Meet Emma, a 9 year old girl from Cyprus who started supporting Hope for Children when she was just 6 years old by setting up her Kids for Kids initiative to encourage more children her age to support the charity.
Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Emma is an active 9 year old. She does ballet, art, plays the guitar, drama and horse riding. She speaks, reads and writes three languages (English, Greek and Serbian). She loves to play with her sister and her friends, ride her bike and rollerblade. And I am her mom, Vanja, who tries to support her in anything she chooses to do.
What made you choose to support Hope for Children?
When Emma was 6 years old, I told her about a story I came across on Humans of New York. It was about a New York teacher who was from Nigeria and who, when she was small, had had to work to earn 5c per day to save up money to go to school.
At the time Emma was in first grade and that really struck a chord with her. She realized she needed 10 times that amount just to buy a bottle of water.
She wanted to do something for those children and that's how we came up with the idea of a run. Once we had that decided we knew that the charity we would support would have to be a children's charity. We did some research looking for a charity to support and Hope for Children just seemed like a perfect fit, working exactly in the areas we wanted and more importantly with a concentration in education.
How did you go about fundraising for Hope? What is the Kids for Kids initiative?
Emma loved the idea of having her friends join her on the run. To be able to join forces and fundraise together for this amazing cause was just so exciting. On the day of our events we often see little kids 5 and 6 and 7 year olds donating their pocket money. I remember one boy telling us "I only just found out about it. I didn't get to have sponsors but I can donate all of my pocket money" and he handed me a 5 euro note. That was the most precious donation we got to date.
Tell us about how you organised your fundraising effort. What was challenging, what went well?
We market the event by printing information about what it is all about, as well as a registration form so that we can preprepare certificates of participation. We always circulate information about what the cause is for because every year we get new kids and new parents involved. We get medals for each child to give out at the end of the run and each child's name is called at the end. And even though it's not a race we give a trophy to the child who comes first at the run. However, we're planning to change this and give the trophy to the child who raises the most money.
Every year we learn something new and we improve the event each time. We now preprepare certificates (we used to do it on the day), we give free water, we have a 1st aid kit ready (we learned this the hard way) we have a shaded area for rest. Next year as I said we'll give the trophy to the person who collects the most.
I'm sure we'll come up with something else next time. The biggest challenge is getting kids to get sponsored over a period of time rather than just come on the day and give us 10, 20, 30 euro.
As it grows it's difficult to control. And I've found that we've increased the number of attendees but have not significantly increased the amount collected. My plan is to approach businesses who are willing to sponsor the event and have them donate money or even gifts in order to incentivise attendance.
Are you currently looking forward to another fundraising event?
Yes we are! This is an annual event and we have no intention of stopping :)
What tips do you have for other parents or children who would like to organise their own Hope for Children event or take part in a challenge?
Just go for it! It's easier than it looks. Once you make a commitment and post that event on Facebook there is no going back. So just take that plunge, you will love it and you will feel amazing at the end.