Kids We Help

In 2014-15 students in more than 56 schools and nonprofits benefited from the K is for Kids Readers and Leaders program.


K is for Kids’ student leaders celebrated their 7th fun’raising season with another record breaking year of giving!

The 4th Annual Teen Fashion Show 2015 gathered the talents of students of all ages from 27 schools and universities for this unique countywide community project and teen charity event promoting literacy and leadership.  

“Climb Higher. Help Others.”

The “young executives” also expanded their Ladder for Leaders program –  Operation:Outreach – to four Collier County public high schools. The unique initiative is now offered at Gulf Coast High School, Barron Collier High School, Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and Lely High School.

Our students are leaving a legacy behind in their community, before they even graduate from high school!

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.



K is for Kids’ end-of-year TOP RISING READERS BOOK AWARDS were given to students at 28 Collier County Public Schools this school year!

Working closely with Collier County Public School Media Specialists, we are helping to encourage children to read more while also recognizing their reading achievements.  Click here to read more about K is for Kids’ Rising Readers program.


GTES - Top Readers 2015 - Barnes Noble - Students leave with bags of books

Students Read Their Way to the Top:  Golden Terrace Elementary-Intermediate School youngsters were the first to earn K is for Kids Top Reader Book Awards in 2015.  The students enjoyed lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and shopping for new books to take for their home libraries at Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Photo by Karen Clawson.




Author Joe Johsnon Joins Students at 7th Annual K is for Kids Book Fair

Joe Johnson, author of children’s book “The College Kids” and the young adult book “Pursue Your Purpose, Not Your Dreams” was one of the featured authors who joined students at the 7th Annual KIds Celebrate Reading Book Fair at Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

Each year our students host a book fair at Barnes & Noble at the Waterside Shops, featuring guest authors and plenty of free family fun activities engaging children in the excitement of reading and the power of words.

We have “kids” on both ends of our mission:

Imagine being a ten-year-old boy eager to read about aviation, but the book he just checked out from his school library is already out-of-date?

Imagine being a high school student eager to enter college or get a job, but a flat resume leads to nowhere?

What happens when you put these two students together? Something amazing!


Here’s what top student leaders had to say at a recent gathering initiating meetings to carve out a 5-year strategic plan with an international business consultant:

“K is for Kids is promoting youth leadership and developing skills through literacy initiatives.” – Nedgie Paul, Senior Student Leader 2014-15; Co-Founder of DOSA & Operation:Outreach 

“K is for Kids develops youth through active leadership, mentorship and goal setting by working to improve children’s literacy.” – Erin Clawson, First Student Leader & Founder of Teen Advisory Team 2008-09, Co-Founder of the Teen Fashion Show 2011-12, Senior Member of College Student Advisory Council 2014-15 & 2015-16

“K is for Kids provides opportunities for the youth in our community to develop leadership skills through altruistic endeavors.” – Patrick Clawson Jr., Founding Member of Teen Advisory Team 2008-09; Co-Chair Teen Fashion Show 2012-13 & 2013-14; Co-Founder DOSA-Directorate of Student Agenda & Operation:Outreach 2013-14; Member of College Student Advisory Council 2014-15 & 2015-16


K is for Kids’ student leaders celebrated their 6th fun’raising season by expanding our reading and leading programs to benefit kids of all ages from 56 schools and nonprofits in Collier and South Lee Counties!

Group Photo Book Fair 2014IMG_8656-2

K is for Kids’ student leaders gave a special salute to school librarians of Collier County. More than 35 media specialists were on hand to shop for new books for their school libraries. Six guest authors joined in the celebrations. In the front row is Naples City Councilman Sam Saad with his two children. At far right is Dr. Traci Kolman, a director at the Collier County Public School District.

Read more by clicking here: For the list of schools whose students are benefiting from our “reading and leading” programs, email

Milestone: Top High School Student Leaders launched Operation: Outreach to offer a “Ladder for Leaders” to other classmates with the motto “Climb Higher. Help Others”.

KIDS ARE READING:  K is for Kids gives kids more books to read. Working with our education partners, book awards are distributed throughout the year to help encourage and recognize students’ reading achievements.  At the end of the year, K is for Kids distributes Top (Rising) Reader Book Awards to students chosen by their school.

1 GTES Int Top Readers Book Awards 214 Field Trip Vice Mayor Margaret Dee Sulick - Group ALL

Vice-Mayor Dee Sulick joined Top Readers from Golden Terrace Elementary Intermediate at their 2014 field trip to Waterside Shops where they shopped for books for their home libraries.

LPES Top Readers Principal Luncheon Fave 100_4892

A student at Lake Park Elementary School received her Top Reader Book Award from Principal Chris Marker. K is for Kids helps school recognize the reading achievements of its students through its Rising Readers program where students earn books to take home and keep after they reach the reading goals set by their media specialists and teaachers.


FAST FACT: K is for Kids’ Rising Readers Program and Top Reader Book Awards benefited students in 26 Collier County public schools in 2014. 

K is for Kids also distributed books to nonprofits in Collier and South Lee Counties as well as a few schools in Lee thanks to our student leaders’ expanding community outreach programs.

FAST FACT: K is for Kids’ Friends of the School Library Program donated books to 35 Collier County public schools in 2014. Media specialists were invited to K is for Kids’ 6th Annual “Kids Celebrate Reading” Book Fair in February 2014 where they shopped for new books for their school libraries and received a special Salute to School Librarians by student leaders.


1 Student Leadersby Abby Tierney BCH 0004 CROP

University student advisors join high school student leaders at rehearsals for the 3rd annual K is for Kids From the Heart Teen Fashion Show at Barron Collier High School in February 2014. Not shown are advisors – fashion show co-founders Erin Clawson, MST and Ali Martin, UCF; 2nd annual event co-chair, Marina Moussa, FAU; Donna Matthews, SWFL Modeling Agency; and Dezree’ MacDonough, teen model advisor.

KIDS ARE LEADING: K is for Kids gives students more opportunities for leadership and project management utilizing entrepreneurial methods.

FAST FACT: “Ladder for Leaders” – University student advisors from 5 universities helped mentor K is for Kids top high student leaders from 16 high schools across Collier and south Lee Counties who mentor their officers and chairs mentoring committees who guide all high school volunteers engaged in our youth leadership program and events – whew!  And these students are helping hundreds of youth, from toddlers to teens!



K is for Kids student leaders’ celebrated their 5th fun’raising season and reached another exciting milestone: Students from over 45 schools and nonprofits benefited from our student-led literacy and leadership programs!

Literacy program – Students in 30 schools and organizations were given relevant new books for their home and school libraries. 

Leadership program – students from 16 schools, primarily in Collier County, earned community service hours but including three in Lee.

To see the complete list, email your request to or call 239.596.KIDS.

K is for Kids also expanded its Rising Readers program to include special awards recognition and activities. Check out our home page and testimonials for all the exciting news!

K4K - GTE Waterside

Many thanks to Naples Mayor John Sorey III, shown above, and Florida Gulf Coast University’s – “Dunk City” –  Eric McKnight, below, for joining us for K is for Kids’ Top Reader Book Awards to recognize some of Naples’ and Collier County’s most avid readers.


Many thanks to all our high school and college student leaders and volunteers for helping K is for Kids create a circle of readers.

Golden Terrace Elementary Intermediate students enjoy lunch at California Pizza Kitchen during their Top Readers Book Awards field trip to the Waterside Shops, Naples.

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During teens’ 4th “fun’raising season” K is for Kids Foundation gave books to students in 25 schools and nonprofit organizations, while student on the giving end came from 11 schools and organizations!

This was another school year where our students greatly expanded their community outreach!

To all our friends, supporters, and sponsors who made this happen, thank you!

R I S I N G   R E A D E  R S

Tiffany “TJ” Weeks, media specialist at Golden Terrace Elementary Intermediate, stands with the first students who took a reading pledge presented during their “Power Up With Reading” Pep Rally Weeks had given. The students go to choose their first new book to take home and keep, compliments of K is for Kids’ RISING READERS program. GTE is the focus school for the new initiative that supports media specialists’ efforts to encourage their students to read more while recognizing their reading achievements.

Our newest literacy program has enjoyed great success since it was introduced at the start of the 2011-12 school year and our grant recipients have given reports of significant increases in the number of books students are checking out from their school libraries.  Rising Readers is helping children bring literacy home to their families as they begin to  build their own book nooks at home.

Rising Readers places books directly into students’ hands.  This initiative was created to support the efforts and reading incentive programs offered by media specialists, reading coaches, and educational directors within schools and nonprofit organizations to encourage students to read more and to recognize their reading achievements.

The program is flexible and is being utilized in a variety of ways, from encouraging an entire student body to read specified book lists like Reading Counts to small student organized book clubs to top reader awards.

It all began at Golden Terrace Elementary-Intermediate with a pep rally by media specialist TJ Weeks (shown above) sponsored by K is for Kids. TJ encouraged students to take a pledge to read one book by a specified date and complete its corresponding quiz afterwards.  Each student who took the pledge was given the opportunity to choose a new book from Rising Readers to take home and keep.  Students continue to receive new books from Rising Readers as they conquer more challenges set by Weeks.  Dhe has reported that the number of books being checked out by students has increased dramatically as well as the number of students participating in the reading programs.

K is for Kids launched its literacy month in 2012 by taking the celebrations out to children in Immokalee at the Farm Workers Village.  Photo courtesy of Stephanie Griffin, Media Specialist

Schools:  East Naples Middle School, Everglades City, Golden GateElementary – Primary & Intermediate, Golden Gate Middle, Golden Gate High, Golden Terrace Elementary – Primary & Intermediate, Gulf Coast High School (book club), Highlands Elementary, Manatee Elementary, Shadowlawn Elementary, Village Oaks Elementary

Nonprofits:  Collier County Housing Authority Land, Immokalee Child Care Center, Immokalee Farm Worker Village

F r i e n d  s   o f   t h e   S c h o o l   L i b r a r y

Young students at Manatee Elementary School are thrilled to discover new books for their library. Students at Manatee love to read! Keeping up with the kid’s desire and need for new books to read is a challenge facing most school libraries these days — with increasing demands on disappearing budgets, the call grows more urgent for community members to help these children have the books they need to read to be successful in school and in life.  Nonfiction books in science and technology are particularly prone to falling behind.  With more than 60% of Collier County public school children categorized as “economically needy” by the district’s guidelines (meaning they are enrolled in the lunch assistance program), numerous schools have more than 80% of their students in critical need for food, clothing and shelter — sadly, these children may never own a book or have one to read at home.  The only books these children may have access to are the ones found in their school library.

Our very first book donation program to enrich school libraries dates back to 2002 when founder Karen D. Clawson began raising more books for children to read through their school library at Laurel Oak Elementary School.  

When parents learned of Clawson’s efforts, they asked how they could pitch in, so the next year, Clawson launched the first of what was to become a yearly book drive called the “Bring a Book, Bring a Friend®” Fun’raiser.  With the support of the school’s community of families, staff, neighbors and business partners, thousands of books were raised for the students over the next four years.  

As media specialist Marcia Kolmann noted in 2003 on the Fun’raisers invitation, “We have a wonderful challenge keeping up with our enthusiastic readers.” — Marcia Kolmann, Media Specialist, Laurel Oak Elementary School

Note:  The Bring a Book, Bring a Friend Fun’raiser eventually grew into a full literacy month and the annual fun’raiser has extended into multiple fun’raising opportunities to teach children about the excitement of reading and the power of words.  K is for Kids sponsors a wide array of literacy events for children all hosted and organized by our very own Teen Advisory Team!

Before the winter break, all third and fourth grade students at one Immokalee elementary school got the chance to choose a books to take home and keep thanks to the Teen “Head to Toe” Fashion Show when 126 Collier County students collected books for children.

Schools:  Golden Gate Elementary – Primary & Intermediate, Golden Terrace Elementary – Primary & Intermediate, Immokalee High, Lake Trafford ElementaryLely Elementary,  Manatee Elementary, Pinecrest Elementary,  and Village Oaks Elementary.

B u i l d i n g   B o o k   N o o k s   f o r   K i d s

2010: Children at the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County had 500 reasons to smile: 500 books were donated by North Naples Middle School students, with the support of Mr. Brad Preston and staff, in their “Books For Jeans Drive.” NNMS was the first school to conduct a book drive for K is for Kids, and the gifts, valued at approximately $3,000, made it the biggest single book donation in the Foundation’s fun’raising history!

Our third book donation program for nonprofit organizations that offer shared reading environments for children, whether it be a library, teachers’ classroom libraries, or other book nooks.

Preschool boy checks out his new cloth book from K is for Kids Building Book Nooks for Kids program.

AMIKids – Big Cypress, AMIKids-Ft. Myers, Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Collier County Housing Authority Land, Immokalee Child Care Center, Immokalee Farm Workers Village

[To read more about our programs, please click here.]

Elizabeth Stone, March 2010Elizabeth Stone, March 2010

“I wanted to tell you how impressed I was with the teenagers who were volunteering at your “Kids Celebrate Reading!” Book Fair at Barnes & Noble – there were so polite and patient with the children while they were having their face painted and writing stories. They were an interesting group to speak with and everything. They just seemed to be really focused on their purpose for being there. What a great job they did!

The staff in the store were very polite and reception to our presence in the store and very accommodating.

I was so pleased my daughters were able to get their photo taken for your young authors books and that my oldest daughter got a chance to write a story.”

Elizabeth Stone, March 2010

Robert Dean Blair
Guest Author at Bring a Book, Bring a Friend® Fun’raiser benefiting the Village School, Spring 2006


It was so nice seeing you and being exposed to the passion that you have for children’s need for books. So many give lip service, but you are actually contributing to children that you will never know. God bless.
Looking forward to your big event in September, I’ll help in anyway possible.

God bless,

Mary L. Bryan

Hip! Hip! Hooray! We’re off to wonderful reading places
In our hearts K for Kids Foundation will stay!

We love our books and treat them nice
Books that give us information and sizzle with spice.

Our thanks we send and warm wishes too
For all the folks who made our dreams come true!

With books!

Lots of books!

Wonderful books!

ML Bryan and the GGE kids in grades 3, 4, 5

I couldn’t resist writing a poem in the spirit of Dr. Seuss! We
treasure our new books and our excitement grows more and more each day.

Thanks again.

Mary L. Bryan
GGE South
Media Specialist

Mary Will Gross on Facebook

Mary wrote:
“I am excited for you. I know it will be a great success for you this weekend….
You are a wonderful woman to work so smart to help the kids.
I am impressed with your skills to help in public education for all. Blessings, Mary Gros”

Comment on news item

Dear Karen,

My daughter and I participated in your wonderful event last year at Barnes and Noble and are interested in the book she had written a page. This was great fun for all!!! I was so thrilled to donate all our books that we have outgrown to such a wonderful organization. When will the “Young Authors Book” be available?

Liza Buffington Smith

Immokolee Housing & Family

Hello Mrs. Clawson,

Thank you SO MUCH for the books. The children are very excited.   Please let me know what I can do for you as we continue our new friendship.

Thanks again!

Take care,

Lynn Bowen

Fun Time Academy

Hi Karen,
I too saw these online. What darling photos. Thanks so much for taking care of our children. They do love their books. Your teens were patient and nurturing to the children. A great time for all alike and books to last forever.
You are dear!

Lake Trafford Elem., Immokalee

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