Lucky? Blessed? Special? However you look at it, we want to tell you about this upcoming weekend at the Chicago Volunteer Expo and why we’re very excited.
We’ve touched on it a couple times; however, as a reminder, here’s a brief recap on the establishment of Cardz for Kidz!. In the beginning, it was just a group of children from church making cards for patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (known as Children’s Memorial at that time). Presently, we’ve expanded a lot and nearly 300 groups have made cards for disheartened children and solemn seniors in over 35 countries.
We’re believing that after this year’s Chicago Volunteer Expo, these numbers will all grow exponentially. What’s so exciting about this year’s event is that we’re going to have an even larger space, attendees will be directed towards our area, and more people will be encouraged to make cards throughout the event. We were told we’d also have a table to recruit volunteers, explain the mission of our organization AND a bigger space for people to make cards on the spot. Based on last year’s participation, we’re sure this year’s event will help move the Chicago Volunteer Expoup a level on our website: www.cardzforkidz.org/participants.
We guess what makes 2019 so much more exciting was how last year worked out so perfectly. Here’s the story.
We still don’t remember exactly how we first heard about the Chicago Volunteer Expo (maybe from a Facebook ad, through word-of-mouth, or some other way). Somehow, we connected; we applied, made a small donation, and then we were selected to be one of the featured nonprofits. We were told about the anticipated number of people who would attend the event, and the renowned fellow nonprofits also participating—to be honest, we were a bit nervous. Thankfully, the Vice President was able to get a sign made for us, and we made handouts as well as t-shirts.
Our goal was to spread the word and get as many people to start making cards as possible. Originally, the plan was just to bring in the “Thank You” cards we’ve received from the hospitals so attendees could see how grateful they were for the cards. At the last second, our founder decided to grab a few art supplies, thinking that maybe if people made cards at the event they could see how fun it was and want to make more cards at home. Then, during the setup—before the event started—as we were laying out the supplies and our flyers on our half of the table (the setup was two organizations per table), another nonprofit a few tables away called us over. They told us that their tablemates never showed up and they didn’t need a full table. They asked us if we wanted to switch locations, since we also had art supplies. PERFECT. BLESSED.
What would have been a tight a squeeze ended up working out nicely. Based on that last-second decision to grab art supplies, and the kindness of another nonprofit, we got a full table to ourselves AND attendees would have the opportunity to make cards.
Throughout the event, families and attendees stopped by, made cards and talked with us about Cardz for Kidz!. People loved that they were able to participate on the spot. Overall, we received a total of 71 cards for our children and there were even cards in a variety of languages. One person stopped by afterwards and told us that we were their favorite nonprofit at the event since they got to volunteer that day. Here are some pictures of the fun times.
Wow, 2018 was a great success—it’s hard to imagine it’d be possible to top that. There are many groups who have since reached out to us and told us that they started making cards and hosting events since they heard about us at last year’s Chicago Volunteer Expo. Wow! So, we started to prep and plan for 2019, seeing if there was anything we needed to change (e.g., using glitter markers because glitter glue takes too long to dry). Then, we got an email from the Chicago Volunteer Expo that made things even more exciting. For 2019, we are going to be one of the highlighted nonprofits and they’re going to try to send everyone our way to do some speed volunteering and make a card. That means we’ll be able to do some much-needed recruiting for behind-the-scenes volunteers, as well as (hopefully) receive cards in many languages.
It’s amazing how our founder’s last-second decision to bring art supplies, plus a nonprofit not showing up, led to us not only getting a larger table, but also let us see how much people enjoyed being able to make cards on the spot. Everything is working out perfectly. We won’t even get into how it turns out this year’s volunteers for the event happen to be a professional project manager, one of the founder’s favorite artists, and an enthusiastic Spanish-speaking volunteer! The 2018 Chicago Volunteer Expo was spectacular, and we’re thinking that 2019 will be even better since clearly this was all MEANT TO BE. Hmmmm… Since they’re supplying the art supplies for us, we’ll have to think of what we should grab last second that might be a game changer!
To see more pictures and stories, please check out our website www.cardzforkidz.org; like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitterand Instagram; visit our Google+ or LinkedInpages! Also, check out some of our videos on YouTube!