Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Runs In The Family

A couple of us were chatting and we got into a BIG “debate” (some may say argument, but we’re too nice for that)! What sparked the disagreement? We wanted the truth! Who’s the most well-known and/or “important” family of ALL time?. Before you read the rest of this post, what’s your response? Feel free to comment below!

Here are some of the responses!

THE JACKSONS!!! They’re clearly the most entertaining!

Pic doesn’t even include the influential ladies!!!

THE KENNEDYS!!! That’s a power packed family!

The power of politics!

THE MANNINGS! A winning combination!

3 rings between two of the athletes!

THE ROCKEFELLERS! They’ve got a permanent presence!

Building it up

THE KOUBAS! They consistently create smiles!

Jennifer and Beth Kouba

So yes the Koubas aren’t known around the world like some of the other families we mentioned. And yes they never lived in a white house while working in a building named after them with platinum plaques and huge rings on the walls, BUT they’ve worked together to impact 465 kids (as of 9/16/14)!

Here’s how it happened. Jen Kouba first learned about Cardz for Kidz! through a fellow DePaul Alum. As of September 13th DePaul has made a total of 822 cards; over 50% of those were made by DePaul Alum. Thanks to Jen they are our number one participant!

Jen has made a mix of quality and quantity so she’s been in the OVERALL TOP 10 twice!

Pony Card

Popcorn card

Another interesting factor is that we know EXACTLY where Jen gets her creativity from; her mother. Thankfully Jen introduced her mom, Beth, to our organization and Beth has made nearly 50 cards in her free time (48 to be exact). The first time we ever produced more than 1,000 cards in a quarter was in Q1 2013. Amongst the 1,051 cards, Beth Kouba had one of the Top 10.

Egg card down at the bottom.

Only once before have two members of the same family made it into the OVERALL Top 10 (Montenegros Q4 2012 & Q1 2013).

While discussing their impact on our organization we asked them, what inspires you to make cards? Here are their responses:
  • Beth Kouba: I'm a retired early childhood teacher with an art background, so helping to cheer up kids in the hospital and do something creative is a treat. My favorite Cardz for Kidz! experience was getting to go to Lurie Children's  Hospital to hang out with the kids. One little girl made Valentines for her family, and a Valentine mailbox with two very talented card makers. When it was time to go she showed us some of her favorite places in the hospital. She couldn't wait to show her Mom what she made. Her sweet smile will always be a special memory for me.

(If you make it into the Top 10 you can participate in Cardz WITH Kidz! too)
  • Jen Kouba: I enjoy participating in Cardz for Kidz! for many reasons. First, I have witnessed the impact a handmade card has on the children that receive them. I love that something so simple brightens their day so much. Second, not only do I feel passionate about volunteering, I also love to be creative and do crafts, so Cardz for Kidz! is the perfect combination.

(If you make it into the Top 10 you can participate in Cardz WITH Kidz! too)

Since they consistently produce AMAZING cards we think it’s true. Just like talent for entertainment, politics, athletics or business – ability to make quality cards…..RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

#upliftingspirits #runsinthefamily

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website, like us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our new videos on Youtube!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eye to Eye


“REALLY?!?!? YEAH!!!!”

It’s true. A lot of folks get real surprised and excited when they learn that their card was picked for the Overall Top 10.

First, we’ll give you the background of how it works. The organizer of each event picks the Top 10 cards from that event. Then they send us the entire stack of cards with the Top 10 separated. We immediately send out the remaining cards and hold the Top 10. At the end of the quarter our official judge selects the Overall Top 10 cards.

For some folks it’s most impressive that out of the 1,300+ cards they’re in the Top 10, but others are excited for another reason – face to face confirmation that hard work pays off.

As noted in prior posts on our social sites, websites, flyers, etc, we invite the Top 10 artists to make cards with pediatric patients and their families. Currently we make cards with patients at Lurie Children’s hospital in Chicago, IL and Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. Usually we try to spark some competition! J We tell the children and volunteers about our Top 10 process. Then we tell the kids to pick their ULTIMATE FAVORITE card. The “artists” are actually sitting behind them. Once they make their selection we make a HUGE deal about it, update the “artists” then have the “artist” pose with the patient.

One of the top “artists” posing with the patient who selected their cards as #1.

Here’s a brief example of why inviting the top “artists” to make cards with children is so important.

Top 10 cards in Q4 2013

Turns out two young boys selected the Batman card as their ultimate favorite. The only problem is they picked it at the exact same time and we weren’t sure who should keep it. Thankfully the “artist” was there to immediately make one of the boys a Blackhawks card. Turns out both patients got their dream card – happily ever after!

Although it’s great being acknowledged for your artistic ability, one key benefit of making amazing cards is the possibility of participating in Cardz WITH Kidz. With that in place, you’ll be able to look the child you’re impacting Eye to Eye.

#upliftingspirits #eyetoeye

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.orglike us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our new videos on Youtube!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not Guilty

Our ideal comment on Facebook was, “… it was one of the most relaxing lunch hours ever. We turned on Pandora, ate pizza and made cards. I encourage you to coordinate an event at your office as well.” Relaxing, encourage, easy, fun…those are the most important words rather than the words, Cardz, for, and Kidz.

Cardz for Kidz! analyzes our “performance” on the total amount of smiles rather than the overall social buzz and media coverage! Thankfully, based on YOUR cards we’ve produced nearly 10,000 smiles.

An “artist” posing with the card she made during the Pledge Allegiance event and the patient at Mott Children’s Hospital covering her smile because she received her favorite card.

One may think:
Q: You first started creating cards in 2010, but the Nurses, Patients, Families, and “Artists” don’t know your name. In fact, I still can’t remember Cardz for Kidz! is spelled with a ‘z’ rather than a ‘s’! How come??
A: We are not striving for additional attention. We simply need cards.

As of 11:05pm on September 2, 2014 here were our social statistics:
  •  Facebook Fans: 608
  • Twitter Followers: 81
  • LinkedIn Followers: 13

Just to put things in perspective:
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Facebook Fans: 70,261
  • The Salvation Army Twitter Followers: 43.3k
  • United Way of America LinkedIn Followers: 2,474

A couple months ago we had an ideal “experience”. Based on our schedules we were able to go pick up cards from a long standing partner. Our primary contact had a lunch meeting so she left the cards with a teammate at the front desk. It was sad because our point person broke the rules – she didn’t pick the Top 10 cards. Thankfully our buddy at the front desk agreed to select her favorites, but due to the overall quality she had to request back up. After the final decision was made, we briefly chatted about the mission of Cardz for Kidz!. They were shocked because they didn’t know there was a non-profit behind the scenes. They simply understood they were making cards for pediatric patients during their lunch time at work. We gave them our business cards with our Facebook page…soon after we got two more likes (included in the calculation above J). We are thankful that some companies, such as Kforce, include our logo and slogan on their flyers and such – it’s rare and that’s not a problem.

So although some of the board members have experience analyzing social trends and digital marketing, we are not concerned about the amount of followers on Twitter, likes on Facebook, or comments on our blog. Our key concentration is getting as many cards to as many kids as possible. And even though we’ve been at it since 2010, we’re going to focus on reaching passionate people to host events, and not worry about the consistent comment, “Cardz for Kidz!?? Never heard of them!”

So don’t worry if you aren’t using our official logo, linking to our pages, or even properly recognizing the fact that we’re delivering the cards for you! In terms of infringement or breaking a copyright, you’re found “NOT GUILTY” in our eyes!!

Also, unless absolutely necessary we’ll keep referring to ourselves as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘Cardz for Kidz!’ and/or ‘founders’ on these social posts and website rather than using our personal names. We don’t need the attention, the kids do!

Please keep them coming!

#notguilty #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories please check out our website, like us on Facebook page, follow us on Twitter , visit our Google+ page, or visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our new videos on Youtube!