used to convey that every day is important!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Not Too Thin!

It’s official. Cardz FROM Kidz! has launched;  our partnership with the Salvation Army and Little Brothers – Friend of the Elderly!!!

Background. How it works is we ask grade school students to make cards. Then grade school teachers get to choose if they’d like their students’ cards to go to isolated seniors or to hospitalized and/or traumatized children. If teachers don’t indicate a preference, we split it up to make sure we have enough cards for the seniors, as well as the children.

Now some may think, “Cardz for Kidz! is still in the growth phase! They shouldn't expand to reach other citizens.” Our response: it’s a partnership. Actually, we’re benefiting more! The seniors at the Salvation Army’s Booth Manor and Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly, have created and donated THREE times as many cards as we've sent them.

Our buddy, Shirley at Booth Manor, posing with some cards that she made during the first event. 
During her free time she made 40 more cards. 


This partnership touches “solitary seniors” and “hospitalized and/or traumatized children”. Often these seniors get encouraged knowing that not only is someone thinking of them, but the cards they’re making are uplifting a child’s spirit. This inspires them to make even more.

A picture of Christine an employee of Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly posing with the cards made by elementary school students in Maywood, Illinois. Also, with cards that her participants made for patients.


In summary, our elder friends are activated to create more cards. Based on that partnership in terms of spreading ourselves….we’re definitely Not Too Thin!


#upliftingspirits #nottoothin

To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , or visit our LinkedIn page!

Friday, October 25, 2013

ALL DONE!!!

What would you do?

Here’s a story from a former volunteer at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’d love to receive some responses of how you would react in this situation!

__
Over my decade of volunteering I've interacted with thousands of patients, but I’ll always remember my favorite, Penelope Washington *.

In the summer of 2005, I was prepping to have surgery at The University of Michigan. Since I had volunteered and/or worked at Motts for years I decided to volunteer as LONG as possible. During a couple special shifts I met a 3 year old patient named Penelope. There was an immediate connection. Each time I saw her she was with her mom and grandma. Originally I wasn't sure why she was in the hospital on the neurology floor, but I learned quickly. During one of our adventures in the playroom she collapsed and started having a grand mal seizure. I immediately stepped back in fear and watched her mom and grandma repeatedly call her name to get her attention. Externally her body was convulsing and internally I was shaking. I don’t quite remember exactly how it ended, but I do remember that we quickly returned to our game.

The next day Penelope and I were playing in the special rice box (used dyed rice instead of sand since it was easier to clean up). Out of nowhere she had another one of her seizures, but this time she fell into my arms. I immediately looked for help. Her mom and grandma stepped back and told me what to do. I repeatedly called her name and asked her to look at me. We made eye contact. Seemed like hours the tiny girl uncontrollably shook in my arms. Finally it stopped. Immediately she popped up and said “ALL DONE!” and pulled my hands to quickly get back to work; playing in the rice box followed by drawing beautiful pictures.

That situation put everything into perspective. Amazing how this young girl was able to quickly overcome her trials and focus on future opportunities. Amazing how she was strong enough to immediately smile after that terrifying experience rather than dwell on potential difficulties. Due to her I was able to overcome my own situation the following month; left selective amygdalohippocampectomy. Although that was over 8 years ago she still has an impact. What was most surprising is that she felt that SHE was the lucky one. Her mom, Bree*, stated that:
I remember like it was yesterday, the afternoon you carried her to the play room. The Drs. had brought her up to toxic on another failed seizure med and she was so weak she couldn't walk. You came and got her and took her to sit with you and the other children. You were (are) her knight in shining armor. Sometimes, in the most frightening experience we find a gift from God. And you…are ours.
 In terms of impacting pediatric patients the statement must be true, ‘a little goes a long way’.

In fact, to this day I have a gift from her on my “inspirational wall”. Wall includes:
1.   Laminated and framed Ann Arbor News article about a bowler who played her best game ever after having brain surgery. 
  
2.   A mounted Booker T Washington quote; ‘success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.’

                                                       
And of course, right between those monuments is a laminated and framed picture Penelope made for me. On this masterpiece her mother wrote the text ‘All Done’ and signed Penelope’s name. Penelope delicately added a creative brown design at the bottom and two stunning orange circles at the top. The artwork also has a picture of her in a delicate white and red dress, as well as a special honeycomb sticker.
                                                        

Still to this day, I remember how she peeled off the sticker she got for being “good” and gave it to me as a gift. That sticker will remain framed for all time. I’m still friends with Bree on Facebook and continually get updates on how Penelope is doing and how the medicine is impacting her. Thanks to her strength and encouragement I was able to keep a smile on my face throughout my situation.
____

Cardz for Kidz! understands that there’s no way everyone can connect with patients first hand and/or have a lasting relationship, but we'll continue to post pictures of the patients you're impacting. Also, we try to ensure that children who don’t have a volunteer to come pick them up and take them to the playroom are still uplifted so we send your cards. And since the ‘gifts’ are delivered room to room, you can be sure that YOU are making a difference.

With these partnerships, a lot of patients’ and participants’ distress, discouragement and disappointment are ALL DONE!!

#alldone #upliftingspirits

Check out the post ‘TooSmall?? No Such Thing’ for another first hand story from a volunteer. Please reach out if you have any special stories about connecting with a hospitalized and/or traumatized child.
To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz


*modified names due to HIPAA/Patient Privacy Regulations. In addition, we removed the author of the post's name due to those guidelines.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One at a Time!

Mission Statement: 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!

Slogan: Cardz for Kidz! Uplifting Spirits, One Card at a Time

Many people have asked how we came up with our Mission Statement and Slogan.

The Mission Statement indicates we partner with groups who agree to make encouraging cards for children. All cards are designed to help the children take their mind off of their illness or most recent trauma.

There are several factors that led to the ‘one card at a time’ slogan. We know what you’re thinking, “we’ve heard that ‘one at a time’ phrase used so much. That’s not creative”. Here are some examples:

There are many quotes or themes using the phrase one _ at a time.  We believe that statement encompasses our overall message. Here’s why that quote fits us:
  • Keeping Track – As highlighted in a previous post, we tally the total amount of cards made by each participant, one at a time. Although “competition” is fun, we want to note who we need to thank and their contribution levels.
  • Room by Room Guarantee – Before we send cards to a hospital they must promise that all of the cards will be handed out room to room, one at a time. This ranges from being placed on their dinner tray to staff decorating the patients’ wall for their birthday. Based on this pledge, each individual card is important.
  • Large Impact – Currently, we’re simply providing the hospitals uplifting cards. While some may say, ‘you’re simply giving away decorated paper’, individuals who have seen the smiles on the recipients faces understand that it means SO much more. The family immediately feel special because this ‘One Card’ that was hand delivered was made just for them.
In summary, by participating and making one or more cards it’s clear that you’re a direct contributor in uplifting spirits, One Card at a Time.

#oneatatime #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our Facebook page, facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Immeasureable

Recently we finalized all the 501(c)(3) paperwork and want to  provide “performance” stats to potential donors. Although there are many financial characteristics and acronyms to measure success (i.e. NI, EBITDA, NPV, OC), we’re going to analyze our “performance” with digital statistics. And let’s be honest, two of the founders worked at digital agencies so these calculations come natural! J

All of these statistics are as of October 1, 2013.

  •   Cost Per Card (CPC): $0.35, although with our key expenses (i.e. shipping, 501(c)(3) application fees, art supplies) totaled well over $1,500, with your help we’ve been able to produce a total of 4,419 cards.
  • Cost Per Like (CPL): $3.87, with the total cost divided by the 425 fans on our Facebook page.
  • Q3 Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): $15.44, simply focused on the 49,442 page views on Facebook in Q3, with the total cost in Q3, $763.
  • Q3 Chat Thru Rate (CTR): 0.45%, 221 People talking about the page divided by the total page views of 49,442.


Return on Investment (ROI) calculations….
We tried to figure out who benefits the most, or gets the highest ROI from Cardz for Kidz!.

Patients.
Our survey participants think the patients benefit the most from this process (survey results). That may be TRUE! Based on the BRIGHT smiles, it’s clear that the kids are AMAZED. They’re thankful the person coming in with a gown has an inspirational quote, rather than test equipment or medicine.

Participants.
Then again, on the blog sparked by a DePaul Alumni event, we saw that one participant said, “It was so fun to make a card that would make a child feel like a rock star,” shares Colleen Moodie (CMN ’11). “Each card is one of a kind—just like the kids who received them.” Clearly participants have a HIGH ROI as well.
 

Families and Staff.
But while reviewing the quotes from the families and Child Life team, they’re receiving a significant return as well!! As you can see in this pic of a sibling and a participant, it’s clear that the entire family is having fun.


Conclusion.
With those details its clear….. Cardz for Kidz! is a win, win, win, win….situation

Although we can distinctly calculate the overall costs associated with participating and running this organization, what’s most important, the overall RETURN of HAPPINESS, is IMMEASURABLE.

#returnoninvestment #immeasurable #returnofhappiness #upliftingspirits

To see more comments and learn about events check out our Facebook page,www.facebook.com/cardzforkidz or follow us on Twitter @cardzforkidz