United Way gets ready for Kidspree

July 6, 2010


It is one of the more meaningful nonprofit events held on the Central Coast–the chance to help young boys and girls in need get the basic clothes and supplies to start off the upcoming school year literally on the right foot.

For many years, United Way of San Luis Obispo sponsored “Childspree” in conjunction with Mervyn’s, but then the department store folded and the event was cancelled in 2009.

However, Kohl’s has stepped in, offering both its San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles stores for the newly renamed “Kidspree,” now scheduled for Sunday morning, July 25.

Here is how it works: For every $100 that United Way can raise, another local child, nominated through local Social Services programs, is allowed to participate. The goal, according to organizers is to reach 300 young people.

The event is scheduled from 7 to 9 a.m. Children are brought to Kohl’s by their parents, but the adults aren’t allowed inside the store. Instead, the children, ranging from K-12, are matched with volunteers who help in shopping in the normally-closed stores. Each participant gets $100 to spend on clothing.

“We’re so thrilled to be able to bring this event back,” said Rick London, executive director of United Way. “It’s amazing to witness the amount of good that is accomplished in such a short period of time.”

Obviously, London would like people to jump online and make a donation. But there is also a special need for volunteers, age 18 or older, who can help the young people shop–especially in Paso Robles. Interested volunteers can call United Way at 541-1234 for more information.

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This sounds cool. I have an additional suggestion. NIne years ago I went back to the Middle School/Junior High School I attended and graduated from and started a scholarship fund in my name and each June I donate money for two scholarships – one each – a deserving and needy boy and girl graduate. The teachers pick out the winners. They take their check and spend it on anything they and their parents think they need to start high school in the Fall. This has proven a great way to give back and every June the school contacts me to come back and make a presentation to the graduating class. Every year I am working and cannot get away, but I will one of these times. It’s a terriffic way to role model and help build resilience in children that will remember the little boost you gave them at age 13. One of the those vulnerable times – making the transition from Middle School to High School.