Ever since that day in the spring of 2008 when MaryMargaret asked her dad to build her a website, Kids Are Heroes has blossomed from the passion of a child and her dad’s belief in her mission. Despite its small budget this all volunteer non-profit has taken on a life of its own in pockets around the world. My personal dream for the longest time has been to make this mission my life’s work. Unfortunately, not only is that dream in dire jeopardy right now, so is the organization itself.
I received an email yesterday with news that far too many people in this country are receiving, albeit I would bet that most of them would not receive this news in an email from a secretary of the company. It started off with these words: “Unfortunately, there aren’t enough funds for payroll this month.”
I have been working for a company in Virginia since 1996. I am a software developer. During the first two years I took a sophisticated database diagnostic product that was running on another platform and migrated it to the Windows environment. Without getting into details as to why, once it was built there was only code maintenance which left me with free time on my hands. Originally it was supposed to be a one-year gig as the company was up for sale and they had an interested buyer. I had worked as a freelance consultant before that time. The sale of the company fell through so I stayed. I was given stock options which meant that whenever the company was sold I would stand to make quite a bit. I use that as an excuse as to why I have stuck with the company over the years.
But recently the more likely reason I stayed is because it offered me a paycheck and a means to help MaryMargaret build up her organization.
It started in 2006 when my dog Charlie founded Wags for Hope, a local non-profit that recruits members to take their pets to nursing homes, hospitals and schools. Once I discovered the benefits of volunteering I started to neglect my career. If my primary goal was to continue up the corporate ladder I would have seen the writing on the wall back then and moved on to better things. But in the first two years I supported my dog’s wishes and spent a lot of time building up that organization. When Kids Are Heroes came along I left WFH in great hands to focus on this new venture. And what joy it has brought me. I hear the testimonials from families (the most recent a video testimonial from John Haydon) and am very humbled. We have met some amazing people along the way. We were honored to meet Sir Richard Branson in 2011 and most recently MaryMargaret appeared on the Ricki Lake Show. But more than the celebrities I am honored to have met many of the children we feature on our site. It is their passion for their causes and the hope that they bring us all that has given me the fuel and the drive to negotiate past all the roadblocks we have encountered along the way.
So here I stand at the crossroads. How do I get past this? Working from home has prevented me from accumulating contacts from similar companies over the years. Most people know me as the “Kids Are Heroes” guy and not the guy who is extremely capable in social media, marketing and programming.
For years I’ve been hearing the saying “Find your passion and turn it into your work.” Now I’m using social media to see if this can come true for me. My first choice is to find an investor who believes in what we do and will support my work with KAH. Second to that I hope to get any kind of work that allows me to still continue my mission. Commuting to a 9-5 job is only in the cards if it is my last resort, as it will mean the certain demise of Kids Are Heroes.
So I am asking you for help. If you believe in what we are doing and are in the position to help us in a big way please contact me. If you can offer consulting work then please contact me. If you know of anyone who might be in the position to help please have them contact me. I am not looking for any charity here. I have a lot of skills as is evidenced by how far we have taken Kids Are Heroes in four-and-a-half short years. My Linked-In profile is here. My contact information is below.
If you are wondering if this will affect Kids Are Heroes Day which is coming up in a few short weeks the answer is absolutely not. This situation will have no impact on that event. What happens from here on out will definitely effect whether or not there will be 6th annual event next year.
When my wife heard the news she called her dad to let him know. He is a former police officer now security consultant in York, Pennsylvania. He told Michelle that he, along with a group of others, is being dispatched to a plant today to provide security as the entire work force is being told that the plant is being shut down immediately. I think I felt worse about this news than I did my own. I know I am not the only one in this boat right now yet I must still try and figure out any way I can to get out of it.