Just after Thanksgiving we had our 5th Annual Children for Children concert, a benefit concert put on by children to raise money for children in need. This is a tradition my parents started which I loved as a kid. The Kruckenbergs have helped me to share it with the next generation to help our own children feel the thrill and power that comes from giving. (For other years click here and here and here).
This was by far our best concert yet. The committee (my kids and the Kruckenkids) really pulled it off pretty much on their own. They are old enough now (especially the older Kruckenkids) to really take the reigns. Heidi and I got them together for weekly planning meetings starting about 6 weeks in advance, but they really took it from there. These were heated meetings, lots of opinions among those kids! They researched and chose the charity to donate to, came up with invitations and lists of who to invite, sent out emails to round up performers, set a goal for the money they’d like to raise, spent a LOT of time brainstorming how to maximize donations. They discussed things they could do to get the other performers to feel connected and involved, how to get enough generous donors to attend, how to present the needs of the children they were trying to help in a way that would tug at the heart strings of potential donors. They made a power point presentation, a donation box, organized the program, helped coordinate adults to help set up and coordinated refreshments. The only big job I had was to bring my camera and take pictures (which i forgot to do!). We were super proud of them, and they were beaming with pride in themselves. I think it was a powerful experience for them to work hard and see something really amazing come to life.
They had a goal to raise $1000. (Last year they raised $800) They ended up raising $1658! This will be matched by the Eyrealm family foundation and donated to Care for Life, a non profit that helps families in destitute villages of rural Mozambique. The money they raised (along with the match) will be enough money to support the children of three villages in Mozambique for a whole year, providing them with health education, family and education support. The kids did put in a lot of hard work, but Care for Life was also pretty easy to sell. They are doing incredible things to really change lives. (click here to learn more about the amazing work they are doing).
Here is the planning committee with the Mayor of Malden. We invited him on a whim and he came! That was pretty thrilling for all of us.
Hazel started the program off with a PowerPoint presentation about Care for Life that she and Charlie had created together. She did such a good job, presented it up there in front of all those people like an adult.
We had lots of variety in our performances, some really good talent, some blooming talent, some art displays and even a stand up comedy routine.
Ezra did a great job as the emcee, kept the program going, kept people happy and (most importantly) helped people remember that the purpose of the event (MONEY!).
The fundraising tactics these kids came up with were astounding. Before Johanna played her piano piece she told the audience that if the $1000 goal was reached she would donate her hard earned money that she had been saving for a One Direction concert to Care for Life. I was super touched by this sacrifice she made. Then these boys stood up and committed to SHAVE THEIR HEADS if we exceeded our goal and raised $1500. This created quite a stir and may be why we ended up raising so much. At the end of the program all kids got up and sang Christmas Carols to finish off the night. The donations rolled in and those boys were hoping secretly we wouldn’t make it to $1500. They were all a little nervous about that public commitment they made. But, when the donations hit $1500 they all got together and their dads shaved their heads. It took guts and they were all pretty terrified to go to school with bicked heads, Saul and Charlie especially. So, before the weekend of the big shave they gave a presentation about Care for Life and the concert to all the third grade (using the same PowerPoint) and explained to their classmates why they would be bald, hoping that they could be seen as heroes instead of clowns. And I think it worked. I think everyone, especially teachers, was astounded at their good hearts, bravery and hard work. Because the Mayor came they made it into the local newspapers, which of course made them feel like celebrities.
Care for Life put them in their newsletter and the founder wrote them this amazing letter in response to a letter Jo wrote to accompany the donation checks.
Dec. 28, 2014
To The Wonderful Committee and Helpers in the “Children to Children” Project,
I wish I could deliver this in person and meet all of you but this letter will have to do. Thank you for your wonderful letter and photos! It just thrilled me to read it and know what you have done and how much money you all raised to help the children in Mozambique. This money will make a huge difference in the lives of the children and their families. I know it takes a tremendous amount of planning and hard work to put on something like this. Thank you so much for preparing and sharing your talents to put on the concert. I wish I could have been there. And thank you for choosing Care for Life to receive the proceeds and for being ongoing Care for Life Ambassadors!
I can tell from your letter that you already know a lot about Mozambique. I’ll mention just a few things to help you better understand how much this gift will mean to these people. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most people there don’t have running water or electricity and live in one room houses they make themselves with sticks or rocks and mud. They have a dirt floor and some don’t even have a door. Most kids have to walk a long way to get water that’s not very clean and then carry it home in a heavy plastic container. Most kids don’t get enough food to eat and they might only have one or two old shirts or dresses to wear. Most of the children in the villages either don’t get to go to school, or if they do the schools are often far away and only last a few hours a day.
We are so happy you have asked that your money go toward the Children’s Clubs. These clubs make it possible for the children to learn important things in their own villages and they learn things that will help them have a better life. The Children’s Clubs give them a place to go to where they can do fun activities and meet new friends. Their lives are very difficult and coming to the clubs on Saturdays give a reason to smile and feel good. They learn how to set goals and how to be healthy and have good lives. They learn it’s important to help others and they choose projects to help others in their community. And because they learn all these things they will teach others they know and in the future they will be able to teach them to their children and help them have a better life.
We are so grateful to everyone involved for this much needed donation. The money will be used to help supply the Children’s Clubs with lesson materials, soccer balls, a long jump ropes, and for the children to receive their own plastic folder with paper and pencil inside. The children will be so happy to get these things and they will love them even more because we will know these gifts came from some very kind children in America who cared about them. We hope you feel, that deep-down good, happy feeling that comes from giving of yourselves and helping others. Please know and remember that you have done something important that will make a real difference in the world. On behalf of all the children whose lives will be better because of you, we thank you all so much for your help and for your bright examples!
Love and blessings,
Founder and Board member of Care for Life
p.s. thanks also to those who even gave up their hair for the cause! You guys rock!!
The power of work and change. It’s real and these kids felt it. We’re so proud of them.