Kiddie Academy of Colonia and Family Promise

Across the Kiddie Academy system of franchised locations, philanthropy plays a big part in extending important lessons outside of the classroom. Academies are always finding creative ways to bring lessons in kindness, empathy and responsibility to life by partnering with local charities and taking on an active role in supporting the community.

Kiddie Academy of Colonia (NJ) Franchisee Joanne Johnson described what it was like doing just that with Kiddie Academy’s national nonprofit partner, Family Promise. Family Promise is one of the leading organizations providing services to families experiencing homelessness. “When we first approached our local Family Promise affiliate, they asked ‘What kind of support are you interested in providing?’ My instinct was to ask back, ‘Well, what kind of support do you need?’”

When it comes to making a transformational impact, Joanne understands the importance of first uncovering the need. More often than not, nonprofits are forced to be resourceful with what support is offered to them. In the case of the budding relationship between Kiddie Academy of Colonia and Family Promise of Union County, the question of need was always at the center of the conversation helping to provide the most effective support to the organization and, ultimately, to families in need.

“I was taught that you always give back even when you’re going through tough times yourself,” Joanne said. “I knew it was important that our support of Family Promise was targeted. We had to figure out what they needed and then we could start to peel back how exactly we could help.”

Kiddie Academy of Colonia worked closely with Family Promise of Union County to develop a plan for engaging the community in give-back efforts:

  • In September, the Academy held a backpack drive that filled their entire lobby with supplies and provided 90 filled backpacks to children in need.
  • In October, Kiddie Academy of Colonia hosted their very own Night Without a Bed fundraiser, raising $1,200 though community support and a franchisee-funded matching donation.
  • In November, the Academy donated over 10 cases of nonperishable food items to local families serviced by Family Promise.
  • In December, with the support of the community and valued vendors, the Academy donated nearly 200 toys to local children through Family Promise. The Academy also took donations for other emergency items needed by Family Promise and helped orchestrate the distribution of the items through volunteerism.

The Academy has lots of give-back efforts planned with Family Promise for the months ahead, including a coat drive and toiletries drive. “We embarked on this journey with Family Promise by making sure our Academy team understood the charity’s mission and what they do to support families experiencing homelessness. When you help people understand the impact and get them empathizing, it makes them more inclined to help.”

Joanne, together with the support of her teachers, staff, parents and broader community, is making a critical positive impact for families and children in need. Her philanthropic leadership serves as a shining example of what is achievable when a community comes together. As she reflects on the investment of support her community has made, Joanne shares, “These efforts take time, but they feel good. You feel good giving back to others.”

To learn more about Family Promise or to donate, click here.