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Category: Champion for Kids

One American Classroom

One American Classroom

by Jacob Martin

I took national statistics about all students in America, and shrank them down to represent an average-sized classroom. If you have a child in school, these could be their classmates. If you had the chance to spend time with these students, each one a stand-in for millions of kids like them, imagine what they could teach you.

If all kids in America could be represented in a single, 25-student classroom, 16 put together a puzzle or played a boardgame with a parent this week; 12 went to the library with a parent this month; 8 are having some difficulty reading; 8 are going to have an anxiety disorder by the time they’re 18; 5 are going to be bullied this year; 1 will be pushed, shoved, or spat on; 3 will be robbed, assaulted, or raped, 1 while at school; 5 live below the poverty line; 2 aren’t sure that they’ll get their next meal; 1 may lose their home; 2 will never graduate. Get involved in your community. There’s a classroom that needs you.

Details and Resources

Parental Involvement
In a 2012 survey, 64% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported playing board games or doing puzzles with their children in the previous week.
Table 207.20
In a 2012 survey, 44.8% of parents or guardians of kindergartners through fifth-graders reported visiting a library with their children in the previous month.
Table 207.30

68% of all 4th grade students were tested to be at or above the Basic level, denoting “partial mastery of the knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade.”
Table 221.20

Mental Health
A 2010 study found 31.9% of adolescents, aged 13-18, met criteria for at least one anxiety disorder
Table 2

In a 2013 survey, 21.5% of students, ages 12-18, reported being bullied at school during the school year. This does not include cyber-bullying which affected 6.9% of students surveyed.
Table 230.40
In a 2013 survey, 6% of students, ages 12-18, reported being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spat on at school during the school year, of which 20.8% reported a resulting injury.
Table 230.40

Violent Crime
In a 2013 survey, 10.7% of students reported experiencing “serious violent victimization,” which includes the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Note that robbery entails the use of force.
In the same 2013 survey as above, 4.9% of students reported serious violent victimization while at school, which includes inside the school building, on school property, and on the way to or from school.
Table 228.20

In the 2013 Current Population Survey, 21.5% of children and youth under the age of 18 were identified as living below the federal poverty line.
Table 3

A 2014 survey found that in households with children under age 18, 9.4% of children were food insecure, 1.1% of children were categorized as having very low food security. Food security indicates that people have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life through the year.
Page 16, Figure 2

In HUD’s 2015 report to congress, 2,830,000 million families with children were in worst case renting scenarios (renters with very low incomes [below half the median in their area] who do not receive government housing assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions, or both). The report found an average of 2.09 children per household in severe housing situations. There were 116,030,000 total households in 2013. Therefore, 2.439% of households with children were in worst case renting scenarios and could be projected to have 2.09 children per household, meaning a projected 5.098% of children live in worst case renting scenarios.

A Fall 2013–Spring 2014 school year survey found 1,301,239 public school students (pre-k through 12th grade) experienced homelessness as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act.
Page 8, Table 2
In Fall 2013, 50,045,000 students were enrolled in public school (pre-k through 12th grade).
Table 203.10
The 1,301,239 students experiencing homelessness would account for 2.6% of all enrolled students, or .65 of 1 student in a hypothetical 25-student representation of all American public school students.

In a 2015 survey, 6.8% of the population were “Status” dropouts, meaning they were civilians age 16–24, not enrolled in school, and have not completed a high school program or equivalent certification such as GED.
Table 219.70

Classroom Size
A class size of 25 was chosen as a rounded average (from 25.30) using a 2011-2012 school and staffing survey of class sizes in public primary, middle, and high schools implementing departmentalized instruction. Departmentalized is defined as instruction to several classes of different students most or all of the day in one or more subjects. Departmentalized instruction classrooms were chosen as they are the most common type of classroom. All classroom types, including self-contained, combined-grade, and specialist classes, would average out to 20.84.
Table 7

Libraries are still relevant

Libraries are still relevant

library_2by Kristen Martin

I push against the tall doors, almost too heavy for me, when I see rows of shelves teeming with books! Books of every color and size with bright pictures or noble bindings. Then I am told I can pick out five to take home with me. I can barely believe the world I’ve just walked into.

library_1 I received my very first library card and felt like a grownup with a credit card. I had the power to choose which worlds I wanted to explore. It started simply with some Dr. Suess. Then, I read the Little House series; I read Jane Eyre, The Giver, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t realize until much later in life that those trips to the library gave me so much more than a love of reading—it gave me the chance to explore new ideas and the courage to become who I wanted to be.

Today’s libraries offer so much more than books.

  • Audiobooks, some are available to download to your smartphone through apps like Overdrive
  • Movies and TV Shows in DVD and BluRay
  • Magazines and newspapers dating back centuries
  • Computers with internet and printing
  • Experts to help with research—including genealogy
  • Some have tools and sporting equipment you can borrow
  • Many sell used books and movies for an exceptional price ($.25 – $5.00 for hardback books!)

More than all of this they include activities for the whole family to enjoy.

  • Story-time readings of children’s books
  • Favorite characters parties with guest like Winnie the Pooh or Mickey
  • Events for teens/pre-teens such as dances and lock-ins
  • Movie screenings of popular movies and art films
  • Author readings and signings
  • Special speakers with all different kinds of expertise
  • Book clubs
  • Classes for everything from computer skills to learning a new language.

According to, “libraries are community hubs. In addition to connecting people to information, libraries connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids when school is not in session, offering after-school homework help, games, and book clubs. Libraries offer computer classes, enabling older adults to stay engaged in a digital world. Bookmobiles and community outreach programs keep those living in remote areas or those who are housebound connected to the larger community.”


Seeing this video made by high school students and librarians reminded me how great a trip to the library can be. Visit your local library today and talk to a librarian—they are a wealth of knowledge just waiting to explore with you.

What it means to help a child and why it matters in 9 quotes

What it means to help a child and why it matters in 9 quotes

What it means to help a child.

Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.
— Fred Rogers, television personality and educator

Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.
— John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Not a day passes, but I get a letter from a child. … I answer every one personally. When I was a child I know, if I had received a real letter from an author whose book I’d read, I would have been the happiest boy alive. And if I am to do any good in this world my highest ambition will be to make children happy.
— L. Frank Baum, author of children’s books such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

All the little ones of our time are collectively the children of us adults of the time, and entitled to our general care.
— Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
— Carl Jung, influential psychiatrist and psychotherapist

The welfare of a child is not to be measured by money only, nor by physical comfort only.
— Nathaniel Lindley, English judge

There is something deeply hypocritical in a society that holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam but does not hold the high officials of our government accountable for robbing her of what they gave their own kids six or seven years before.
— Jonathan Kozol, author and public education activist

Nothing matters more to a child than a place to call home.
— Brenda Donald, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources

Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.
— Garrison Keillor, author and radio personality

What drives you to make a difference in the lives of children? Is it someone you knew when you were young? Is it something you saw that changed the way you thought about the world?


Fighting Hunger in Every Community

Fighting Hunger in Every Community


by Kristen Martin

When I arrived at the Pine Bluff Convention Center Tuesday morning, I found a long line of residents waiting for their chance to receive a bag full of chicken. The Delta Network Food Bank received a truckload of Tyson chicken as a result of the Hunger Heroes campaign last summer in Sam’s Clubs across the U.S. This food bank serves 9 counties in Arkansas. According to Feeding America’s recent interactive national report, more than 200,000 children (28%) in Arkansas are at risk of hunger and not getting the food they need to lead healthy, active lives.


Bustling volunteers and Tyson employees were in constant motion, sorting boxes and bags to distribute to area food banks and local residents. It was amazing to see the community come together and serve. After talking with Jacqueline Ross, Director of the Delta Network Food Bank, I discovered that they plan to hold another event at the end of the month.

hunger-heroes-02Their local Tyson plant donated the cold storage space for the rest of the chicken until the food bank would be able to distribute again. Cold storage is often an issue for smaller food banks and they are grateful to have such a wonderful relationship to rely on.


On Wednesday, March 2, another truckload of chicken was delivered to Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, TX. This food bank serves 13 counties including 208,390 children. Their In-School Snack program provides healthy snacks to students who experience hunger during the school day, allowing them to focus in the classroom. According to Feeding America, proper nutrition is critical to a child’s development. Not having enough of the right kinds of food can have serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, academic achievement, and future economic prosperity. Through TAFB’s Food for Kids programs, children receive healthy meals all year round.



While nearly half of American adults say that hunger in the “United States at large” is a serious problem, only 24% of respondents in a national survey believed it was a problem in their own communities. Yet food insecurity affects every community in America. For more information on how you can get involved call your local food pantry or visit

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Tips for Holding a Coat Drive

Giving the gift of warmth

by Kristen Martin

The past few winters have broken records for cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind-chill. With the cold weather, we pull out warm sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, and coats. Since children grow every year, they need new warm clothes every year. For some families, the expense of providing these necessary protective barriers is impossible. It is up to us to help the children in our community. The four steps in our guide will teach you how to start a coat drive the right way. With friends, you can brainstorm new, creative idea that best fit your community.

Select a Beneficiary

From the beginning, you’ll want to communicate with your nonprofit about their needs and what they can accept. If your first choice can’t distribute the coats, be willing to either switch to something they need or ask if there’s another organization they know in need of a coat drive. Plan with your organization to find the best time and way to deliver the clothing. If you want to have donation bins somewhere in the community, get approval before you start.

Alternatively, consider donating to Operation Warm, which provides new coats for children through community organizations. “For each $20 that is donated, a child in the community gets the opportunity to choose a new coat in his or her favorite color and style.” You give warmth as well as self-esteem and acceptance.
One Warm Coat is another organization that can help you plan and hold your coat drive. They have plenty of creative ideas, materials to help promote, and tools to find local beneficiaries.


For a successful donation drive, your community has to be aware of it. Get the word out with posters and social media. If your bins are going to be in public places, decorate them in attention-grabbing ways aimed at your community. Don’t be afraid to notify your local media and send a press release.

Host the Drive

You’ll want boxes big enough for these bulky coats. You can get boxes from moving companies or stores that sell large products. Make sure your donations collections are where people will be. You can set up donation bins in specific places over a long period of time, or you can have volunteers encourage donations at a specific location on a specific day. If you opt for a single day, it’s especially important that you accept cash or credit donations for those who decide to donate on the spot. You’ll want to have enough volunteers to work in shifts.

If possible, extend your coat drive to a winter clothing drive. According to a recent study, we may be more likely to get the common cold when we’re breathing in cold air, so balaclavas, facemasks, and scarves worn up over the nose could be important in keeping us healthy.

Sort and Count

After the collection is over, you’ll want to count and sort the donations according to the needs of the organization who will receive them. You may encounter coats that are much more than gently used. In these cases, companies like Goodwill can still accept the donation and recycle the fabric if it’s not able to be sold.

Example Coat Drive Ideas

  • Hold a drive at an event like a holiday party, football game, or service project.
  • Host a winter dance that charges monetary donations or winter clothing donations for entrance.
  • Businesses can offer discounts in exchange for a coat donation.
  • Branches or departments of a business can compete for a casual day or force a departmental boss to wear something ridiculous.
  • Hold competing coat drives at rival schools or school districts—winners get a party or a pie to the face of an administrator.
  • Coordinate with the manager at a department store that sells clothing to host the drive right outside.
  • Host a concert and charge admission in clothing donations.
  • Enlist the support of a local radio personality to mention the drive and participate.

Champions for Kids staff preparing to deliver coats.

We really enjoyed our coat drive last year. We’d love to hear how your drive goes! Share your story with us and we may feature it for others to see.

Kids need STEM: How to prepare our children for a world only they can build

Kids need STEM: How to prepare our children for a world only they can build

by Kristen Martin

STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is a vital part of our everyday world. When was the last day you went without looking at your phone? Traveled to work or school without the aid of cars, trains, or even roads? And as much as I would hate to admit it to my younger self, math is something I use daily, when I go to the grocery store or pay my bills. Also, we live in the world it is science.

Education in these subjects needs to be interactive and engaging, encouraging children to explore, question, build, and design. This helps develop their ability to solve problems and think creatively—something that will eternally affect their everyday lives.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.”

Teachers and parents are realizing the importance of STEM development and it doesn’t take long to find thousands of great activities to do with children of any age. Children are naturally curious and have a desire to understand how things work. By making education fun and interactive, children not only are more likely to comprehend new information, they develop a love of learning.

Our children need to be prepared for civilization’s ever-increasing reliability on technology. They need to be equipped with the confidence to make well-informed decisions. They need to be aware of the world around them, and understand how to change it for the better. From the creation of the wheel to the Internet, STEM has molded society. Who knows what tomorrow’s generation will create?

Hot Wheels Speedometry

For 4th grade teachers or parents of kids K–6, Mattel created curriculum to teach STEM principles using Hot Wheels. GoodX is hosting a website that provides access to that curriculum and supports CFK at the same time! Unlock funding for Champions for Kids programs and gain access to the curriculum by visiting



Summer Can Be Scary: Why Kids Need Support After School

Summer Can Be Scary: Why Kids Need Support After School

Guest bloggers: Anthony Stevens & Aaron Weatherford

When the school lets out for summer, children go their separate ways to enjoy the time off, going on vacations and other adventures. These are Stevens_1times of fun and freedom, but for some kids, summer is actually a season of huge risks and developmental regression. When children are present for school, and seen throughout the week, they interact with the school’s staff, and get the nutritious foods that they need to stay on task. Summer time presents a gap in those needed actions.

Time away from school can mean no food, no fun, no social development, and academic devastation. In fact, authors from the National Summer Learning Association state that “…summertime presents a clear case where the growth in the achievement gap is the direct result of a gap in resources, choices and opportunities.” Over the summer students have large needs, specifically food, attention, social stimulus, and activities, all of which form the connected puzzle of healthy living for a child. Nutrition plays the largest role in the puzzle, as a kind of link from one need to the other, and how to maintain the energy to meet these needs. When kids go without nutrition, development in vision, fine motor skills, language skills and personal-social skills take a hard hit.

Millions of students rely on schools for food. In fact, over 20 million kids receive free or reduced lunches in school each day. So, when school is not in session, they go without.

Weatherford_1How can parents and families combat this problem? Here at Champions for Kids, we want to encourage families and communities to help kids stay summer strong by doing a service project to provide essential items for kids this summer. Tell us about your service project, and you could win up to $10,000 for a school or youth-based organization of your choice! Click here to get started 

What about you? Have ideas on how to help kids get the nutritional and academic support they need over the summer?


Hunger: The Ever-Present Challenge

Hunger: The Ever-Present Challenge

Hunger is an ever-present challenge for many families across America, and Champions for Kids, Kraft Foods, Tyson Foods and Sam’s Club have teamed up to fight food insecurity.

On May 20, 2015, Champions for Kids and Kraft Foods donated a truckload of CAPRI SUN to the St. Louis Area Foodbank as part of “Be A Hunger Hero” campaign.

The St. Louis Area Foodbank serves 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois, and distributes nearly 35 million pounds of food and personal care items annually. More than 392,000 people in the bi-state region rely on the Foodbank for assistance each year.


What about you? Is there a food bank in your area that you’d like to help? If so, see how you can take part in our Summer Strong program and win up to $10,000 for a school or youth-based nonprofit of your choice!  

When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

When Summer Isn’t Fun: Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

Keeping Kids ‘Summer Strong’ with SIMPLE Service

You probably remember what summer was like as a kid–warm days at the pool, picnics in the park or watching Spongebob practically nonstop. For kids who rely on free school lunches, however, summer can be a time of uncertainty. Kids from unstable homes, or environments of abuse, must endure (not enjoy) the summer.

At Champions for Kids, we want to provide essentials to kids and families so they can be strong during the summer. Our home is Northwest Arkansas, and we believe supporting each other starts locally. One local organization Champions for Kids is proud to support is the Child Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). They provide a safe environment to serve abused children and their families–free of charge! To achieve this mission, they need the help of the community. They need everything from clothing, snacks and soap to games and art supplies to achieve their mission. That’s where we (and you) can step in to help.

This Saturday, May 16th, Champions for Kids be collecting items at Pinnacle Hills Promenade, in Rogers, AR, to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County (CAC). This Saturday project serves as a kick-off to our Summer Strong SIMPLE Service initiative. From May 15th to June 30th, you can tell us about ways in which you are helping kids in your community. By sharing that story, you have the chance to win part of $50,000 for an organization of your choice

It can be a project like this one, or you may be inspired to help out in other ways! It’s our way of bolstering the efforts that your town, school, or organization is already putting forth. It’s all in the name of making sure that every child is “Summer Strong.”

So come join us on this Saturday, or tell us how you’re making a difference. After all, shouldn’t every kid be able to have golden summer memories?


Top 10 Items Schools Need You to Donate for Kids

Top 10 Items Schools Need You to Donate for Kids

School Nurses Gave a List of Most-Needed Donations

Ever wonder what items schools really need donated? We sent out a survey to the National Association of School Nurses to see what were the top 10 items schools most need people to donate for kids. Some things were not surprising, like snacks and books, but can you guess what was the #1 item most needed? Check it out!

Top 10 Items Schools Need You to Donate
List created from the survey answers provided by the National Association of School Nurses

Surprised by the answers? Let us know in the comments and spread the word!