Volunteering and giving provides Kari with a sense of purpose and it is an act that she wants to instill into the lives of her children. “In a world where I can’t control a lot of things, I volunteer and give to have that sense of control. I am fortunate enough to be able to do and see things and I want to pass these acts of giving onto my children.”
In December 2020, Kari was looking for an opportunity to make the holidays a bit brighter for children less fortunate than her own. She recalled donating to Nexus Family Healing in the past when we hosted gift drives and she decided to reach out.
Kari was connected to Rachelle Holm, Nexus Family Healing Development Officer, and Rachelle provided Kari with a list of needs and gift ideas for children served at our Nexus-FACTS Family Healing office. Kari was ecstatic. She reached out to her moms’ groups, and they rose to the challenge. One mom bought every item on the list. Kari was so overwhelmed and moved with this response, she wanted to keep going.
“I’m not so sentimental about Christmas gifts myself, but I think about little kids who don’t get presents.” Kari says as tears well up in her eyes. “I used to work for a low-income daycare and one year a young boy said he wasn’t going to get any gifts because he was bad. No kid should ever have to feel that way.”
As the 2021 holiday season approached, Kari reached out again. This time, Rachelle provided holiday wish lists for Nexus-Mille Lacs youth. Kari expanded her network to include friends, family, and coworkers. She knew she needed to get a bit more organized to make sure she could track the youth needs with donations received. She found that using Venmo to raise money worked well because it allowed her friends and family to sponsor different items without being obligated to purchase the items themselves. Kari raised thousands of dollars and was able to purchase a room full of gifts. And the best part? She was able to involve her kids throughout the whole process.
“My daughter helped me buy the gifts, and my son helped me deliver it all to Nexus.”
“After we bought the gifts, I shared a photo of everything we were able to provide on Facebook, and it was so well-received. So many of my friends want to help out this year.”
2022 will be her third year and she’s already thinking of ways to utilize social media more to raise more interest.
“I love the work that you do, and I want to be more involved. Nexus Family Healing makes giving back so easy.” - Kari