Kids want to make a difference, so why not provide them with the tools to do so on a societal scale? That’s what childcare specialist Kristen Witzel was thinking back in 2015 when she founded the nonprofit group Kids Boost.
Witzel had been working at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and, according to Fast Company, one day a boy recovering from an arm injury told her that he wanted to raise money to help other kids at the hospital. Witzel asked the boy, Jared, what he liked to do. Jared said he was into wall climbing. So Witzel helped him organize a climbathon.
“When he was presenting the check, I had this aha moment of: What if every kid had the opportunity to use what they love to help a cause that’s important to them,” Witzel told Fast Company. “[Kids] want to do something to change the world and have an impact, but they often just don’t know how.”
Kids Boost is a three-month program no different than any other extracurricular course. Each participant gets a cool $100 and a personal coach. From there, the child decides what cause they want to support, and they have to figure out how to turn their $100 into additional funding. The kids use 20% of the money to help enroll other kids, while the remaining eighty percent goes directly to the cause they are promoting.
While enrolled in the program, the children and their personal coach work on skills like communication, business, and money management.
To illustrate how the program works, Fast Company provided the example of a child who wants to throw an ice cream party to raise money for an animal shelter. Instead of spending all their money on supplies, the child would learn a better way to go would be to call store owners and ask them to donate money, ice cream or space.
The child would also learn how to explain to contributors how their donation money is being used.
“We try to connect the dots so that the kids can see exactly where their money is going,” said Witzel. “And then we talk about what other ways can kids get involved with their organization.”
Witzel said on average each child turns their $100 in seed money into $1,800. In 2018, the participating kids finished about 35 projects, and this year they’re expected to make it to 55.
Kids Boost has become so popular, it now has a long waiting list.
“Our hope is that it’s not just a one and done,” said Witzel. “We can connect [kids] to this bigger picture of how, even at eight or 10 years old, they can make a difference for something that does matter to them.”