Dare to Dream Kids Care Club is a national, nonprofit organization out of New Canaan, Connecticut. A mother who wanted to instill charity and a volunteering spirit in her own children started Kids Care Club. It has now become a large group of 300 clubs across the country with an estimated 20,000 children participating. Local clubs can choose activities to suit their community needs with ideas and packets coming from the Kids Care Club main office.
Six years ago, Grinnell School had a dream and formed the Dare to Dream Kids Care Club. Now they are a group of 90 children ages 6 – 12 that meet every six weeks to coordinate and complete a variety of public service activities. Over the years they have supported their local community with charitable acts by replenishing the local soup kitchen with canned items and toiletries and donating numerous “Friendship Boxes” to a local battered women’s shelter. They donate money to local families whose children have battled cancer.
On the national level, they mail books to children who lost everything to flooding in Kentucky and Ohio. The Club made a school-wide “Chain For Life” to support the families in Littleton, Colorado. On the international level, Kids Care sponsored a school-wide collection of toys, socks and soap for the Kosovo refugee children. The meeting in December included a speaker from the Salvation Army. Lt. Tracy Hughes spoke to the children about their “Toy Shop”. This program is designed to assist needy families in various areas by providing Christmas gifts for their children. Families can be assured that their children will have at least two presents to open on Christmas morning. The club members sponsored a school-wide toy drive for two weeks in December and over 145 gifts were collected.
A small company in a neighboring town learned of the spirit of volunteering and charity and donated $500 to the Salvation Army’s “Kids Cafe” in the Kids Care Club name. This donation will assist the Salvation Army in providing for many low-income children who attend their after school daycare and meal program. The partnership with this organization will continue throughout the year. They are currently researching their children’s needs and asking the club members to come up with helpful, charitable ideas for the future.
The December meeting continued as the children opened their shoeboxes filled with gifts. Each member was asked to shop for small items that they would enjoy receiving at the holiday time. Many parents had their children earn their own money to purchase these gifts. Items were carefully packed in their boxes and wrapped in holiday paper that was donated by a local store. Tags identified the appropriate age and sex of the contents of the gifts. Sixty “Holiday Friendship Boxes” were delivered to “Emily’s Place,” the YWCA Crisis Service for battered families. The hands-on serving makes a difference in strengthening the existing social service organizations in their war against human suffering.