I have been using Twitter avidly for the past five years or so and been involved in many chats, but this is the first time I have hosted one. But I am so excited to do it.
If you have been following our tweets lately then you’d know we created an auction site to raise money for our biggest event of the year: Kids Are Heroes Day. Several very talented artists have put their art out there to help us with our cause. There have been bids placed, but the first auction is set to end on Wednesday, June 5 at 6PMEST.
To help bolster the bidding and also to give the artists involved the ability to share their stories, we will be hosting our first Twitter chat on Wednesday, June 5 at 4PMEST. For the first half hour, our guest will be Aviva Brueckner, the artist who has donated not one but TWO Pieces to our first auction. And at 4:30 we will be chatting with Diana Vachier, who owns the licensing for SteveKaufmanArt. Steve was once Andy Warhol’s assistant and, like Andy, has an amazing pop art portfolio.
So please support these wonderful artists and join the chat to find out the meaning behind the artwork.
The hash tag will be #kahchat. If you have never been involved in a Twitter chat, go to tweetchat.com and sign in with your Twitter account. Enter the hash tag at the top of the page and you will not have to worry about entering it again. You can tweet directly from there and it will add the hash tag for you. It will also show you all the other tweets tagged with #kahchat. It’s that simple. NOTE: It has been reported that TweetChat will be no longer on June 11. An alternate resource is SmartStream by oneqube.com. If you would like to try this platform, it works very well. Here’s how to set it up.
Using Google Alerts and a few other tools we are kept aware of any mentions of our website as they are posted online. I came across this gem this morning from a 4th grade teacher in Connecticut:
“We then checked out a great website, together as a class, called Kids Are Heroes. This website is cool because anyone can nominate a kid, write a description why the person is a hero, post a picture, and the child can be included on the website. We made it our end of school year goal to find a kid-hero to add to the website. You should see my students now…picking up trash at recess, starting clothing drives, and trying to change the world during reading/writing class. They all want to be heroes to be featured on this site. ”
We’ve always felt that we belong in schools as a natural extension of what we do. Kudos to this teacher who picked up the ball and ran with it.
Ok I know. It can get obnoxious when people “Twitterize” a word. But I offer no apologies for this one. In the never ending quest to be funded, if you have seen any of our donor walls, we like to make it worthwhile for people to donate to us, besides simply knowing that the money is going to a good cause. We also like to keep things fresh. So, thanks to some recent connections we have made, we will soon be offering “Twauctions” on Twitter.
What is a Twauction? A twauction is a twitter silent auction. During a certain time each week, as long as we have items to auction, we will be auctioning off art pieces donated by artists from all over the world. However, even though we have already received many awesome art donations, we will gladly accept other items as well.
How Does It Work? The bidding will be open for a full week prior to the finish, but during the last hour we will host a Twitter chat with the artist him/herself. This date/time will be announced well in advance. At the end of the hour the bidding will be closed as long as the minimum has been met. People bid by going to a designated spot on our website, which of course will be given out all week via Twitter. As we approach 75,000 followers on Twitter, this chat will provide great exposure for the artist, and also put a story behind the piece for the buyer.
What Type of Art? We are looking for donations of art pieces that include multimedia as well as any type of painting or sculpture. The only restrictions we will place on the art is that we prefer to have no dark pieces. We would like the art to blend in nicely with what Kids Are Heroes® represents. The art should represent any or a combination of the following concepts: hopeful, whimsical, animals, international, kids, environment, leadership, compassion, people. Medium and color is totally up to the artist. Shipping charges will be the responsibility of the buyer. If you are an artist that would like to donate something, please contactme here.
When Does it Start? As soon as we get our first qualifying piece we will write a press release and announce our first auction. We already have an artist who is about to complete her piece for us. We have another who has started work on hers. Follow @KidsAreHeroes for the latest on this subject.
UPDATE 05/25/2013: Official launch of auction is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28. Watch @KidsAreHeroes timeline for more information. And it’s not all art. So far we have an autographed Taylor Swift CD in the mix!!
UPDATE 05/28/2013: Well the official launch is behind us and we are already seeing bids. Please visit auctions.kidsareheroes.org to participate. There will be a Twitter chat from 4-5PM on Wednesday June 5 (hashtag #kahchat), one hour before the close of the first auction. Guests will be Aviva Brueckner from Germany and Diana Vachier who represents the art of Steve Kaufman, late artist who was once assistant to Andy Warhol. They will provide a back story about the art they have provided.
What Will the Money Be Used For? Each year we host an event for the kids of our site called “Kids Are Heroes Day“. Despite generous donations each year we have lost money hosting this event. This will be our most ambitious year so these auctions are designed to offset these costs. If the auctions are really successful we will offer “scholarships” to bring some of the heroes to the event who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
Every year since Kids Are Heroes® was founded, we anticipate the arrival of Kids Are Heroes Day. This event is hosted by our local mall and celebrates our heroes’ accomplishments. We invite all of our heroes from 15 countries to attend. They perform, give speeches, and chat with the mall patrons about their charities. They are also given the opportunity to network with each other. Sadly we are not in the position to subsidize those who cannot afford to come.
Each year, my biggest regret, (if you can call it that) is that more people are not able to witness what I am humbly privileged to be part of. So let this post serve as an open invitation for YOU to attend, no matter where you live.
So why should you come to Kids Are Heroes Day 2013? Here are the top ten reasons why heroes and their families spend the money to travel to our event and why you should too:
A Day of Empowerment
This day not only empowers the heroes in attendance but it also empowers the children who visit them. As your kids traverse from table to table they get a sense that the children they are visiting are really no different than they are, and that they too can make a difference. They get ideas from some of the children then shape them into something that they become passionate about. They learn that one year they can be on the other side of the table talking to kids about their charity.
As time allows we offer speaking opportunities for the heroes who choose to take part. Whether they have done it countless times or this is the first, it is great practice and helps them on their way to becoming a true leader.
We go to great efforts to make sure the kids whose families spend the money to be here have a memorable visit. This happens naturally through the fact that they are able to meet or reunite with each other. However the private pool party and reception that evening ensures that they are provided the best opportunity to bond and have a great time.
Atmosphere Like No Other
Having attended all five previous events, I can only say that there is a definite atmosphere, one like I have never experienced outside of this event. It is very hard to describe, but at risk of sounding schmaltzy I can only say that the feeling is awash with warmth. This is directly due to the positive energy that is so abundant. The only way to understand it is to experience it.
Exposure to Other Ideas
The children come from all over the US and Canada, and sometimes other parts of the world. They get to know each other and sometimes are influenced by each other’s passions. One year two sisters learned about the cause that Ethan from Richmond was so excited about. “Music to My Ears” is Ethan’s program that gives music lessons to children who cannot afford it. Raylee and Allie from Maryland liked this idea so much that they established a local chapter in their community.
We fully expect these kids to be leaders in ten years or so. What better way to build a network than to do it early? By attending this event these heroes will be able to bond with other heroes from around the world. They keep up with each other through social media and will be able to rely on each other in the future for support.
A Sense of Belonging
When six-year-old Jackson from England was featured on our website for organizing a bike ride to help the people of Haiti, his mom told me that he felt part of “something much bigger than him”. Many children feel isolated in their thoughts when they want to help others and knowing that they are a part of a community of kids all around the world who are doing their part to make the world a better place to live in gives them a true sense of belonging.
A Day of Rejuvenation
Some of our heroes are actually bullied by their peers at home because of what they do. Kids who are lost at the time don’t know how to react so they feel that bullying others is their only ticket to empowerment. When the heroes visit others who also give back, they realize that they are not freaks for wanting to help others. Their feeling of “burn-out” washes away and they become rejuvenated. They return home with a new sense of purpose.
A Day of Inspiration
Every year my two sisters make an effort to come to Kids Are Heroes Day from Ontario, Canada and Florida respectively. Being the youngest in the family all I will say is that they are both older than I am. They come for the inspiration. It is not only the children who are affected by this day but the adults are as well. Many of these children have accomplished more than many adults have in their lifetimes, so being around them opens their eyes to new thoughts of volunteerism.
A Day of Hope
In this modern day of terrorism, reality television, and so much exposure to negative thoughts and events it is SO refreshing to attend something that is pure, innocent and hopeful. These children convince us that they are indeed the solution and the key to a better world. We invite you ALL out to the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick, Maryland on Saturday September 14th from 10:00AM to 4:00PM to be part of something special!
Every once in a while I’ll get a letter from one of our heroes that touches my heart. Yesterday I received such a letter. One of our more recent features is Abdul Muqeet from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He wrote me telling me of his wishes to come to Kids Are Heroes Day this year. Although he has never attended one, he knows the value of getting together with like minded children from around the world. This is a bittersweet feeling for me. I love to see the desire to be here yet I am disappointed we cannot do anything to bring him ourselves. We are still not big enough to be able to finance trips for our heroes.
Abdul gave me permission to reprint his letter. Just thought I would share.
Hi Mr. Gabe,
What you and your daughter is doing is a wonderful work for the kids. I wish all the best to you all. I just love to come [to Kids Are Heroes Day 2013] and give my speech and demo of my paper bags. But my parents are not in position to finance me . Let me discuss with some one, if some how I will be able to make it, after Sunday I will let u know. Pray for me that I can come and see all wonderful kids from many countries.
I met Karen at Celebrated Events here in Frederick a few months ago. She kindly has offered to help me plan Kids Are Heroes Day 2013 this year. This is great because it will be the first time we’ve added a new perspective with fresh ideas for the event.
Today we had an awesome meeting that included Karen’s daughter Jennifer who is an accomplished artist. One of the issues we have had in the past is that despite the backing of generous sponsors, our organization has always lost money putting on our biggest event of the year. In addition, we have never been able to subsidize even one family to be able to attend our event. This year we hope to change that. To that end we are going to host weekly auctions for donated items to help us defray the costs. So we are looking for donated items worth at least $100.00. We will be creating a web page that will present the item of course giving credit to the company or person who donated it. And Jennifer is going to help us out even further by offering one of her original drawings for our auction. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.
So if you have something of value that you would like to donate that you think our social media colleagues would be interested in, pleasecontact me directly.
Each week we will send our 71K+ Twitter followers and 5K+ Facebook fans to check the item(s) out and possibly bid on them. On Friday we will announce the winner. Hopefully this will a fun and successful campaign for everyone.
As a non-profit when we need something often times we will send out a tweet to see if anyone wants to help. We did just that last week when we asked if anyone wanted to translate a rather simple file from English to other languages.
As we have been recently conversing with several factions overseas we felt it time that we tried to open our website to people who speak languages other than English. We cannot afford to translate everything into even one or two languages right now, but what we can do is offer the nominees the ability to submit their nominations into their native languages as long as they provide the English translation. After this program gets developed the latter requirement may indeed be dropped. As we add heroes we will gradually increase the number of international role models who can influence kids from their own countries by utilizing their own languages.
We were absolutely overwhelmed with the results when we asked for translators! To date we have 19 people who are in different stages of helping us translate our whiteboard animation video into no less than 22 languages!! So far we have Afrikaans, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Latvian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. Many of them are completed waiting on us to complete the videos. (We create an entirely new video for each language.) Here is the list of videos we have completed so far. We feel that they are a bridge to get more people from other countries to become aware of our site and our mission.
(Animation video in Afrikaans)
So I would like to give a strong shout-out to all 19 people (we created a Twitter list with all 19) who helped make this happen. You all are helping us fulfill our dream of reaching kids in distant lands who can benefit from what we do. We hope that one day people who don’t understand English will be able to use their native tongues to communicate with us and to have their children presented on our website.
From very close to the beginning of the inception of Kids Are Heroes® we have thought about translating the website into different languages. Each time we consider it we are stopped dead in our tracks due to the sheer daunting nature of the task, not to mention the expense. After all, we now have 350+ stories to translate and many languages to consider.
After connecting with folks in India and Abu Dhabi recently, I was reminded how what we do is very much in demand by other cultures. So I now have a newfound mission to make the website more appealing to people who don’t speak English.
We began with one of our videos. What if we added captions? I started with our PSA and added English subtitles. That way we open ourselves more to the hearing-impaired community. After sending a message out on Twitter I quickly received two volunteers to translate these captions into Spanish and French. (Thanks to Silvia from Venezuela and Michelle from Maryland!) It’s a start at least.
Since we have begun to create animation videos like the one below, it would also be fun to have them translated. I plan to create a separate video for each language. My friend Silvia is working on the Spanish translation as I write this.
Having recently featured a hero from our twelfth country I have a feeling we are going to start to get a lot more kids from locations all over the world. That is why we added the national flags on profiles of our kids recently. But what if we allowed the people who nominate their children do it in their native language? This way as we continue to grow the website will not only take on a broader meaning, but will also be able to include more cultures. My only requirement is that the text used to describe the hero’s achievement must be translated into English so we can provide alternate text for everyone to read. (Be one of the first to nominate your hero in an alternate language here!) I’m not sure exactly how this is going to play out yet, but I am VERY excited about it!!
If you are fluent in other languages and would like to volunteer to do some translation, please contact me here.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with YouTube. I love it because it’s a great place to showcase videos. I hate it because videos take so long to edit and it’s always beckoning us to create new ones. I love it because we can have our own channel for free. I hate it because they keep changing the format and it has always been cumbersome to navigate if you are an administrator.
So last weekend I saw that again, the format had changed. It was up to me to upgrade to the “new” interface. Blastyou Youtube!! You’ve done it again. You have shamed me into working on the “upgrade”.
This upgrade seemed a bit more involved than previous ones. Now we have to format a banner that will work on mobile devices, tablets, desktops and televisions. However, after having seen the cool things others were doing I was excited and eager to get started.
So I worked on it a good part of the weekend, not only on banner creation but also added new “sections”. The biggest change I saw was the addition of a “Channel Trailer” that is used to get people to subscribe. If a user visits your channel and is not subscribed, they will see your channel trailer video run automatically whereas subscribed visitors will not. Ack!! Now I have to create a video that will act as my channel trailer!! [. . . shakes fists at YouTube again.]
Having completed the channel trailer I must admit that my subscriptions have gone up dramatically already. So now I’m a big fan of having a channel trailer. If you haven’t upgraded, I would suggest you do so just for that reason alone if you own a YouTube channel.
The other thing I like about the new interface is that it forces you to organize your videos better. I created new playlists that fit various themes and added them as sections. I think that over all, despite my bickering, I’m glad I did it.
So what do you think? Have you upgraded your channel yet? Do you plan to? To see what we’ve done please visit youtube.com/KidsAreHeroes. Oh and if you don’t mind, we’d love it if you subscribed!
Just like any other charity in this economy we struggle with getting donations. Maybe it’s the word “donation” that’s part of the problem. When you donate something, it typically gets used up rather quickly, and then you are asked to donate again. I am going to start thinking more in terms of “investment”. After all, in my mind that is what it really is, an investment in our children’s future.
Now that may come off as sounding a bit arrogant, but if I didn’t believe that Kids Are Heroes® could ultimately have a significant impact on the children both in America and across the globe I wouldn’t have put so much effort and time into it since its inception almost five years ago. The organization has accomplished many things in five years, but what we have done has only scratched the surface of what we plan to do once we get funding. Translating the site into multiple languages, developing resources for schools, creating local KAH clubs and hosting more events for heroes in different cities are just some of the plans we have as we grow.
Show Me The Impact
If you are not familiar with Kids Are Heroes, among other things, we showcase children who give back to their community. We have discovered by doing this that it creates an environment where volunteering is “normal” for kids. I liken this to a sky-diving experience I had when I was young. I’m no daredevil but I figured at the time it was a good way to impress a girl I had a crush on. Now jumping out of a plane is a daunting and scary task. However we trained for hours at the facility. As we trained we witnessed plane after plane go up and dump out a bunch of people, all who landed safely. It became “normal” which made it much easier.
Having 300+ children from 10 countries who all do amazing things for others creates a sense of normalcy for the children who visit our site. They are empowered to do something on their own and end up becoming part of the larger Kids Are Heroes community as they themselves are featured.
Why Kids Should Volunteer
Ok so we get kids to volunteer. So what? Well despite the fact that they are helping others, becoming more aware and compassionate, they are all developing critical skills that will benefit them throughout their entire lives. I have seen time after time how the opportunities that are given them help their confidence and self esteem. Once branded a “hero” many of them want to keep that moniker by continuing to do good for others. They are ALL developing leadership skills that will help shape them into better adults. Period. Volunteering with your children is also an excellent opportunity to spend meaningful time together.
Kids Are Heroes Day
We recently celebrated our fifth annual Kids Are Heroes Day here in Frederick, Maryland. Each year we invite all the children from our site to be together and to celebrate what they do. Since they will indeed be leaders in a few years we help them develop their networks early. Some are outcasts and bullied because they are doing something “different”. When these kids meet up with each other they are so gratified that there are indeed other kids like them and their batteries are recharged when they return. Past attendees have come from all over the US, Canada, and even South Africa and Kenya. Here is what one mom had to say about our most recent event:
“. . .we would drive hundreds and hundreds of miles (and through storms and states of emergencies) to be a part of your event again. It was INCREDIBLE and we are so impressed at how wonderful the event had turned out. My girls, Julia and Emma Mogus, have bonded with some incredible heroes in your country and ours, including your beautiful and heart warming daughter, MaryMargaret! The entire day and evening was very well organized and we feel privileged to have been a part of this incredible and historical event. We walked away better citizens and with a greater awareness of some of the issues facing our children and communities, both locally and internationally.”
I have said many times that Kids Are Heroes started as a father-daughter project. Thanks to our kids it has developed into something well beyond just the two of us. And with the help of others it has the ability to become a beacon for kids all over the world to help them build a better life for themselves and others. Now to me, that sounds like something I want to invest in.
To invest in Kids Are Heroes (and get some great exposure for yourself or your business) please visit our Video Donor Wall. Or if you’d rather, simply click the PayPal Invest button below! Thank you so much!!