21 Oct Nonprofit Spotlight: Making Kids Count
By Tara Laskowski
Shelly Marlowe feels blessed every day to be in a position of making kids’ lives just a little more special and a little brighter. As the co-president of Making Kids Count, a nonprofit based in Boardman, Ohio, Marlowe and the team at Making Kids Count focus on individual needs of children with after-school programs, foster care programs, new mom programs and others.
Since its formation in July 2010, Making Kids Count has expanded its programming to four different counties in Ohio. They have developed a diaper bank, after-school tutoring, arts programs, birthday parties for children in women’s shelters, and kits for new mothers and children entering foster programs.
Approximately 1,000 kids are touched each year by the nonprofit, and their reach is expanding.
Marlowe was first introduced to Good360 about two years ago, and says that the product donations they were able to obtain through Good360’s online catalog have been instrumental to their programming. “Items available from Good360 have made a huge impact on the reach that we have in our community,” she says. “It has given us the opportunity to help more people than we may have otherwise.”
The nonprofit, which was founded by Marlowe’s mother Jenny Kennedy, is a family affair, and they like to replicate that close-knit relationship by making sure they have many opportunities for one-on-one interactions with children. “We want to make a child’s life a little better by being there ourselves and being hands-on,” Marlowe says.
One of the nonprofit’s long-standing programs is hosting a birthday parties for children living with their mother’s in a local women’s shelter. Making Kids Count uses products donated through Good360 to make these parties happen. Marlowe remembers one recent party where they gave a three-year-old girl a Barbie doll donated through Good360. “Her mother approached us after the party and said, ‘This is the only birthday party my daughter will have. Thank you so much for making her so happy.’ It’s the little moments like that that give us goose bumps and make us realize every day just how lucky we are to do what we do day in and day out.”
Making Kids Count has also used goods from the Good360 catalog to fill back-to-school kits with crayons, glue sticks and markers; newborn bundle kits with diapers, toiletries and baby books; Mother’s Day gifts of personal care items, stationary, jewelry and clothing; and comfort kits for foster kids with toothbrushes, journals and blankets.
“So many children don’t have personal items to call their own, and having these amazing bags really do give these children hope and happiness,” adds Marlowe. “Having just a few things to call your own can really make a difference in feeling secure. We are so thrilled that we discovered Good360.”
If your organization would like to be featured in Good360’s Nonprofit Spotlight, please email Tara Laskowski, director of communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.