CONGRATULATIONS TO COMFORT CASES, OUR $75,000 DONATION WINNER!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 7 OTHER FINALISTS. THEY WILL EACH RECEIVE A DONATION OF $5,000 FROM DSW!
THE WINNER OF THE $75,000 DONATION GOES TO...
CONGRATULATIONS TO COMFORT CASES, OUR $75,000 DONATION WINNER!
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 7 OTHER FINALISTS. THEY WILL EACH RECEIVE A DONATION OF $5,000 FROM DSW!
At Comfort Cases, we envision a world in which foster youth are treated with dignity and compassion and where communities are committed to helping them thrive. Comfort Cases' mission is to provide overnight bags with comfort and essential items for children entering the foster care system. We also advocate for systemic reforms that ensure foster youth have every opportunity to realize their dreams and thrive.
On any given day, nearly 428,000 children are in the foster care system across the United States. Of these thousands of children, most enter the foster care system carrying little more than the clothes on their backs. If afforded the opportunity to collect belongings, many children are handed a trash bag in which to carry their personal items. This transition is a time of great upheaval and instability. For most, a first foster home placement is highly unlikely to be their last. Many children in foster care are moved from home to home multiple times, holding their life’s treasures in a bag most use for garbage. Comfort Cases believes that every child has the right to feel a sense of dignity. Every child deserves a special bag filled with belongings they can call their own. It is Comfort Cases’ mission to provide a proper bag, filled with comfort and essential items, for these brave children in search of finding a forever home. Comfort Cases’ primary program provides overnight bags for foster children and youth for newborns up to the age of 21. Our cases are new backpacks or duffel bags filled with new items including pajamas, a blanket, a stuffed animal, hygiene and dental products, a book, and a fun activity. Every item placed in our Comfort Case is significant and special to our Comfort Cases’ Founder, Rob Scheer, who grew up in foster care and adopted four children out of foster care. Rob knows that each of the items in a Comfort Case would have made a positive difference for him, his daughter, and three sons while moving from foster home to foster home. By educating communities about the issues facing children in foster care, we are leading a network of champions for children to take action. Comfort Cases believes in the importance of inspiring youth to lead by example while becoming involved with efforts to support those in foster care. One of our most celebrated forms of community engagement are our Packing Parties. These are events (large and small) where caring citizens comprised of families, schools, civic groups, businesses, religious organizations, and/or retirees unite to assemble Comfort Cases.
Since Comfort Cases’ inception 4 years ago, we have distributed more than 20,000 bags through the kindness and generosity of our community. To date we have accomplished this goal without corporate sponsorships and a nearly all-volunteer force.
The impact Comfort Cases has on the lives of children in foster care is best expressed by the outpouring of stories from social workers and agency partners. These countless accounts tell of children who arrive and are waiting to be assigned to a first foster home with nothing but the clothes on their backs. For some kids, who have lost their parents and do not have a key to get into their house to collect any belongings, receiving a Comfort Case with a book and an activity while waiting for a placement is consoling. Some of these youth have been taken from drug addicted parents and arrive in the middle of the night in soiled clothes. Having a pair of clean pajamas with a soft blanket and stuffed animal to clutch while awaiting placement provides warmth in a cold moment of despair. Comfort Cases wants each child in foster care to know that they have not been forgotten, as they are cared for during a chaotic, confusing, and scary time. Comfort Cases is currently taking big strides to expand nationally, creating a larger footprint on the way we can strive to support youth in foster care. DSW’s Shoe Lovers Care Leave Your Mark would make a major impact to help us march in the direction of our dreams. To see how the Leave Your Mark award would make sense in dollars and cents to Comfort Cases’ mission, the average cost of a complete Comfort Case is $45.00. Receiving the $75,000 award from the Shoe Lovers Care Program would result in 1,600 complete Comfort Cases for youth in foster care throughout the country. We implore you to join in our journey with the hope that the ‘shoe fits’ for you to become a part of Comfort Cases’ community caring for kids!
Ensure every child, sibling and parent impacted by childhood cancer has the support, encouragement and resources to Never Ever Give Up!
We fulfill our mission by connecting with courageous families through our relationships with over 400 care centers, bringing awareness to their stories through our media channels, offering them helpful resources through our support network and sending the entire family continual doses of encouragement through JoyJars, Year of Joy and iNEGU programs. We have been able to encourage over 150,000 children around the world fighting cancer.
The $75,000 grant would allow us to be able to stuff and send 3,000 JoyJars to children fighting cancer and start a relationship with their parents so we can encourage their family to Never Ever Give Up over the course of a year through our programs.
We exist to foster hope, happiness, and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening illnesses. A Kid Again programs involve the entire family (not just the child who is ill) to improve the well-being of everyone affected by the illness. This helps encourage and strengthen the ill child’s primary support network during the most difficult period of their lives.
Why We Do It: We exist to foster hope, happiness, and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening illnesses. A Kid Again programs involve the entire family (not just the child who is ill) to improve the well-being of everyone affected by the illness. This helps encourage and strengthen the ill child’s primary support network during the most difficult period of their lives.
What We Do: Year ‘round fun-filled events, we call Adventures, that allow children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to feel like A Kid Again. We include the entire family on our fun-filled Adventures, because everyone in the family is fighting to survive the illness Our Adventures create an interactive and supportive environment between families, so a natural support system is built-in to our services during the fight to survive the illness.
How We Do It: We accomplish this mission through our 1,000 dedicated volunteers and hundreds of the generous donors and partners. We strive to go beyond activities, providing comprehensive, practical support to help families cope with the incredible challenges of enduring a life-threatening illness.
For 20 years, A Kid Again has built our unique model of serving kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families throughout Ohio. Our services are offered free to our kids and families for all year around. Because we congregate them with other families going through their same circumstances, they create a strong support group with one another. As our families struggle to find a new “normal” in their lives: we provide hope for the future in the midst of fight, happiness at our regular occurring Adventures, and healing for families as they strive to enjoy life in spite of their circumstances. Each time our kids and families attend an Adventure, they are - Giving Illness a Time Out - together!
Sadly, today in America, there are an estimated 500,000 kids, plus family members battling a life-threatening illness. We currently host about 13,000 A Kid Again family members at our 30 planned Adventures, annually. There are thousands of families across the U.S. who could benefit from the services A Kid Again offers.
After recently completing our strategic plan, the Governing Board set a goal to double the number of A Kid Again families served, in the next 5 years. We would utilize the DSW Shoe Lover Care $75,000 impact grant to serve new kids and families not currently being served by A Kid Again. Your gift would GREATLY impact even MORE kids and families who need our services, but are presently not being reached.
To build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive — not simply struggle to get by — in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.
Founded in 2002, Operation Homefront (OH) is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families. Operation Homefront aims to be the provider of choice for military families needing short-term relief, long-term resiliency, and recurring family support programs. Serving our mission each day, Operation Homefront provides critical financial assistance, transitional and permanent housing, caregiver and spouse support initiatives and family support programs, like our Back-to-School Brigade, Star Spangled Baby Showers and Holiday Meals for Military to prevent short-term needs from turning into chronic, long-term struggles. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support from thousands of volunteers, Operation Homefront proudly serves America’s military families. For more information, visit OperationHomefront.org.
Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity oversight groups, 92 percent of Operation Homefront expenditures go directly to programs that support tens of thousands of military families each year. Each year, Operation Homefront’s Critical Assistance Program receives more than 21,000 requests for assistance, with an average of $571 per request. A $75,000 contribution would significantly impact over 120 military families, helping them with rent/mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, home repairs, car repairs and other essential needs, like we could with Guin Sloan:
At age 19, Guin Sloan was sent on her first deployment to Afghanistan for a year. During her deployment, she fractured her hip and eventually medically discharged from the Army. She went into the Army Reserves and decided to go back to school to earn her law degree. When she had completed one of the two years, her husband was laid off from the oil field. There was no money for Guin to finish law school. However, in 2015, Guin started the VA rehabilitation program which enabled her to get back on track with her degree and she graduated in May 2016. Guin passed the bar exam while pregnant with their fifth child but then her family hit a financial roadblock when she stopped receiving VA school funding.
“My husband made $14.00 an hour,” said Guin. “We were going from a family of six to a family of seven. I was looking for work, but we were falling behind on rent and bills.” Guin looked online for resources and found Operation Homefront.
“Operation Homefront contacted me really fast,” said Guin. “They (OH) were able to help us with rent and utilities and un-expectantly we were given food assistance. The groceries were a huge help. A life saver. That helped us to carry through.”
“Without your help we would have been homeless,” said Guin. “Your help allowed us to float for a bit longer.” In January 2017, Guin began working as an attorney in Washington state.
The mission of The Trevor Project is to end suicide among gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people.
The Trevor Project is the only organization that fights to end suicide among LGBTQ youth under 24. Founded in 1998, the organization operates a 24/7 telephone Lifeline and digital (chat and text) programs for LGBTQ youth who are feeling alone, depressed or suicidal. We also operate an online peer-to-peer digital community for LGBTQ youth and have educational programs in schools throughout the country to train people how to identify and prevent suicide. For years The Trevor Project has been a leading advocate across the country for laws and policies that support the well-being of LGBTQ youth.
More and more young people are using text as a means of communication. Currently, due to resource constraints, The Trevor Project’s chat and text programs are not available 24/7 (our telephone Lifeline operates 24/7). It is critical that we expand our capacity to meet the needs of young people when and where they need us. $75,000 will contribute greatly to our programs by allowing us to bring on more staff and volunteers which will allow us to expand the operating hours for our programs to our 24/7 goal.
The singular aim of Providence House is to break the homeless cycle one family at a time.
Providence House began in 1988 when two members of First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana recognized a need for shelter services for homeless families with children. Originally named Evergreen House and operated by the Salvation Army, the organization served as a temporary shelter until 1992 when it became evident there was a great need in Northwest Louisiana for transitional housing for families with children. The organization was renamed Providence House and the mission evolved to provide long-term solutions to breaking the homeless cycle. The comprehensive support services were developed to help each family address the root causes that led them to homelessness and ultimately move them toward their highest level of self-sufficiency. Providence House has continued to grow over the years in response to the residents’ and the greater community’s needs. Today, the agency is the largest emergency shelter for homeless families with children in Louisiana, with the capacity to serve 90 families. Since opening in 1992, 516 families have graduated from our comprehensive program. Our program centers around three strong pillars: education, permanent housing and supportive services (counseling, parenting classes, case management and job training).
Our vision is to be a catalyst for change so that no family in our community is homeless by providing an opportunity to thrive as equal members of our community by engaging people in acts of compassion, empowerment and advocacy. “Imagine a community where no family is homeless.”
Ministry: Our mission statement speaks to what we believe and is the underlying motivation for all that we do at Providence House. The Lord who created you says: “fear not, I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
Providence House is a ministry called to live out God’s gracious intention, sovereign purpose and steadfast love for each and every person. In providing shelter, care, support and encourage for families in need, we seek to be a visible sign and instrument of God’s own provision for all of God’s children.
Providence House is the only emergency shelter in the state of Louisiana that keeps the entire family intact. If a family is homeless with a 13-year old boy, the boy is separated from the family. He is too old to be housed with the female side of a traditional shelter and too young to live on the men’s side. Providence House is more than a shelter. It’s a house, a place where the entire family is stabilize from the vicious cycle of homelessness and all of the symptoms that come along with being homeless. We receive an average of 75 calls per month from families looking for shelter; however, our shelter can only accommodate 27 families at a time. We also manage 37 apartments across our local community. The goal is to move people into permanent housing while delivering supportive services- job skills training, case management, counseling and parenting classes. We never rest whenever we have to turn a family away. We wonder, “What’s happening with the children or what did they eat last night?” $75,000 is a game changer for families living from house to house or car to car. If we win….
· We can provide housing services to at least 50 additional people,
· We can provide high quality, affordable childcare to 75 additional children ages 0-4 years old via our child development center,
· We can make sure that homeless families with children will have three hot meals and two snacks just like the families we currently serve,
· We will produce the next teacher, nurse, doctor, lawyer, writer, painter but extended a hand up and not a hand out,
To empower young people – especially those who need us most – to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
We believe every young person can achieve success in postsecondary education, a 21st century career or military service.
Unfortunately, in our country today, too many youth are shut out of the opportunities, experiences and networks needed to prepare them to thrive in the future.
With a history of successful outcomes, Boys & Girls Clubs are uniquely positioned to break through the real and perceived barriers that limit a young person from realizing their full potential today and tomorrow.
Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe, affordable place for kids and teens during critical out of-school time. They offer life-changing programs and services to more than 4 million youth all across America and on U.S. military installations worldwide each year.
Our Clubs are open every day until 8pm and all day during the summer and provide youth with academic support, organized sports, daily meals, leadership programming and caring, adult mentors. Membership costs at the Boys & Girls Clubs average $10 per year, meaning that private donations from individuals and corporations (just like you!) are critical to our ability to serve the kids and teens who need us the most.
Youth who attend a Boys & Girls Club are 40% more likely to be on track to graduate from high school on time and report higher levels of community engagement, employment and healthy lifestyle practices. Young people are our community’s greatest asset, but only you can help us open the door to a great future for all youth in this community.
A $75,000 grant will help us build a STEM Center for Exploration in a deserving Club, which will give youth daily access to the experiences, programming and technology they need to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Youth who are exposed to STEM experiences on a daily basis are more likely to graduate from high school and show an interest in high demand careers. In many neighborhoods served by a Boys & Girls Club, less than 50% of adults have attained a high school diploma. Opening a new STEM Center for Exploration will give thousands of kids and families access to life-changing opportunities and experiences.
The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus’ mission is to maximize the potential of children while supporting families and individuals with disabilities so that they may thrive in the community.
The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a full-service organization with multiple programs and services that together provide an integrated and innovative environment for people with disabilities from childhood through adulthood.
Programs on the campus include The Aurora School; Open Door Learning Center preschool; STEP Up Vocational Training program for adults; and ALLY (“A Life Like Yours”) Advocacy Center, all devoted to serving people with disabilities and their families, as well as helping children of all abilities thrive in our community.
If we were to win the $75,000, we would use the money to have really fun and exciting field trips for our two school programs (Open Door Learning Center and The Aurora School); we would have another bike camp to teach kids with disabilities how to ride bicycles; and we would develop more programs that fill the needs of our disability community.