Thursday, December 20, 2018

Beyond Thankful

Here we go again – we’re going to be 100% open and honest. Originally we were going to provide a quote from an email, but we realized that wouldn’t be the nicest, so we’re just going to provide a brief summary of some of the different things we’ve been experiencing behind the scenes and why that makes us so thankful for some of our key artists.

We’re not sure if you’ve seen it, but we have a page on our website that recognizes all of the groups who agreed to be recognized and the amount of cards they’ve made - #everycardcounts. One time an individual reached out to us and asked if we recognized independent artists and put their names up on our site as well. While we do not, we stressed how independent artists are #1; at the time, they produced over 10,000 cards while the next highest group was less than 5,000 - #everycardcounts. We told them that in order to recognize our artists, we promise to post pictures of their artwork on at least one of our social sites. Their response to this was that we should redo our website. They believed that we should pay more for a separate page on our site OR find a way to list their individual name as a key contributor. We found out they did something similar to our sister nonprofit as well, Send a Smile Today.

Hey, maybe that’s normal. Maybe that’s what EVERYONE is thinking. It’s just not what we’ve been experiencing whether via our team or the top artists we’ve been connecting with. We’ve highlighted a couple times how there’s no such thing as a Cardz for Kidz! employee, #amateursimpact. If you search LinkedIn, you’ll see there are a couple people with titles, but everyone has another paid position as well. With that in mind, everyone ranging from the people counting the cards to the advisory board members is simply doing this in their free time. Therefore, they most likely have 9-5 jobs, families, and we’re hoping a life (aka hobbies) they enjoy as well. Now that’s a full plate!

When we asked one of our volunteers how she would feel if people told her she needed to do more she said, “You’d need to pay me!” Understood. We already think it’s great how our Superhero, Dream Girl and other behind the scenes volunteers are so dedicated. We’ve been able to grow since they’ve donated over 220 hours of time volunteering.

Circling back to the potential new independent artist’s request, what we’re currently doing is a two part response. We always post pictures on at least one of our social sites, #solemnlyswear, so artists can see that we’ve received their cards and so that people can get an idea of some fun examples. It’s interesting. Is that enough? It all depends on who you ask.

What we think is equally impressive is how some of our top independent artists are exceeding a lot of top global corporations, but yet they are making things EXTREMELY easy for us. They never check in on their cards, they make them in many languages, and simply “like” the social posts that recognize we’ve received their cards.  

Here’s a breakout of some of those top artists and their contributions:

Then there are some essential independent artists who are not only making quality cards, but are also helping us spread the word about the different initiatives we have going on.

We thought everyone was on the same page with that background on our organization. Therefore, with all the necessary details that need to take place ranging from counting the thousands of cards to moving logos on the website, it’s hard to respond to everything all at once since this is done as a passionate hobby. We’re sorry that we’re currently unable to do more, but we’re BEYOND THANKFUL that we have several artists and volunteers who are doing more than enough.

#beyondthankful #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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, November 29, 2018

A Bias Reward

“There has to be a better way.” I’m sure that’s what some people were thinking when they saw our Facebook Live post earlier this week outlining how we’re going to start rewarding hospitals/homes for 3 quarters in a row with a GO Kart.

I figure if I’m able to make a Facebook Live post as myself, Ike founder of Cardz for Kidz!, in first person then I can do a follow up blog post in first person as well - #Secretsout. First off, I agree that there was probably a better way to announce how and/or why we’re going to dedicate a large set of funds strictly to reward and entertain kids who are confined to their beds. Secondly, I understand I probably could have gotten an official vote from the board on their opinion on whether and/or how we should use the potential incoming funds. Should we save those for our When We Grow Up dreams or simply focus on the more immediate needs?

Although things have been stable, I figured that since I was going through my least favorite set of testing, EEGs, I could make an executive decision to help kids who are going through similar situations. This EEG test will always hold a negative, albeit special, place in my heart since, as touched on the Can’t Complain blog post, it was during this set of testing that I received some of the scariest news before my surgery. Then it was during another EEG test that I had my one and only grand mal seizure, which derailed my safety net that I set up for myself.

With November being epilepsy awareness month, I’ve been sending special shipments to kids whose parents used hashtags related to epilepsy, ranging from something I agree with (e.g. #seizuressuck) to something more broad (e.g. #epilepsy). As always in those letters, I tell the children they were/are a VIP (Very Important Patient/Person), so they deserve extra cards. Then I highlight how they’ll be in my prayers since us overcomers have to stick together. Here are some examples from those recent deliveries this month:

I’ve mentioned before that I’m proud that I’ve been strong enough to battle with this special (dis)ability, #purplepride, but have never shown myself at a low point.

In the past I shared the article from the University of Michigan Health System that highlights the improvement I’ve made and the connection with my doctors, but didn’t touch on the ongoing tests and/or how over the years epilepsy has impacted work and life outside of it.

With this Facebook Live, I wanted to give everyone as close up a view as possible as to what I was thinking and have been going through. One thing I could show is what it’s like not being able to leave your room because of procedure. I could try to give you that glimpse for a patients’ perspective. I’ve provided descriptive stories in the past, pictures throughout the process, and my expressed personal passion, and I hope it helps people understand how and why they should make a difference for the children who are confined to their rooms based on their medical conditions and/or testing.

Therefore, publicly overcoming this most recent EEG experience hopefully helps turn things around. I’ll use this most recent experience to explain why I’ll never be able to forget about the kids who are confined to their rooms based on their conditions. I’ve felt what some of the kids are going through EEGs and epilepsy and can’t complain since there are some kids who are going through some other more terrifying experience. Based on that knowledge, I made an executive decision. Any hospital/home who consistently responds and lets us know they’ve received the cards we sent to their children - and confirms they were handed out - will receive a GO Kart. I know all about the Hippo name HIPPA, where hospitals can’t send pictures of the kids without a more detailed process/request form, but they can send pictures of their employees so we know that they’re still our correct contacts and that the kids who are confined to their rooms are being encouraged. We’re currently partnering with nearly 100 locations and those systems are $3500 each. We’re hoping that with signing up for a Facebook non-profit where people can raise money on their birthday, our site, GoFundMe, corporate giving and other potential methods we can raise enough money to reward every hospital/home that responds with a picture.

We could raise funds for more Beanie Babies or start to raise funds for the scholarship or save up to hire some employees, but based on these EEGs and being stuck in a hospital room again, I’m setting up A BIAS REWARD and striving to make sure that each kid who’s stuck in their room can be encouraged.  


#abiasreward #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Still in the Mood

’Tis the season. The holiday spirit. Holly jolly. We’re based in Chicago, IL and just walking along Michigan Avenue (on the way to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital), you can see how everything is already decked out for the holiday season.

Getting everyone in the seasonal mood ASAP!
We know whether it’s the songs, holiday decorations, and/or companies just providing time, we often receive an increase in cards during the holiday season. We just want to remind everyone that it’s important that you are still inspired to make cards even if it’s not strictly holiday related/themed.
We’re not sure if you recall, but a few years ago we wrote a blog post about our “Best Nightmare.” In summary, that post touches on how we received a BUNCH of holiday cards the week of Christmas. In order to stick to our hashtag—#everycardcounts, our founder drove around to hospitals, shelters, and other locations in the Atlanta, GA area in order to make sure those cards were delivered. Unfortunately, more cards still came after the holidays.
One thing has changed and one thing has remained the same since the posting of “Best Nightmare”:
  • ·       Changed: Shipping location. As touched on before, everyone who “works” with Cardz for Kidz! does so on a volunteer basis. At the time our founder was living in and having the cards shipped down to Atlanta. As you can see on our website our current delivery location is now in Chicago—323 E Wacker #11, Chicago, IL 60601.
  • ·       Remained the same: Spending the week of Christmas in the Atlanta area. How it works is that our founder collects the cards, then has volunteers come to the “card counting parties” where everyone counts them up. Since no one is available to pick up the cards the week of Christmas, we need to receive all holiday cards significantly before then.

Based on the “Remained the same” situation, we actually have a large box of holiday cards that we’re getting ready to send to some children and families (#FamiliesToo). 

 Actually, it would be great if more people followed our friend, Karen G in IL’s lead. She sends us cards for a particular holiday the holiday before. For example, around Memorial Day she’ll start sending us Fourth of July cards along with her beautiful cards that are not related to any season or holiday.

In addition, we need to remember that although many of us celebrate the holidays there are many children and families in these hospitals who do not. Therefore, our partner hospitals may be getting one-time donations from other groups or individuals who strictly make cards around the holidays. 
With that in mind, we need to make sure that all of our partners have the right combination of all types of cards. Also, we want to make sure they have some flexibility to hold on to our card supply a bit longer just in case they get a bunch of holiday cards from other places.

We know this may not be as exciting and that during your parties and/or when you sit down to make cards in your free time, this month and in December, people will be focused on the holiday season; still, please remember that children are STILL IN THE MOOD to receive your cards even if they don’t specifically say, “Happy Holidays!” or “Seasons’ Greetings!” 

We updated our website to have a little reminder. 

#stillinthemood #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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, November 15, 2018

Intent to Action, Please

Cardz for Kidz! is an organization dedicated to uplifting the spirits of disheartened children across the globe by delivering inspiring homemade cards. That’s our mission statement, but as we’ve mentioned before that doesn’t encompass everything we do - #nomorechanges. For example, we’re purchasing GO Karts for some of our primary partner hospitals/homes.

In addition, if you see some of our full social posts on Instagram you’ll see a lot of hashtags. Those range from some that have a double meaning (#everycardcounts) to ones that show how we’re thankful for all types of cards that we receive (#graciasportodo) - (Our Hashtag is Calling). 

We’ve been doing our absolute best to show your cards on our social sites and even more importantly, although there’s a hippo in the room, doing our best to show pictures of where those cards are going and the impact they’re having - #intheroom.

It seems that with the description of our background, our goals, and our impact, most people LOVE what we’re doing, but don’t necessarily follow through. Please understand, we know that things pop up that complicate situations and make it difficult to complete additional tasks. One reason why joining in with Cardz for Kidz! is so important is that you’re having an impact on children AND their families; you’re brightening up multiple lives when they need it the most.

We’ve highlighted before how we’re all nice over here, but we have special request. When you hear about making a difference on these children and their families’ lives, please make sure that it’s NOT something that you’re simply interested in doing. Please make sure that it’s NOT simply something you plan on doing some day. Please set a date to start! We can’t imagine how much more of an impact we’d be able to have if more volunteers were able to switch their original INTENT TO ACTION; action of making handmade cards and uplifting more spirits across the globe.

#intenttoaction #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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, November 8, 2018

Overall Value

Dual. It’s an interesting word that’s commonly used. For example, with the football season in full swing you’ll hear comments about a “dual threat quarterback,” one who’s able to effectively throw and run the ball down the field. Then you have something like a “dual cultural event.” With this, you’re combining different groups in order to celebrate their different heritages all at once.

With Cardz for Kidz! our overall goal is to have a dual objective with an equal focus on both. Here’s an explanation of how both our artists and the hospitals/shelters have multiple objectives:
We want to make hosting an event as efficient and low-cost as possible, but for our artists to still feel rewarded and have fun. Then we want to make sure the hospitals feel that receiving the cards was easy, but also have an extremely high return and impact on their kids. With both parties, there are dual focuses.

We’ll use our media minds to explain a little bit more. It’s pretty easy to measure the overall cost to host a Cardz for Kidz! event. Participants don’t have to pay us anything in order to join in. We recommend they use our Amazon Smile link to purchase our supplies, but really you can find them anywhere. Then you simply purchase the amount you need for your group and even  use a bunch of those supplies for future events.

For example, for us we can simply look at the fact that as of 10/22/2018 we’ve received and tracked over 70,000 cards. Then, when looking into our total expenses which ranges from purchasing GO Karts to shipping cards around the world, we’ve only had a $0.65 Cost Per Card or, for simplicity reasons, Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

We try to promote our low CPA via our social sites and in prior blog posts, but in our opinion it’s not necessarily the key, yet still important. We know with the Hippo named HIPPA in the room it’ll be a bit harder to get all of the artists to feel the true value of their cards. Hospitals aren’t allowed to simply take pictures of children who are overcoming medical conditions. We have to ask for their permission to share them on social media since patient privacy is important to everyone. Although we’re not able to send you confirmation emails, we do Solemly Swear to help make the process efficient for everyone and post pictures of your cards on our social sites so everyone can get ideas for what to make for their next card, as well as to understand that we’ve received their cards.

What we really think is more important is the Return on Investment. Since we can’t post pictures of all the children in the hospital, we do check with the parents and families we send cards to in the special deliveries and ask them if we can post pictures. We feel that can be pretty rewarding to our artist. By simply posting these pictures, our artists can feel rewarded knowing that people around the world are seeing their artwork.

After following up with some of our connections at a variety of locations we learned there’s a combination of low CPA and high ROI at the delivery points as well. We partner with hospitals/homes of all sizes, but we’ve noticed that since we’re reaching places around the world and specialize in reaching small to midsize locations, they’re extremely grateful. Often when we first start connecting with new locations, it takes a couple phones calls, tweets, and/or emails to explain our organization and highlight that we intentionally reached out to them even if they do have a smaller pediatric department. Once we get in touch with them, we just highlight how it’s EASY to receive cards (low CPA), but it’s very rewarding for their staff and their kids; everyone loves it (high ROI). Once we finalize the process, everyone is usually extremely thankful.

Based on some of the conversations, connections and social posts we’ve had with hospitals/homes and kids/families who’ve received cards directly, we KNOW for sure your cards are making a big difference. Looking at some of the pictures and seeing the smiles from everyone involved in the Cardz WITH Kidz events, we know that’s rewarding as well. Then again, if you look at the pics of people smiling during their events at the office and knowing how the only costs are the supplies and shipping we know there’s a low CPA. Therefore, we feel the OVERALL VALUE of impacting children’s lives has been accomplished very efficiently and, thankfully, very significantly!

#upliftingspirits #overallvalue

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Chase Your Dreams

Want to know something? Starting in Q4, we’re going to start making a promise to hospitals that we’re currently unable to fulfill. We figure that although it’s currently out of our league, we can still set our goals high and strive for success. Just a warning, you’ll start to see more links to our donation page, GoFundMe, and other ways to donate! 😊

Why NOT set our dreams high and make large promises to hospitals? For a dose of nostalgia, it was less than 6 years ago that we became a certified non-profit. But that only meant that we had the paperwork completed. Looking back to December 2012 or Q4 2012, we received 672 cards. Harley Davidson was the only group who had joined in who didn’t have a direct connection with our founder; they saw a flyer he posted in a Starbucks outside his office.

Now let’s fast forward 6 years where we’re still not spending money on advertising and our last full quarter, Q2 2018, where we received over 8,000 cards! That’s twelve times as many cards within 6 years without any paid marketing at all. In Q4 2012, we made our first shipment outside of the Midwest and also sent our first shipment to kids who were not in a hospital; we sent 235 cards to kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Nowadays we’ve expanded our reach across the country and have official partnerships in each continent.

Chart that shows our even breakout.

Any time we hear of a school shooting, bus accident, or anything that troubles kids, we send a shipment of cards to encourage them. Plus, we’re making special deliveries to kids in Ronald McDonald Houses and children at homes that are going through tough times. Direct to the MidWest was once 100%, but now is strictly a component of our overall participation.

Today when we’re talking to groups who are considering joining in we tell them we have participation with companies such as Google and Microsoft, as well as neighborhood Girl Scout Troops. Potential hospitals and participants are immediately impressed.

Why are we telling you all of this? Why are we telling you where we’re currently standing and how we’ve grown? It’s because this wasn’t part of the original plan back in 2010. Even when we got the certification we didn’t think we’d have some of the most renowned groups joining in and helping us evenly distribute encouraging cards to kids in each continent. None of this was planned. None of this was expected. All of this happened because we continued to pursue it.

We’re going to continue to strive for more. Our request to you is to please CHASE YOUR DREAMS. You’ll be impressed in what you can accomplish. We’re still astonished, just like we were when we got the original letter from the IRS and looked at the record breaking numbers in Q2 2018! 

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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, October 11, 2018

Lifeline for Assistance

We’re not one hundred percent sure what was first, and quite honestly we didn’t want to do the in-depth research, so we did the type of analysis we often touch on in these blog posts – by asking people in the airport and/or on the trian. The topic in question was, “What was the first ever Reality TV Show?” We were in the four passenger seat on an Amtrak train, and at first we asked two young ladies what their first recollection was. One said Amazing Race while the other said America’s Next Top Model. Then we checked with another gentleman on board and he responded with MTV’s Real World. We didn’t fact check their answers, but we’re assuming those were all pretty early!

Then again, what about trivia or game shows? Are those considered Reality TV? Those are unscripted, right? If so, you have to date back to Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Seeing how nowadays unscripted television is booming in popularity, we’re going to relate Cardz for Kidz! to a combination of those kinds of shows.

First, for some background, Cardz for Kidz! is what happens when you put an interest in impacting disheartened children and a passion for handmade artwork together. People stop simply being polite and/or courteous, but truly become compassionate and work together to make a difference in children’s lives across the globe. What originally started as just an activity for one group of young adults and children has grown into global corporations, groups of children, and families around the world joining in to make a difference. It’s hard to believe, but there are no scripts. This is happening in the Real World, around the world!

Also, as we always say, #everycardcounts. Therefore, every card is important AND we keep track of where every card is coming from. Still, there’s always a bit of intrigue at the end of the quarter since people are interested to see the Next Top 10. Originally, the role of the judge was much easier and there was less to choose from, but now that we’ve grown from the hundreds to the thousands of cards, we’ve had to work with creative directors to make that selection. What adds to the pressure even more so is that currently if the judges select their cards, these panelists will be invited to a special Cardz WITH Kidz event at one of our partner Children’s Hospitals. Thankfully, just like we hear Tyra is, our judges are qualified to pick America’s Next Top Artists.

Although it may seem like it’s “happily ever after” for our organization, there have been some difficulties along the road. For example, since this is one hundred percent free for everyone involved, Cardz for Kidz! isn’t able to do paid advertising. And because of personal preferences, we don’t like to constantly flood our contributors with email reminders and/or requests asking for donations and increased participations. One may say it’s not as difficult as climbing mountains, skydiving or other extreme events, but the participation influxes have been a challenge to deal with. That was the reason we made such a big deal about Arrowstream and Huron Consulting Group when they decided to join in since they’ve consistently made cards each quarter. Although we’ve been primarily targeting groups to make cards, Independent Artists, or people simply making cards in their free time, have been our top contributors. They have made at least twice as many cards as any group that’s joined in. Thankfully, with everyone joining in we’ve been able to reach all the check points and reach kids all around the world. We’re thankful that we’ve been able to hang in there and have also been doing a pretty good job at keeping up with this Amazing Race.

We did mention it on our social sites before, but we would love to consistently grow in many ways. We know there’s a looooong way to go, but we mentioned before that our dream would be to do more for the kids while they’re in the hospital (#perfectpair) and after they get out to help them in the long run in life (#whenwegrowup). While we feel blessed that we do have a partnership in each continent, we’d love to be able to cover all 50 states and have the majority of these cities covered.

If we achieved all of that, just like Wheel of Fortune, that’d be like hitting the jackpot! We know we’ve recently been adding on a couple more board members to the team to help contribute to answering some of the tougher questions (e.g. consistent way to get more cards in French). We understand that, similar to Jeopardy, it’s more of a team sport. One thing we know for sure is that we’ll need some help if we continue to grow. We’ll need more volunteers similar to the ones we currently have and also need more people to reach out to their contacts at hospitals/homes to see if we can start sending those kids our handmade cards. We just know that with our average quarter over quarter growth rate being 31%, who knows, maybe one of these days we’ll get what we want and we’ll be a millionaire in terms of the amount of cards we receive each quarter. But before we get to those stages, we’re reaching out to YOU, one of our LIFELINES FOR ASSISTANCE, so we can be prepared for expansion. Please help us connect to more hospitals/homes.

#lifelinesforassistance #upliftingspirits

To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website; 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, October 4, 2018

Love Her More

We’re not sure if you recall, but a couple years ago we set up a poll to get your input on what we should name our logo.

We wanted to name the child in our logo so that we could strictly use that name rather than saying “it” or the dreaded “him” or “her.” People often look at our logo and assume it’s a him based on the hair, but based on our experience and the kids we work with we know all genders can be hairless due to the conditions they’re overcoming.

We set up this poll (link here - please don’t vote till you finish this blog) to get your input on some potential names for our logo, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get many votes. Based on the lack of votes and the story below, we think we’ll have to make an executive decision! We’re naming our logo, at least for now, Taylor - and this blog post will explain why.

First, if you think about it, that name can go for both males and females. One portion of the millennial age group may hear the name and think of the singer Taylor Swift.

Then, there’s the other portion of that age group who may date a bit farther back and think of the show Home Improvement and of their crush and/or being jealous of JTT – Jonathon Taylor Thomas!

The list goes on with Taylor Cole, Taylor Kitsch, Taylor Schilling, Taylor Kinney, etc. We even did some research and asked a woman at the airport who stated, “Ahhh, it’s both. I know a male named Taylor and a female named Taylor.” Perfect. All set. The name works for both genders!
Also, unlike Quinn, Jordan, Bailey, and some of the others in the poll, it’s closer to the name Tyler. Over the years we’ve learned we need to be pretty Tyler-like and this blog post will explain why!  

Thinking of Taylor and Cardz for Kidz! as a whole, our “ideal mate” would be someone who willfully and consistently volunteered behind the scenes, someone who took Cardz for Kidz! to some of their groups they were a part of, someone who attended Cardz for Kidz! and brought friends, someone who was great with pediatric patients, and last but not least, someone who was an amazing artist. In summary, someone like Alexis Evans. Unfortunately, when we checked with her fiance, Tyler, he confirmed that she was off the market and there was no way our Taylor could win her heart. Now there’s a battle! Taylor vs Tyler.

We’ve written about a couple before,  (#BestofBothWorlds), and they’re both still contributing, but this time it’s a bit different. Alexis, also known as Lex, is perfect for Cardz for Kidz! and we’re assuming our Taylor isn’t as happy about this couple and instead is a bit jealous. 
We interviewed both Tyler (fiance) and Taylor (logo) about their opinions, history, and what makes Alexis so special and here are some of their battle points:

Favorite Aspects:
When we asked Tyler what he liked about her he stated, “She’s very kind, understanding, and has a good sense of humor.“ 

In order to follow up, we think Taylor would respond with the similar comment of, “She’s so nice, always very dedicated to giving back and helps in a variety of ways.” That giving back ranges from bringing Tyler to some of the volunteer shifts and/or parties to launching the only events at Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Chicago. She went above and beyond. Not just the fun stuff of making the cards with the children and other volunteers, but even did the administrative stuff so BBBS Chicago was one of the first logos to go up on our website.

One of the first – down at the bottom – a building block – our foundation

Well Rounded:
When asked how to summarize Lex in one word Tyler said, “Fun.”

Taylor’s response would be, “Impressive.” The reason for that, as mentioned above when listing out Taylor’s dream person, we listed out someone who was great with pediatric patients. Everyone who follows Cardz for Kidz! on social sites had a chance to see how impressive Alexis was with the children and their families during the Cardz WITH Kidz event. Now it’s a debate of was it more impressive seeing her with the kids OR seeing her amazing artwork? In Q3 2017 when we received over five thousand cards, her card was selected into the OVERALL Top 10 and her tree card was in a tie for second place – link to picture and poll.

History of Hours:
When we asked Tyler about how long they had been dating he made it clear it’s been for over 37,230 hours. Wow.

Taylor was shocked with those hours, but was not thinking about the time Lex has particpated in Cardz for Kidz! events, taking it to her other non-profits, and/or making cards in her free-time. Strictly while looking into the time that she’s spent counting cards and doing that behind-the-scenes work, Alexis has been with Taylor for 55.75 hours as of 9/21/2018! That’s still VERY impressive – second most ever. #everyhourcounts

Similar Connections:
While connecting with Tyler he made it clear that he and Alexis were able to get along with the same group of friends. 

Once again, that’s pretty important in a relationship. Taylor would battle back and highlight how, thanks to Alexis, there are similar connections as well. Lex started things off at Big Brother Big Sister Chicago and has spent additional hours volunteering at the Chicago Volunteer Expo. Therefore, there have been a lot of similar connections with Taylor and Lex.

Secure from the Beginning:
Tyler knew early on they had something special, so they got an apartment together less than 9 months after dating! He was even willing to live out of a duffle bag before they officially moved in together.  

Taylor’s response would be that although they never lived together, maybe it could be an option in the future. Taylor loves how Lex is willing to travel across Chicago to the Cardz for Kidz!‘s headquarters (aka our founder’s living room) and donate time. Who knows… maybe when things expand, and Taylor, as well as the organization first grows up (#whenwegrowup), there will be an office.

Special Words:
When we asked Tyler if there was anything else he’d like to mention about Lex, such as an inside joke or something sweet to say, he said, “Mucho forte.” That’s something that Lex would understand.

When we followed up with Taylor to see if there was anything else worth speaking to, the only thing Taylor said was, “Thank you. Hopefully she understands why.”

Okay, so we understand that Tyler and Lex are getting ready to enjoy their destination wedding later on this year. And there’s obviously a ring involved. So the hours, words, and the types of connections are debatable and some even more trivial, but we all have to admit since Alexis said yes to the ring from Tyler, and not Taylor, we think she made her decision! Although Tyler won, some may still debate that Taylor LOVES HER MORE and/or is a bit more thankful. Then again we… STOP EVERYTHING.

During all those volunteer hours, attending fundraisers, tagging pictures on Facebook and even writing this blog post, we’ve always referred to her as her full name, Alexis or her nickname, Lex. Since she didn’t choose Taylor, maybe we should have considered naming our logo Alex after her. Then again, Alexis could work too.

Now we’re opening up the voting again and let us know what you think (please vote now)-, please write in Alexis if that’s your choice.

#loveshermore #upliftingspirits

p.s. This part of the blog is unedited so there may be some errors. We just wanted to make sure you knew we thought of that Alex idea ourselves rather than Alex our blog post editor! She's the last nice one we mention,

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