Lifestyle(Archives)

Mar
27
2014
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Featuring the Kids Forever Foundation

Growing up in Ireland, John Foy learned at an early age what fundraising was all about. With a father who fundraised for special needs children, giving back is what came naturally. “It was just a natural progression to carry on what my dad had passed down to me,” explains John.

As a fundraiser for the Special Olympics in the 80s, John starting raising funds for those in need through organizations such as The Children’s Wish Fund and the SPCA. By the mid-1990s, he recognized a need for a more organized approach to raising money to help sick kids within the community, and so in 1997, he founded Kids Forever.

Kids Forever started with the goal to help one or two children, and raise between $10-thousand and $15-thousand. Year after year, as more kids were brought to the foundation’s attention, however, it became clear that more funds needed to be raised. So much so, that in the last 17 years, more than $5-million dollars has been raised by Kids Forever, helping over 250 children.

It truly has been a community effort. “We have been amazed at the outpouring of support from our community when raising money through bake sales, bottle drives, garage sales, baby showers, children’s birthday parties, company Christmas parties, school fundraisers, and many other ideas our community has come up with,” shares John. And the community and sponsors have helped Kids Forever achieve their goals as their banquets and golf tournaments got bigger and bigger.

Thanks to a network of sponsors province-wide, over the past six years the foundation has been able to increase the number of kids they help, encompassing most of Northern Alberta. Because of these additional funds, Kids Forever has been able to help the Northern Lights Regional Hospital, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Glenrose Rehabilitation, Ronald McDonald House and Camp HeHoHa – as summer camp for children with special needs.

When asked what it takes for Kids Forever to do what they do, John gives two words: heart and dedication. “The volunteers give up their time and money throughout the entire year to run Kids Forever so that it has zero overhead,” explains John. “Hundreds, if not thousands of hours each year are spent by our volunteers to make Kids Forever a success.”

But 2014 will be a different year for the foundation. This will be the last year of operation for Kids Forever. With the goal of breaking the $1-million mark, fundraising will be even bigger and better, with their largest ever Celebrity Golf Tournament on June 13 and their final banquet on October 18…which is sure to be a night to remember.

Even though it will be the last year of “Kids Forever” as our community knows it, the spirit and determination of the core volunteers won’t be going away. Some will be joining a small group of local business owners who have picked up the gauntlet and are planning to continue helping to meet the needs of the kids in our community into 2015 and beyond.

But even though Kids Forever may not be around beyond this year, the heart of the organization will keep beating. “It’s been said that volunteers do not necessarily have the time…they just have the heart,” says John. “To be a volunteer is one of the greatest gifts of all. Everyone has that gift within them and it’s up to each and every one of us to find that gift and use it. Those gifts have helped make Fort McMurray a better community on top of being the most generous city in all of Canada.”

For more information about Kids Forever, visit www.kidsforever.ca

YOUR McMURRAY TEAM

Your McMurray Team is a collaboration of authors and contributors from in and around Fort McMurray.

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