About Us

 “Building Readers and Leaders”

K is for Kids® Foundation is a unique student driven, volunteer-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization building readers and leaders.

K is for Kids utilizes a mentorship program to promote youth leadership and develop students’ skills through literacy initiatives. Through this program K is for Kids is able to meet the changing needs of the children in our community.

Our goals are to help feed students’ passion for reading by placing new books into the hands of children who need them most, and to give students nearing graduation from high schools more opportunities to apply their leadership skills outside of the classroom in a real world setting.

With focused efforts, K is for Kids helps cultivate the skills kids need to be creative thinkers, adventurous problem solvers and visionary leaders. Reading and dreaming, learning and leading, creating and achieving: That’s K is for Kids!

 

KIDS ARE READING:

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K is for Kids gives kids in need more books to read.  The foundation promotes literacy and fosters a love of reading in children of all ages, from toddlers to teens, by enriching their libraries at school and at home.

Partnering with media specialists and in collaboration with teachers and principals, book awards are distributed throughout the year through K is for Kids’ Rising Readers program to help encourage and recognize students’ reading achievements.

Members of Operation:Outreach also organize special story time and book giveaways at local nonprofits, like the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County.

4 Operation Outreach Give New Books to Kids at BGCCC Dec 16, 14

Each spring, the foundation helps schools recognize their most avid readers with our end-of-year Top (Rising) Reader Book Awards. This community building program is popular with principals, teachers, media specialists, parents and, most of all, the young honorees themselves! At the end of the 2014-15 school year, K is for Kids honored more than 1,100 students in 29 schools across Collier County (with more in south Lee County) for being readers and leaders!

 

KIDS ARE LEADING:

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Teens may serve in a variety of leadership roles, in internships, and as student spokespersons. Members of K is for Kids’ highest student leadership council, DOSA-Directorate of Student Agenda, may propose, create and manage programs to help spread our cause. DOSA is comprised of student presidents for Operation: Outreach or O2.

Operation: Outreach was launched by DOSA co-founders as a “ladder for leaders” program on high school campuses, with the motto “Climb higher. Help others.” Members are guided in in project and people management, giving them the chance to boost their resumes and build their portfolios while exploring their own personal mission in life.

College students have joined our cause to pitch in with helping hands, and/or serve as interns and advisors to the younger leaders.

Read more here or click on video below – http://www.kisforkids.org/news/fgcu-student-releases-video-teens-mission/

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K is for Kids gives high school students (as well as a handful of college students) nearing graduation more opportunities to earn community service hours, boost resumes, build portfolios and apply their skills outside of the classroom in a real-world setting while helping younger students have more books to read and more dreams to dream.

Student leaders wrap up their annual Teen Fashion Show with a preview of prom tuxedos and gowns. Seventy-eight models from 18 Collier County public schools and a handful from Lee joined dozens of volunteers. Student leaders organize and manage all aspects of the fun'raising event that promotes literacy and leadership amongst students of all ages.

Student leaders wrap up their annual Teen Fashion Show with a preview of prom tuxedos and gowns. Seventy-eight models from 18 Collier County public schools and a handful from Lee joined dozens of volunteers. Student leaders organize and manage all aspects of the fun’raising event that promotes literacy and leadership amongst students of all ages.

All student volunteers have the opportunity to manage projects from concept to completion, developing skills in leadership and communication, utilizing entrepreneurial principles to reach their goals and creatively approaching challenges.

 

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BRING A BOOK, BRING A FRIEND MONTH: Celebrate sharing books with friends during February’s “Bring a Book, Bring a Friend®” for Children’s Literacy Month when teen leaders host fun’raisers* to inspire kids to read more & dream more.

*Fun’raisers – Teens create fun with their friends “raising” books for children, while creating fun for the kids who will receive them!

Cornerstones 

During its seventh fun’raising* season in 2014-15, our foundation’s cornerstones have been firmly set: Reading and dreaming, learning and leading, creating and achieving: That’s K is for Kids!

Milestones

In 2014-15 students in over 56 schools and nonprofits benefited from K is for Kids’ readers and leaders programs!

College StuCoChairs_ErinAndAli_Thumbnail_IMG_9330dent Advisory Council Established

K is for Kids top student leaders who have graduated and entered college may continue to serve in advisory roles to the foundation’s rising teen leaders, a testament to their passion for helping other students succeed in school and in life.  The students attend multiple universities across the States.

DOSA-DTeenFashionShow_Photo_CROP-Thumbirectorate of Student Agenda

 In 2013-14, student leaders revived the original Teen Advisory Team and Council under the new name DOSA or Directorate of Student Agenda.  These students may serve in full interships, focusing on business administration and communication. The students govern the mission and activities of ALL high school volunteers, serve as presidents of Operation:Outreach at their high schools, and as the event co-chairs of their signature fun’raising event, the annual Teen Fashion Show, the highlight event during the Bring a Book, Bring a Friend for Children’s Literacy Month in February.

LWTHS Club Rush Krisha Mac CROP thumbOperation: Outreach – Ladder for Leaders program

“Climb Higher. Help Others”

Our student leaders never cease to amaze us: In 2013-14, they launched Operation:Outreach, offering a “Ladder for Leaders” for high school classmates. As the officers near graduation, they give a helping hand to the students who to take the lead the next year. In 2014-15, the club conservatively expanded to four high schools.  Click here for more:  http://www.kisforkids.org/about/o2-operation-outreach-officers/

Fueling a passion for reading and leading

BUILDING READERS AND LEADERS!

Placing More Books Into the Hands of Children

Kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens, benefit from our programs throughout Collier County and in south Lee, too. We help educators encourage students to read more by placing more books into children’s hands – books that they can take home and keep (Rising Readers program), as well as books they can check out from their school libraries (Friends of the School Library).  K is for Kids also helps recognize the achievements of top readers, too, we book awards being given throughout the year.

 
Two students at Golden Terrace Elementary enjoy the new books they chose during K is for Kids' Big Book Giveaway at their school

Two students at Golden Terrace Elementary enjoy their new books at K is for Kids’ Big Book Giveaway. The event launched the foundation’s Bring a Book, Bring a Friend Month. Each student at the school selected a new book to take home and keep. Photo by Gavin Vary, Florida Gulf Coast University intern in photography for  K is for Kids, 2013

GTES students have field trip to Barnes Noble - K is for Kids Top Reader Book Awards 2015

Students at Golden Terrace Elementary-Intermediate won the first Top Reader Book Awards of 2015 and were treated to a field trip to the Waterside Shops in Naples, enjoying lunch at California Pizza Kitchen before ending with a shopping trip to Barnes & Noble Booksellers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving teens more opportunities to apply their skills outside of the classroom “working” with students of all ages 0 - Bonnie Graham Something to Talk About TV - Cofounders DOSA O2 Nick Mario Patrick Nedgie - screen shot 16b 03-24-15

Students helping students!

K is for Kids is unique in that teens are its primary volunteers, juniors and seniors in high school nearing graduation. The students who earn community service hours, boost their resumes and wield their skills in a real world setting. Students serve as interns, as spokespersons, ambassadors and in leadership roles. Students get to see firsthand how they can impact others in their community. Volunteers may select any given area of interest; and they may strengthen skills or learn new ones.

 

Each year the teens have powered through record-setting years of giving for the Foundation

Students leaders helped launch, create, and/or expand the:

Bring a Book, Bring a Friend for Children’s Literacy Month (efforts began in 2002-03 as a Money for Books Drive before evolving into the Bring a Book, Bring a Friend Fun’raiser benefiting Laurel Oak Elementary) with its accompanying Friends of the School Library program;

First Teen Advisory Team, 2008-09;

Teen Advisory Council, 2010-11;

Annual Shining Star Award for adults who had the greatest impact on the foundation’s community outreach;

Rising Readers program, 2011-12 and End-of-Year Top (Rising) Reader Book Awards;

Student Leaders Present Big Check to CCPS

Student leaders of K is for Kids Foundation present a "big check" to Collier County School District officials representing $4,000 in grant monies and new books being donated through the Foundation's literacy and leadership programs. Shown left to right: Traci Kohler, Director, Staff Development, Instructional Technology & Media Services; Beth Thompson, Chief Instructional Officer; Jessica Cederquist, a senior at Barron Collier High School; Patrick Clawson, Jr., a Gulf Coast High School junior; and Rene Pastir, a student at the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology. This year the annual shopping spree that K is for Kids hosts for media specialists to select new books for their students will coincide with the 5th Annual "Kids Celebrate Reading" Book Fair at Barnes & Noble at the Waterside Shops in Naples on Saturday, February 23rd sponsored by the Foundation. Media specialists will be interact with young attendees at the book fair to see what books they recommend for their school libraries and reading programs. The event is from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.kisforkids.org or call 239.596.KIDS (5437).

Shown left to right: Traci Kohler, Director, Staff Development, Instructional Technology & Media Services; Beth Thompson, Chief Instructional Officer; Jessica Cederquist, a senior at Barron Collier High School; Patrick Clawson, Jr., a Gulf Coast High School junior; and Rene Pastir, a student at the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology.

The Annual Teen K is for Kids Fashion Show, also featuring a talent contest, 2011-12; the 4th fashion show engaged students from 27 schools and universities, including 78 models participating from across Collier and south Lee counties!

Operation:Outreach with its Ladder for Leaders program on high school campuses – “Climb higher. Help Others’ , 2013-14;

Annual Young Entrepreneur Scholarship, now popularly called the Y.E.S. COMP, 2013-14;

Teen Illustrator Contest for children’s book, (K is for Kids’ second scholarship competition), 2014-15;

Plus two new scholarships for student leaders who most contributed to the foundation’s success and programs that year.

K is for Kids’ Student leaders presented a “big check” to Collier County School District officials representing $4,000 in grant monies and new books being donated through the Foundation’s literacy and leadership programs and the next year, 2013-14 donated $10,000 – that amount expanded to $40,000 before the school year’s end!

 

A highlight of our fun'raising season this year was our fourth annual Bring a Book, Bring a Friend for Children's Literacy Month. It began with proclamations by the Collier County Commissioners (first pic below) and Mayor Bill Barnett of Naples (pictured in the fourth photo below); and received recognition from Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Photo courtesy of Collier County Commissioners. George Hiller from Barron Collier High and Danielle Verduchi of Naples High receive the Commissioners of Collier County award proclaiming February as K is for Kids’ “Bring a Book, Bring a Friend for Children’s Literacy Month” on behalf of the Foundation. (Georgia Hiller is at far left.)

 

College Students Form First Business Management Team 2012-13

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Two FGCU interns for K is for Kids, (l) John Maloney, a Business Management major, and Brigitte Papica, a Business Communications major join Fox 4’s Morning Blend TV host “Wild Bill”. Bill and Brigitte hold children’s books donated by two local authors, “N is for Naples” by Lisa Trebilcock and “Catie the Copycat” by Juliana Howard.

University students are joining our cause in ever-increasing numbers and have made great impacts on the Foundation’s mission. They may earn service learning hours or participate in internships.

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FGCU Eagles Men’s Basketball Team player Eric McKnight appears on behalf of K is for Kids at Sabal Palm Elementary Literacy on the Lawn event to congratulate top readers.

Like their younger counterparts, college students serve in leadership roles, as spokespersons, ambassadors, and/or interns, and are are able to apply principles learned in the classroom in a “real world” business setting. Volunteers may select their given area of interest to strengthen existing skills or learn new ones.

In 2013, students from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) established K is for Kids’ first “executive” business management team, serving as advisors to the high school student leaders in their activities, and working directly with the executive director to achieve goals set.

[Note: In following years, high school students have proved that they are eager and able to take on these high level roles, thus they now serve as K is for Kids “young executives”.]

 

 

 

It all began over a decade ago…

Over a decade ago roots were laid at Laurel Oak Elementary School in Naples, Florida when K is for Kids’ founder Karen Clawson began volunteering in the classrooms and school of her two children.  In 2002, Karen began helping the school librarian (or media specialist) and teachers boost the number of books for students to read in and out of school.

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At one time the largest elementary school in Collier County, Laurel Oak had over 1,200 eager readers. Keeping pace with their interests and fast developing technology was a challenge.

After four years of fun’raising at Laurel Oak, other schools and nonprofits began to ask for help, so with strong community interest and support, Karen launched K is for Kids(r) Foundation in February 2008.

In 2014-15, under its umbrella, students of 56 schools and organizations across Collier and south Lee Counties  benefited from K is for Kids’ literacy and leadership programs!

 

 

About our Founder

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Photo by Madisyn Andrea, Gulf Coast High. K is for Kids’ founder Karen D. Clawson with the young authors books at the “Kids Celebrate Reading” Book Fair 2011.

Founder Karen Clawson’s devotion to the enrichment of children’s education and youth development is embodied in the formation and growth of K is for Kids® Foundation.  She has volunteered without compensation since its formation in 2007, considering her time and efforts a “gift” to the kids.

Karen is called “an ordinary mom doing extraordinary things” for the children of her community and her “work” has recognized with many awards.  Click below to read more (Meet Our Board of Directors).

READ MORE HERE: 

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