Crafters for Kids
Hello all!! I wanted to introduce you to an amazing group called Crafters for Kids. They take donations on their crafters website and bring them to kids in many hospitals within the US and just expanded to international hospitals. This group has created a way for crafters to give directly to hospitals and kids in a way that impacts both giver and recipient. Through an interview with Joyce, the founder of Crafters for Kids, she discusses more with you about what the organization is, how it gives back to the community, how it provides crafters with a way to give back, and the impact they are having in hospitals around the world.
How long has Crafters for Kids been around?
Crafters for Kids will be turning two this fall. We made our debut on Instagram and Twitter on September 18, 2017.
How did you start Crafters for Kids?
Crafters for Kids is what I like to refer to as my “passion project” that I started out of my apartment in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 2017. I had just moved from California to Boston in July and was looking for a transition from my previous job as an attorney.
Tell us a little about yourself.
For as long as I remember, I have always been a dabbler in the arts, who never quite “drew inside the lines.” My mother told me that although my school had provided me with grid lined paper, when I first learned how to write, my letters would be various shapes and sizes flowing inside and outside of the lines. Curious, my mother asked me what I thought the grid lines were for, to which I honestly replied “for decoration.”
Shortly before I graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Psychology and Law, I took a Makeup for the Motion Pictures course for fun, and afterwards, I was thoroughly torn between trying my hand at pursuing something artistic such as fashion design or makeup artistry and law school.
Ultimately, I chose to attend law school at the University of California, Los Angeles figuring that I would never want to go back to school after pursuing a career in art, and that art could always wait. Even so, throughout graduate school, on most nights I dabbled creatively in both cooking and making kawaii decoden inspired trinkets.
What gave you the idea/inspiration?
Crafters for Kids came about as means of achieving two goals: (1) to find a worthy cause to give back to while bringing joy to others, and (2) to find something that would keep me constantly inspired without having to worry about “over-crafting” and having created too much inventory due to my own overexcitement.
When I first started crafting again, my mother posed an interesting question to me. She asked what I would do if I created an excess of products and could not find a market for selling my crafts. I replied that I could not foresee that happening as I could always give my creations away, and later that night I hatched a plan.
I have always enjoyed creating kawaii style items with a childlike sense of innocence and happiness and could not think of a better place to donate my handmade gifts to than my local children’s hospital. And, quite uncharacteristically, I allowed myself to dream big and envisioned how amazing it would be for the children to receive gifts from all around the world.
Since that date, Crafters for Kids has received donations from the following 20 U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington, as well as from the following 8 additional countries: Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Qatar, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
What is Crafters for Kids all about?
Crafters for Kids is about making a difference one smile at time by sparking hope and joy in others through handmade gifts. While it is true that receiving any gift is always wonderful, I have always found that receiving something handmade gives me an extra special feeling, and I hope to bring this type of joy to children who are not feeling their best.
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How can someone help Crafters for Kids?
For the most part, the greatest help we can receive is the receipt of handmade donations. However, monetary donations towards the purchase of packaging supplies and gift cards are certainly welcome as well. And, last by not least, word of mouth and support of our organization is always greatly appreciated. We are always seeking to improve and welcome questions and comments.
What are you looking for in terms of donations?
In terms of donations, we look for new, handmade gifts, generally made out of polymer clay and resin which are appropriate and safe for children. In the past, we have received a variety of items, including charms, figurines, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc.
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Knowing that you must maintain privacy can you talk a little bit about how those you give the crafts to? Who you support and what these crafts do for them?
In general, the recipients of our gifts are children at individual hospitals. Volunteers at each hospital who work with closely with the children specially select and deliver gifts for each child.
Additionally, on occasion, special gift package donations are also made on a case by case basis to a specific child who may be particularly ill or constantly in and out of the hospital. For such donations, I personally contact each crafter who I have a donated item for on hand and ask their permission to make a special package consisting of more than one gift for that child.
The feedback we have received has been extremely touching, from crying family members, to children being excited to return to school to show off their gifts, to a little boy requesting that we personally visit him when he goes in for his surgery. We have also been informed by multiple hospitals that our donations are especially appreciated by their older children and teenagers, who are often overlooked in terms of donations. Many hospitals have also expressed their appreciation for receiving such unique high quality handmade gifts for their children.
What time of year are donations generally made?
In general, donations are made to one or more hospitals geared around six major American holidays during which the children would otherwise be engaged in something fun at school or with their families. The six holidays are Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Additionally, my husband and I try to plan for detours to personally deliver donations to children’s hospitals during our travels.
Are there any specific locations or regions to which you donate?
Generally, donations are made to the local hospitals of our “ambassadors,” individuals who work closely together with me to deliver donations in person to their designated hospitals. Currently donations are regularly made in California, Massachusetts, and Texas.
Crafters for Kids’ first round of donations was made to Boston Children’s Hospital in October of 2017 and consisted of 121 handmade gifts. In February of 2018, both Children’s Hospital of Orange County, which is located in California, and Texas Children’s Hospital were added as hospitals to which donations are regularly made.
In March of 2018, donations were made to Children’s Medical Center Dallas, and in February of 2019, donations were made to the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian.
Beginning in 2019, Crafters for Kids also expanded its donations to international hospitals as well. On January 2, 2019, in collaboration with Charlotte who runs @creativeclogs, approximately 60 items were donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital in the United Kingdom. And, on January 22, 2019, Crafters for Kids made its first donation to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada.
What does the full package look like that is donated? I.e. do you add something to the craft packages that are donated?
A full package of 100 handmade donations generally fits into a paper bag smaller than the size of your average grocery store paper bag. Each handmade gift is double-wrapped in clear plastic packaging and a handwritten card is included with each gift stating the name and Instagram handle of the artists as well as where the gift was made. On occasion, we also provide gifts sponsored by donors other than the artist themselves. For example, for every $5 donated towards Crafters for Kids’ supplies and packaging materials, etc., I personally create and donate a handmade gift, gifted in the sponsor’s name.
Is there anything you would like to talk about that we did not ask about?
Thank you so much for taking the time to coordinate this interview and blog article! We are always seeking to expand and attract more artists, donors, and sponsors and really appreciate you featuring our organization.
Michele here! Thank you for joining us for this Maker Feature about Crafters for Kids! If there are other questions you have for Crafters for Kids you want to ask them, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d also love to hear from you about what types of resources you want more information on as well as Makers you would like to nominate for a Maker Feature! Please email (email@example.com) or leave a comment on this article! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day!