Charities Making a Difference in 2014
Brooke's Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer
Six-year-old Brooke was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma cancer in 2010 and has been fighting the disease since. When she lost her hair the first time due to treatments, a family friend made her a flower headband that Brooke wore proudly before giving it to a fellow patient so she too could feel pretty despite her illness. Brooke's generosity inspired her mother, Jessica Hester, to begin Brooke's Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer near Corpus Christi, Texas. The nonprofit, started in October 2012, has distributed more than 11,000 handmade blossom headbands, as well as hats and sweatbands for boys, in 34 countries. "The accessories help to restore kids' confidence and provide joy during a difficult time," says Hester.
Originally published in the February 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
When Katie Cancro's son Robert was diagnosed with nonverbal autism at age 2, the lack of resources for adults with autism concerned her. To ensure that Robert's future is bright in spite of his disability, Cancro started Fill-A-Need Foundation, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
The nonprofit's goal is to construct an eco-friendly campus where 250 adults, 18 and older, with autism and other needs can continue their education and therapy while also learning vocational skills of their choice. Each student will have a daily schedule catered to his specific needs and interests, similar to the right environment and support, this program can help adults with autism achieve their full potential," says Cancro.
Originally published in the May 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
The C.L.A.Y Foundation
After her son Clay nearly drowned in a community pool during a family vacation, Laura Metro, of Washington, D.C., started The C.L.A.Y. Foundation to prevent childhood drowning, in 2012. Named after her son and the nonprofit's core goals (CPR; Learning to float; Automated external defibrillator awareness; and a Year-round swim facility), the foundation sponsors free national "CPR parties." At these events, local certified volunteers from Rescue One, a leading safety- training organization, instruct up to 100 participants on CPR techniques. "Our goal is CPR for the masses; we're trying to make this easy and accessible to everyone," says Metro.
Originally published in the August 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
Nick and Jennifer Hall founded Graham's Foundation in 2009, three years after their twins, Graham and Reece, were born 15 weeks prematurely, weighing a pound and a half each. Reece recovered after a year in and out of the hospital, but her brother, Graham, died after a 45-day battle in the NICU. The nonprofit, in Toledo, Ohio, connects parents of preemies to mentors and distributes care-package donations nationally. "Our commitment is that no parent go through this journey alone," says Nick Hall.
Originally published in the November 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
When Natalie Blakemore, of St. Louis, would take her son, Zachary, who suffers from a genetic central-nervous-system disease, to the playground, it emphasized his limitations and often hindered his play with other children. To provide freedom of fun for all, Blakemore created Unlimited Play, a nonprofit that plans, designs, and builds accessible playgrounds in the U.S. With the help of others, four playgrounds have been completed in the St. Louis area to date, and seven more are currently being built across the Midwest. "My goal was to create a place where people could forget that Zachary is in a wheelchair and learn to celebrate the uniqueness he brings," says Blakemore.
Originally published in the March 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
The Brooke Healey Foundation
Stefani and Steve Healey, of New Providence, New Jersey, lost their 5-year-old daughter, Brooke, in September 2013, 8 months after she was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). To bring meaning to Brooke's brave struggle, her parents began The Brooke Healey Foundation. The organization strives to meet three goals: to build awareness and raise funding for DIPG research, to help families affected by pediatric brain cancer, and to award scholarships to civically active high schoolers within the community. "We need to find a cure, and in the meantime we have to support families dealing with this disease," says Stefani. The nonprofit has raised over $30,000 and hopes to reach $100,000 by the end of the year.
Originally published in the October 2014 issue of Parents magazine.
Parents donated $500 to all of the featured organizations. To nominate your nonprofit or community-service project and to be considered for a donation, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.