The Beginning - Aaron's Presents

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The BeginningAaron’s PresentsAnnual Report 20141


Table of Contents1Letter from Executive Director2Mission3How it Works42014 Stats5Project Highlights7Finances8Donors3

A YEAR OF UNEXPECTED JOYSPutting together this Annual Report has given me the chance to reflecton 2014 both personally and professionally. After losing Aaron in June2013, we needed to redefine the future that we as a family had beenexpecting but that would not be unfolding as planned, but at an even morebasic level than that, most days our feelings could be summed up very simplyas, “We just miss him.” His absence left a hole in our hearts that would noteasily be filled.Later that summer, I had the idea to give out mini-grants in Aaron’s memory to young children to dosmall, positive acts for others, and in January 2014, I was ready to pilot the program and had two wonderful, willing partners: YDO (Youth Development Organization) in Lawrence, MA and LCCPS (LowellCommunity Charter Public School) in Lowell, MA. They invited me to share this idea with their studentsand see if any of them would take me up on the offer.To my delight, 27 kids applied in groups or on their own with 12 thoughtful, inspired ideas for projects! Iwas so impressed with each girl and boy who had taken the initiative to come up with an idea and complete the application, having no examples or role models to follow. Working with these kids and helpingthem bring their visions to life brought a kind of true joy and happiness to me and my family that wecould not have anticipated.What I learned in 2014 is the very same lesson that I hope that Aaron’s Presents can impart to ouryoung grant recipients: that giving of oneself for the benefit of others brings happiness, healing andpurpose. And instead of merely telling them this, my goal is to give as many kids as possible a chance toexperience this message firsthand, as I have, in a tangible, fun and memorable way that is meaningful forwhatever age and stage they happen to be at.I believe wholeheartedly that the combination of a willingness to value their own ideas and take initiativewith a desire to contribute to the greater good is extremely powerful, and that encouraging these youngindividuals tobecome current and future leaders can and will make our world better,kinder and more connected.The work we did as a team of board members, volunteers, staff,teachers and school administrators, local organizations and, ofcourse, the awesome kids could not have been possible without yoursupport and generosity, and I cannot adequately express my gratitude.2015 is off to a terrific start, and I am more excited than ever tokeep building from here. I hope you will continue to be part of ourwork and mission in whichever way you choose and tell othersabout the capacity of young children to come up with and followthrough on selfless, thoughtful, positive ideas!Thank you,Leah OkimotoFounder & Executive Director

Inspiring kids to giveof themselves for thegood of the world.We envision a world in which all childrenlearn to seek happiness, healing and purposeby giving of themselves for others withempathy and passion.Aaron Makaio Schneider was born on June 19, 2013 at 25 ½weeks of gestation and lived 8 ½ days in two (NICUs) in Boston, MA. Aaron inspired his parents to honor his life by enablingyoung children to tap into their innate idealism, kindness andcompassion and, by coupling these with their diverse talents andcreativity, to achieve tangible results benefiting their families,neighborhoods and larger communities, and themselves.Aaron’s Presents is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whosemission is “Inspiring kids to give of themselves for the good ofthe world.” To do this, we offer an innovative grants programuniquely designed to give young kids in 8th grade and below anopportunity to dream up and carry out a positive project thatbenefits at least one other human being (or animal!). In the process, they gain valuable life and leadership skills and experiencefirsthand the power they have to make a positive difference inother people’s lives at every age.What Makes Aaron’s Presents Unique:Child-initiated:Voluntary and up to the childto decide to participate.Child-led:The children are the leaders andwe entrust real resources intotheir hands, and allow them totake ownership of their projectand be the decision makers atevery step.Non-competitive:Designed to be accessible to thisyoung age group, regardless ofresources, availability of parentalor other adult support, disabilitiesand other challenges. Our goal is tofund every feasible project.Mentoring and Guidance:We provide whatever support isneeded to maximize successfulcompletion of projects.2

How It WorksCurrent Service Area:Two types of grants:Reach Out (Help or serve at least one other person) and Tap In (Pursue a passion and then use it tohelp or serve at least one other person). Childrencan apply on their own or as part of a group of 10kids or fewer.Amount of grants:Maximum of 500 in materials and/or services areprovided per project; no money is exchanged withthe grant recipients.25-mile radius of Andover, MA, with aparticular focus on the MerrimackValley and the North Shore regions.Timeframe:We aim for projects to be completed within a3-month period if possible.Process of a Project3. Apply2. Let’s Talk!(Optional meeting withAaron’s Presents staffto talk through idea)4. Make it Happen!(Matched with a Project Mentor;supplies and materials purchased;project completed)1. Think andDream5. Share & Celebrate!3(At our annual Celebration,in the media, schools, towns& businesses)

2014 Stats305926Projects begunor completedParticipants(Ages 8-14, 2nd-8th grade)Participants fromurban schooldistricts4613GirlsBoys# of people directlyEstimatedimpacted by projects:6,113Participants came from Lowell,Lawrence, Salem (NH), Methuen,Chelmsford, Beverly, Peabody,Danvers, Andover, and DracutCommunity Partnersserved by the kids andtheir projects:Academy Manor Nursing Home, Andover, MAAmerican Textile History Museum, Lowell, MAAMG International’s “Bundles of Love” programAndover Public Middle Schools, Andover, MABellesini Academy, Lawrence, MABoston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MAFINA House,YMCA, Lawrence, MAGreater Lawrence Community ActionCouncil Child Care Center, Lawrence, MAHiggins Middle School, Peabody, MAHorizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury, MALawrence General Hospital, Lawrence, MALCCPS (Lowell Community Charter Public School), Lowell, MAMary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, MAMassachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MANorth Andover SEPAC, North Andover, MAOperation Gratitude,Van Nuys, CAPeabody Senior Center, Peabody, MAPEER Servants, Woburn, MANorth Shore Medical Center, Salem, MASanborn Elementary School, Andover, MASpaulding Rehab Hospital, Salem, MAWillow Manor Nursing Home, Lowell, MAWingate Nursing Home, Andover, MAYDO (Youth Development Organization),Lawrence, MA4

Project Highlights“Clareese Cares”By: Clareese6th grade, Lowell, MAEstimated # of People Directly Impacted: 31Total Amount of Grant: 157.37Description:Created a loaner program for students whowalk to and from school to have reflectivevests and whistles to help them feel safer.“I want to help keep my friends safe. Lotsof them walk to and from school andIfeel that wearing reflective vests and having safety whistleswould help keep themsafer. I love my friends and want to makeeveryone aware that safety comes first.Some kids might think it is dorky andnotwant to participate. I will start withmeand my friends andlead by example. Iwillfeel proud if I make even one friendfeelsafer.”“Gifts for Grandparents”By: Valerie, Larybeth, Nick and Keith6th grade, Lowell, MAEstimated # of People Directly Impacted: 15Total Amount of Grant: 188.51Description: Visited elderly residents at anursing home in Lowell, MA on three Saturdayafternoons and carried out activities that broughtsmiles to many elderly residents.“I love just being able to help out with just something small. I look forwardto helping the elderly and benefit them by visiting them and bringing them apresent. They would love it! Sometimes the family of the elderly people is notable to visit them, so we would like to help by visiting them. I think I wouldbe feeling very good and amazed at what I had just done with my amazinggroup. My group thought of this because we all like helping out and servingothers. I learned that I have to be very patient with the elderly. When youhelp people you can make them smile and change the world.”5

“Costume Collection”By: Holly3rd grade, Andover, MAEstimated # of People Directly Impacted: 42Total Amount of Grant: 375.99Funded by:The Dr. Alan Metwally Presents FundPartial sponsorship by Spirit HalloweenDescription:Assembled individualized Halloween costumepackages for 21 children living in transitionalhousing.“Thank you so much for making myproject possible! This, for me, was an opportunity of a lifetime. I will never forgetthe joy you have given me by being ableto help others through my talent.Yourmoney is greatly helping kids such as megain confidence in themselves and learntheir true potential.”esshomel aadnsoto fid like s] children trick orluow“I[hae tobe abl ecause Ir thatshelte s child willbhappy effort intoeshomel would feel]ts[Imy be kid.ld. In thihelped every step d deed coundooeach a that one gdeI learn he world.”tchanger Bows”“Cute and Girly HaiBy: Annette7th grade, Andover, MAirectly Impacted: 20Estimated # of People D 228.72Total Amount of Grant:Metwally Presents FundanAlr.DeTh:byedFundDescription:ednal hair bows and packagigiore,admndhadteeaCr(araiser for PEER Servantsndfuaatldsobetoemthingion that helps people livmicrofinancing organizatrld start their own busiin poverty around the wofair to benefit Bundles ofnesses) and a school craftcareInternational that sendsLove (program by AMGn inother supplies to childrepackages of school ander 100 hair bows andoveadmtteneAn).alamGuateER Servants and BundlesPErfo00 3.oxprapdraiseof Love.6

2014 Fundraising & Finance StatsTotal DonationsTotal Expenses 38,128 14,421Year-End Net Assets 23,707Detailed financial statements available upon request.*Donation Sources75 % Individual11% Business and Local Organization12% Presents Funds2% Donor Advised FundsLooking ForwardAt this early stage as an organization, we are noteligible for many grants and rely exclusively onindividual and corporate donations. In 2015, weanticipate a significant increase in the number ofinterested children and are preparing to supportan estimated 50 new projects. We have hireda part-time Regional Director who focuses onproject mentoring, marketing and fundraising inthe North Shore region, and we are developing aVolunteer Program to pilot in September 2015.Reaching this fundraising goal will make it possible for us to continue supporting the growth weexpect to see going into 2016.7 50,0002015 FundraisingGoal 38,0002015 ProjectedExpenses

DonorsIndividuals:Anonymous (multiple)Yasmine and Jorge AllenDr. Nancy AndrewsThe Bartlett FamilyEmily and Andrew BedellBarbara BensonTom and Megan BensonSteve BertolinoMarjorie Sherman-Bindman and CarlBindmanJeff BoiceWayne and Mary Lynne BoardmanMaureen BolandBea CarusoMeghan and Ken ChanPatrick ChangDr. Christine ChungDr. Connie ChungDr. Daniel CohanSheila and Jeff CorbittMarjorie CriderMonique Cueto-Potts and Tim PottsStephanie Curci and Shawn DavisMelanie and Mark CutlerKathleen and James CyrierNancy DaviesJulie DerderianKhiem DoBa and Linh NguyenBrad DolianJoseph DragoPatrick and Karen FarrellShawn FulfordTami FurutaDr. Lisa GlicksteinDr. Frank and Cathy GreerSean Grennan and Kathy SantenCarol GroskyMarijane GrykHelene GwizdakJanna Hansen and Dr. Susan ChengShari Hersh and Samuel RobinsonJennifer and Scott HoenigPaul Hurteau and Lilia Cai-HurteauEnoch and Grace HuangKevin Irwin and Karen GoClara Isaza-Bishop and Hugh BishopKristen and Chris JohnsonRobin JohnsonThank You!Dr. Tom and Jennifer KaneJooé Kim and Victor SheenStephanie Leone KimMary KobrenskiDrs. Adrienne and Justin KungJuliette LeeKevin LeeEverett and Molly LeonardMarianne LeonardJack LevinNaomi LevinElizabeth LimDeborah LucciFabio MalagisiVivien and David MallickKate and Jim McQuadeMargaret MetwallyDr. Mark MetwallyNatalia MetwallyVimala MohammedCristel MohrmanRose Mary MorrisseyDrs. Paul Nguyen and Sophia KooNatalie and Jonathan NicholsonCaroline and Dr. Christopher OddenMary O’DonoghueMonica O’Reilly-Jacob and Joel JacobEllen O’SullivanThe Palsetia FamilyDr. Amy Patel and Jason YorkBarb PetriconeDr. Anna RajiMimo Gordon and David RileyThe Rising FamilyBella RobinsonCC and Lewis RobinsonSarah and Keith RobinsonGlenn and Jennifer RogersThe Rothberg and Schneider FamiliesAggie and Guido SegoviaDouglas ShawEvelyn Shen and Jason TongAnnie (Chung) and Brian ShiraishiHeather and Ken ShowsBarb SilversidesLani and Steve SilversidesMatthew SmithJessica (Chia-Yun) SunJoanna and Steve SuomiAmeet TalwalkarDr. Jocelyn Thein and Albert ChangDave ThompsonErik ThompsonJesi ThompsonJoan ThompsonDavid TsaiFelicia van den BroekeDr. Christine Marshall-Walker andSteven WalkerNora WaystackJessica WilsonKimberly and Timothy YantzJanos ZahajszkyBusinesses &Organizations:AlteraAugmenixAndover Family Dental (Dr. AparaSharma)Barefoot Booksin vivo ProductionsKiwanis Club of Greater LawrenceOrange LeafRotary Club of DracutSalvatore’sSheila’s ArtWalker Clark Coaching, LCCIn-Kind:Cookies by JulieDLA PiperEforAllLawyers ClearinghouseMill No. 5NetImpact BostonNextJump Inc.Red Ember MarketingSpirit HalloweenPresents FundsThe Dr. Alan Metwally Presents FundThe Sequin of Kindness PresentsFund8

How You Can Get Involved!Create aPresents FundSponsor a ProjectFund thoughtful projects inmemory or honor ofsomeone, or with your familyor other group, whilebuilding a uniqueliving legacy.Visit our website and choosea project to support, or askyour company to sponsora local project.Shop!Click on the “Shop to SupportUs” button on our website andthen shop at 150 storesincluding Amazon, Target, Kohl’s,Snapfish, Aaron’sPresents will receive a donationof 2.5-20% of your purchasewithout any extraeffort!Volunteer!Help SHOP for projectmaterials, help CONNECT uswith organizations to receive actsof service, and/or MENTOR ouryoung leaders throughprojects.Connect Us!Tell everyone, adults andkids, about us! Introduce usto schools, youth programs,local nonprofits and businessesthat might like to partnerwith us in some way.StaffLeah Okimoto, Executive DirectorNorth Shore Regional Director:Kimberly LaBonte-KayBoardChair: Jooé KimVice Chair: Marianne Cashman;Secretary: Paul L. Nguyen, MDTreasurer: Victor L.H. SheenDirectors: Heidi Burgess, Connie Chung, PhD,Aldonsa PereyraNet Impact Board Fellows:Elizabeth Dill, Rishub Solan12We can’t wait tohear from you!Aaron’s Presents180 Main StreetAndover, MA 01810(978) ronspresents

FINA House, YMCA, Lawrence, MA Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Child Care Center, Lawrence, MA Higgins Middle School, Peabody, MA Horizons for Homeless Children, Roxbury, MA Lawrence General Hospital, Lawrence, MA LCCPS (Lowell Comm

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