At Kids Helping Kids (KHK), our mission is to facilitate the development of leadership skills through youth-led service projects. We empower students to have a proactive attitude toward change by taking their passion and turning it into action. Every project is initiated, managed, and led by youth. This unique approach shows students the power they have to make an impact in the world and in the lives of others. KHK is guided by the following model:
- YOUTH-LED: Adults provide support, but youth are accountable for and genuinely committed to the project’s success.
- PASSION INTO ACTION: Youth explore issues they care about and share their personal interests to create purposeful projects that support the community.
- PLAN, IMPLEMENT and REFLECT: By coaching youth through the stages of project development, KHK helps them to develop 21st Century skills in communication, relationships, collaboration, critical thinking, decision making, initiative and self-direction. We align our skills focus with recommendations from CASEL and the Forum for Youth Investment.
- PARTNERSHIPS: We partner with other reputable and local nonprofit organizations that work to address the needs of children.
Our vision is to help meet the needs of our community while fostering personal growth within our volunteers and teaching them social responsibility. By developing leadership skills and encouraging community engagement, we instill critical knowledge: communication skills and empathy needed to enable the next generation to flourish. As KHK grows, we hope to expand our reach to help kids realize their full potential as leaders and change-makers.
Our staff works closely with every volunteer in order to help them through the project management process and to provide the necessary tools to become a stronger leader. Here is how you can get involved:
These projects are the crux of the 2022 Relaunch. Community Impact Projects are new projects which only happen once. Structurally, there are various groups of students, each with a different focus or passion. Mentors are assigned to each group based on their professional focus; ideally, the mentor’s passion and the students’ passion align. Each group fully develops an idea addressing a social issue and plans for implementation. These ideas are large in scale; they are the same size as the Signature Projects. Then, in a cumulative pitch night, students present their ideas and receive feedback. After evaluating the feasibility of each approach, a single project is selected to receive immediate funding for continuation. Kids Helping Kids supports the other projects as well; however, those groups are encouraged to strengthen their plan/pitch, form external relationships with local companies and/or foundations, and campaign for donations of resources to aid their project cost. Ultimately, projects are implemented within 1 year of their pitch and result in meaningful change. At each Community Impact Project site, students leave a stamp or representation of Kids Helping Kids, so their work is identifiable (ex. a sign that says a beach was cleaned up and is maintained by Kids Helping Kids est. 2022). Over time, as the direct impact fades, students may return to the project site and follow up with their work in the form of Show-Up and Serve projects, making additions and improvements as needed. Show-Up and Serve volunteering will act as maintenance for the Community Impact Projects. Community Impact Projects are more permanent and significant in this way.
1-2 hour opportunities for volunteers to “show-up and serve”. These activities emphasize the importance of volunteerism. There is no planning required, and these events always incorporate a partner, a local organization. Thus, projects often focus on the area of expertise shared by the partner or fulfill a need for the population they serve. Projects change every month, and generally, each event only occurs once. However, if an event is well-liked, its frequency may increase.
Formerly known as Cornerstone Projects, Signature Projects are repetitive (annual) and large in scale. Signature Projects are reputable and help define Kids Helping Kids to the greater community. For instance, Gift of Giving is recognizable as a Kids Helping Kids initiative. While many Signature Projects are older and formed KHK’s initial reputation, any project can become a Signature Project if it is well-received and students request its continuation.
- Pumpkin Bread Bake (November)
- Gift of Giving (December)
- Handled with Car Boutique (April)
- To create a safe and inclusive place for youth to work collaboratively to design, lead, or participate in a service project
- To empower our volunteers to recognize their unique potential to make an impact
- To cultivate the development of these 21st century skills: