The name Kind to Kids is a giant understatement. Since 2008, more than 10,000 children in Delaware’s foster care system have attended professional sports games and cultural venues, received birthday and Christmas gifts, and benefited from life skills training, thanks to the organization.
Founder Caroline Jones saw a need when, as a volunteer court-appointed special advocate for foster children, she witnessed the financial hardship often faced by the kids and their families. “There may be love and stability,” Jones says. “But there’s usually not a lot of money to take a child to a ball game or a museum.”
So in 2008 she and her children Catherine and Christopher began asking for empty seats at ball games to be donated. Since then, the Joneses have expanded to tickets for the 76ers and Phillies and places such as Longwood Gardens, the Delaware Children’s Museum and Delaware Children’s Theatre. “It’s really about providing cultural opportunities so the kids get to experience the wider world,” Jones says.
Kind to Kids also organizes a citywide Christmas toy drive in Wilmington and a book drive at Barnes & Noble at Christiana Mall. Last December, Kind to Kids received 6,000 donated books.
The organization also provides kids with blue duffel bags packed with a blanket, book and stuffed animal. “We realized that when kids leave home and come into foster care, which is incredibly traumatic, they carry their belongings in trash bags,” Jones says. “We stepped in to provide the duffel bags.” Since 2012, Kind to Kids has donated close to 2,000.
But Kind to Kids is about more than gifts. It also provides training in life skills education so kids can learn about healthy relationships, how to get a job and answer interview questions, how to open a bank account, how to pay rent and buy food. Last year, 412 kids attended. “We give them skills so that, when they lead their lives, they can make good decisions,” Jones says.
For more, visit www.kindtokids.org.