HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's an open invitation for any kid who wants to help kids in need: Kidz For A Cause, an Oahu-based group of philanthropic students that's raised over $420,000 for local charities benefiting kids, is launching its biggest FUNraiser yet—and they're looking for new kids to join in.? ?
If you haven't heard of Kidz For A Cause, this philanthropic juggernaut is organized and run entirely by elementary to high school students. Led by a Board of Directors of high school students and a Junior Board of younger students, each Kid is challenged to come up with his or her own FUNraiser—like bake sales, a sports clinic, a dance, a gourmet dinner or a film festival, all real-life examples pulled off by Kidz.? ?
Last year, this show of kid power raised an incredible $300,000 for new equipment for Kapiolani Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This year, Kidz For A Cause has selected as its beneficiary the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii.? ?
And they're kicking things off with a launch event on Sunday, Aug. 27 at Sacred Hearts Academy in Kaimuki.? ?
"We're looking for elementary to high school students anywhere on Oahu who want to give back—not just to the community, but specifically to kids in need," says Nicki Lee, the 17-year-old who started Kidz For A Cause as a third-grader in 2008.
"Everyone's participation counts. And the most awesome part is that kids are not just helping sick kids and their families at the Ronald McDonald House, they're also learning about philanthropy in a fun, meaningful way."? ?
The group started small—with a children's talent show organized by Nicki in her parents' living room. The kids sold tickets to family and friends. When Nicki's mom, Cathy Lee, took her to Ronald McDonald House to present the $1,100 in proceeds and meet some of the children, a light went on in the 8-year-old's head. Philanthropy became more than a class project.? ?
Since then, Nicki and a mighty all kids Board of Directors have been expanding Kidz campaigns. The next children's concert at Aloha Tower Marketplace in 2011 raised $10,000 for the children's programs of the American Heart Association. An even bigger concert in 2015 involved 200 kids from across Oahu and sold out two shows at the Hawaii Theatre; it raised $100,000 for the Friends of the Children's Justice Center of Oahu. But last year's $300,000 for Kapiolani's NICU surprised everyone.? ?
"We realized that our message of kids helping kids in need could work anywhere," she says, "so this year we're expanding our campaign to California to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Orange County."? ?
Leading simultaneous FUNraising campaigns will take up much of Nicki's time during her upcoming senior year at Punahou School, but she says she feels confident in the strength of Kidz For A Cause due to the incredible amount of kid leaders of all ages who shined in last year's campaign.? ?
"Please come to our kickoff on August 27," is her message to kids who want to make a difference. "We want as many kids as possible to experience how awesome kid power can be, and we want to continue the cycle of kids giving back. I promise you will have fun!"
For more information, visit www.kidzforacause.org.