17-Year Old Nonprofit Founder Approaches One Million Fundraising Mark, and After Five Years Finally Heads to Africa with World Vision

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Kendall Ciesemier Goes to Africa in June to See the Benefits of Her Organization and Movement, Kids Caring 4 Kids.

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Join a cause that is bigger than yourself. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in the world

Kendall Ciesemier has been waiting for this day for over five years. When she founded Kids Caring 4 Kids (KC4K, http://www.KidsCaring4Kids.org) in 2004, she had no idea the impact it would have on kids worlds apart. Despite personal struggles of her own, she has remained focused on the greater challenges of children around the world, many who have lost their parents to AIDS and are orphans. For the first time this June the 17-year old will see firsthand the benefits of her dedication and commitment, and those she’s inspired, to African children who need it the most.

Over five years ago, 11-year old Kendall Ciesemier was stunned by an “Oprah Christmas Special” where she saw young girls her own age caring for their younger siblings following the deaths of their parents to AIDS. She was so deeply moved by their plight that she took $360 of her own money to sponsor one child for a year through World Vision. Knowing that other kids would be equally shocked and moved, Ciesemier created Kids Caring 4 Kids, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging America’s young people to make a difference to help AIDS orphans.

Ciesemier, herself, knows what it’s like to face challenging circumstances. Born with a rare liver disease, she has undergone two liver transplants, and still, even now, most days are not easy for her. It's really her devotion to the children of Africa that helps her keep perspective during many, regular hospital visits.

“Watching Oprah, I saw children my age doing laundry, walking miles to go to school and get fresh water, cooking and caring for their young siblings. I have loving parents to care for me, but these kids in Africa who lost their parents have no one,” said Ciesemier, Founder of Kids Caring 4 Kids. “Kids are pretty powerful in numbers. Now I get to see for myself how KC4K, and the kids in America, are making a real difference.”

This June Ciesemier finally heads to Zambia and South Africa to see how her organization is benefiting AIDS orphans, and others, in Africa. While there she will visit the Kerus Orphan Care Center, which KC4K helped to build; a bicycle distribution location with partner World Bicycle Relief; a clean water project KC4K helped fund with World Vision; Lifesong for Orphans, a residential school, and, of course, a safari.

"The chance to go to Africa is really a dream come true for me. I didn't realize that my path with KC4K would lead me to this amazing opportunity, but I'm grateful that I've been given the opportunity to help others who really need it." Ciesemier adds that she's most excited to see how the lives of children and individuals in Africa are changed through KC4K's efforts.

With the help of an appearance on The Oprah Show along with President Clinton and many others spreading the word, KC4K is nearing its $1 Million fundraising goal. So far, KC4K funds have been used to:

  •     donate specially built bicycles to students in Zambia so they can attend school
  •     provide weekly nutritional meals to over 600 orphans, widows and AIDS patients in Zambia
  •     provide funds to help build and outfit Kerus Orphan Care Center in South Africa
  •     supply food, shelter and education to child slaves rescued in Ghana
  •     construct a dorm in Kenya to house 30 orphan girls
  •     drill clean water wells in Zambia
  •     build and help operate a Kenyan community center caring for 120 orphans daily
  •     provide healthcare and hygiene to 175 children in a Zambian orphanage
  •     provide uniforms and school fees for Ethiopian children

This is all pretty impressive for a teenager with her own personal daily trials. Her message to kids her age around the world is "Join a cause that is bigger than yourself. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in the world.”

In 2009, the organization launched its new "i care 2" kit to encourage American youth to create their own fundraisers for KC4K. The kit provides everything an individual or group needs to create and successfully implement a project to raise funds to help AIDS orphans. Each kit is sent out by request through http://www.KidsCaring4Kids.org

The Story of Kids Caring 4 Kids
Founded in 2004 by then 11-year-old Kendall Ciesemier, Kids Caring 4 Kids is a registered 501(c)3 organization. The organization caught the attention of national media and landed Ciesemier on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2007, accompanied by President Bill Clinton. Kendall’s initial goal to raise one million dollars to provide care and hope for AIDS orphans has inspired thousands of students and adults to raise funds through penny wars, service projects, basketball tournaments, karaoke contests, bake sales, and other creative activities. Kids Caring 4 Kids has already raised over $750,000 to help fund programs serving children impacted by the AIDS epidemic in Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, and other African nations. Monies have helped to build orphan care centers, drill boreholes for clean water, fund daily feeding programs, provide school uniforms, shelter rescued children, and more. Please visit http://www.KidsCaring4Kids.org.

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Jennifer Fortney
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