Do you know anyone named Sally? Or, a better question, do you have an aunt named Sally? If so, what did she do? Sorry about that. Please excuse her. Aunt Sally these days. You really need to watch out for them. At least, that’s what we were taught. Originally, we thought everyone knew about that troublesome Aunt Sally, but did some research on the Amtrak to be sure. The first lady we checked with knew the correct answer but hadn’t met our Aunt. To be safe, we asked a couple of other guys on the train. They both knew the answer, and both listed how they remembered the correct order – “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.”
For more context, we asked people if they recalled learning the ‘order of operations’ in grade school. When they confirmed they remembered, we asked how they remembered that order. It was a packed train so when the second gentleman confirmed he knew about the misbehaving aunt, a couple of others smiled and agreed. Originally, he started to list them out, “Parenthesis, exponents, mult…,” but we interrupted to make sure he knew this wasn’t a math quiz. Before we used this idea, we wanted to see how well known it is.
In the instance of Cardz for Kidz!, we will consistently keep track of the cards and monitor the delivery locations so there will be some math, #everycardcounts, but we can modify those words a bit when it comes to us. We’ve talked before about how we’d want to provide a scholarship (#whenwegrowup), purchasing video game systems for different locations (#blogpost), but this time we’d like to clearly list out how we’re prioritizing our growth and future goals. In order to make it a bit easier, we’ll use PEMDAS and refer to Aunt Sally.
- P – Permanent Presence: This section is something we’ve referred to a couple of times before in previous blog and social posts. One of our first goals was to expand our presence and reach more kids across the USA, then across the globe. We needed to have at least one partner location in each state and each continent across the globe. Now that that’s been accomplished, our goal is to expand our reach and increase to more big cities both in the USA and worldwide. Our goal is for everyone to feel that although their cards may not go to someone close to them, someone close to them is being reached by our organization. What started off as just delivering cards in Chicago, Illinois has now expanded to delivering over 100,000 outside of this state.
- E – Entertainment & Engagement: This section is referring to rewarding our partner locations with more than just cards to entertain their patients. We have purchased things like bathroom supplies for our partner Ronald McDonald House Charities, but with this section we’re strictly referring to things that would make our kids happy. This interest originally started one of the first times we went to what used to be called Sinai Children’s Hospital and saw they only had a VCR in their Family Life Center. From what we were told, we purchased their Family Life Center their first DVD player.
Additionally, based on the Epilepsy Awareness Month Facebook Live promise, we have raised funds to reward a couple of our partner locations with portable entertainment systems so those kids could be further entertained during their difficult times. As we’re growing, we’d love to be able to raise funds to fulfill our promise and do more to engage the kids/families who are currently in hospitals.
- M – Military & More: Like the prior two steps, we’ve started this step, but this M stands for how we’d like to continually reach more groups during times when they’re overlooked to encourage them with your uplifting cards. We currently have partnerships with some VA Hospitals, and we do more than strictly send them cards on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. We’ll send the cards each quarter since there’s a permanent partnership. Trying to be cute, we say that your cards are sent to courageous kids, faithful families, solemn seniors, and wounded warriors. We’ll continue to work and connect with Ronald McDonald House Charities across the globe to help encourage the children and their families since we understand hospitalization can be strenuous on the entire family, #familiestoo.
- D – Donations towards Degrees: This step is simple. #WhenWeGrowUp our goal is to start a scholarship and/or grant towards education for kids with Special Abilities that does not focus on GPAs, but instead looks at kids’ eagerness and desire to succeed. Based on direct experience, we understand that it’s significantly harder for some of the children we serve to perform the same in the classroom. Many scholarships look at what students are doing in and out of the classroom, but with our scholarship we’d focus on what the child has overcome, how hard they’re trying, and where they’re trying to go. With these aspects in mind, we’ll be able to reward them and their family for their diligence and help them to their next step.
- A – All-star Assistance: It’s interesting. Currently there are some people who send messages to us on Facebook, our firstname.lastname@example.org email, and the Contact Us page within a couple hours of each other if someone doesn’t respond. There are then other people who have negatively commented on other pictures/posts on our social media because it wasn’t a picture of their card; theirs arrived a few days ago and they hadn’t seen it up on our sites. We’ve consistently tried to remind people that there is NO SUCH THING as a Cardz for Kidz! employee. Everyone volunteers their time so getting a response between 9am-5pm will be difficult. And responding to messages between counting cards, running social media and shipping cards, is a lot to handle for volunteers. Therefore, after we start the scholarship, we’d love to be able to hire some All-star Assistance to be able help run the organization and help us grow and be more responsive. We’re believing that would be someone who would be passionate about helping the kids, seniors and families we serve and diligent to follow through with our #everycardcounts passion point.
- S – Spread out Shops: This is something we haven’t discussed before, but in the future, we’d love to be even more global. We think it’s AMAZING that there are people like Karen in Australia and Carmen in Taiwan who are constantly making cards and sending them to us here in the United States. Also, we know that people who receive the cards feel they are WAY more valuable if the cards they receive come from “far” away. Even with that, in the future we’d love to be able to expand our presence and have other bases/sets of behind-the-scenes volunteers in other countries. For example, we’d have a group of Cardz for Kidz! volunteers in Australia. That way people in Australia could make their cards and send them all to that specific location and would save A LOT on shipping. We’d be able to expand past the several Ronald McDonald House Charities that we have in that country. Our set of volunteers (or potential future employees) would collect and proof the cards, then send a certain percentage that were signed by the artist and that country (e.g. from Karen in Australia, from Sarah in Sydney, Australia) to other locations. With this in place kids around the world would still feel they were getting cards from across the globe and we’d be able to expand our global presence.
In conclusion, you’ll see that we’ve started the first 3 steps. We’ll need a lot of increased donations and/or partnerships in order to achieve the D.A.S. part of our list, but we are striving to get there. Who knows, when we get to the ‘A’ step that employee may have a great idea on the dream we once had of being able to partner with an actual card company (e.g. Hallmark, American Greetings) on how to turn the top card picked from the OVERALL Top 10 cards into a card they could sell to help us raise funds; something like 50% of the funds from that card gets donated back to Cardz for Kidz!.
Who knows? We heard they’re changing the ABC’s song since singing LMNOP is a bit too confusing. If even that’s changing, then kids in the future may not have such a troublesome aunt, but the order will remain the same. It’s the same with us. As we grow, we may use different wording or a different phrase, but we can use the same acronym/phrase when we list our priorities or better known as, ORDER OF OPERATIONS.
To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter and Instagram; visit our LinkedIn page! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!