World Connect Revs Up for More Kids to Kids Grants in More Countries

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Online Voting for Members Opens for Global Youth Initiative Creating Opportunities for Kids in Arts, Sports, Education and Environmental Projects

Reading and reviewing the grant proposals drives home the power of our actions

World Connect, formerly Infante Sano, a nonprofit that empowers local leaders in underserved communities to solve local problems, today opened online voting for the next round of Kids to Kids grants. Members of Kids to Kids, a youth-led program, are invited to read and review proposed projects and chose which projects they want to fund. It is an amazing opportunity for kids to have a say in which projects they think will have the greatest impact in the lives’ of other kids. The online voting will be open until June 30, 2010.

The Kids to Kids program uses money raised by students in the US to fund small but powerful grants at the community level in partner countries. For this latest round of grant giving, Kids to Kids received over 80 applications from Peace Corp Volunteers teaming with local community leaders in 10 countries. For the first time ever, Kids to Kids will fund projects in Ecuador, Mali, Morocco, Peru, Philippines and Rwanda.

“Reading and reviewing the grant proposals drives home the power of our actions,” said Sarah Nuss, a co-founder of Kids to Kids. “With the online voting, all of our members learn exactly how a remote community works and what challenges kids there face. We encourage kids across the United States to join the process and help us determine where we can have the most impact on the lives of kids around the world.”

Kids to Kids, which was founded in 2005 by four middle school aged girls from Massachusetts, funds arts, sports, education and environmental projects aimed at kids in underserved communities in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. The goal is to support community projects that can make simple but powerful changes to kids’ lives. Below is sampling of projects up for consideration in this round:

Court of Smiles, Costa Rica--This project will benefit a small community of 1000+ people on the Nicoyan Peninsula of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The community has developed rather quickly in the last 10 years with the construction of nearly 200 government homes. However, sadly, the community has very few resources for the youth. This is a serious problem considering over 30% of the population is between the ages of 5 and 17, and it is incredibly important for kids to have positive and healthy activities during this time of development. Through a Kids to Kids grant, we propose to construct a multi-use court for basketball, volleyball and other sports in community so that youth will be able to entertain themselves in a safe and healthy environment. Skills such as self-discipline, work ethic, responsibility, accountability, teamwork, leadership and self-confidence are all components of sports, valuable and urgent lessons for these youth.

Documenting Dreams, Dominican Republic--This project will incorporate digital photography into the elementary and high schools in a poor, rural community in the Dominican Republic. We are requesting a Kids to Kids grant to purchase digital cameras and a color printer. Students will have the opportunity to learn about journalism, photography, and community building through the sharing of information, which would be done first in blog form on the internet and later through publishing a community newspaper. Photography is a great way to motivate youth in the Dominican Republic because they rarely have the chance to see pictures of themselves or to use a camera. The cameras would allow students to learn important concepts, such as the importance of recording history and the power of communication – and a variety of new creative skills. The project will achieve a lasting, positive impact on kids in community because it will help foster a joy of learning that is so often lost in the Dominican Republic.

Rihane Screenprinters & Fashion Designers, Morocco --Rihane was founded as a community learning center for girls who are illiterate or who have little schooling. This center offers free educational and craft classes such as sewing, cooking, and crocheting - empowering these young women to develop skills and be more independent. With support from Kids to Kids, Rihane will provide the girls with an opportunity to better their screen-printing skills, encourage their creativity, and produce unique clothes that they themselves can wear in their village. Girls will develop their business skills by advertising and selling their clothes. Clothes created by the girls will also be sold in the surrounding communities as a way to keep the project going for many years to come.

“Our Kids to Kids members witness the world,” said Sarah Henry, executive director of World Connect. “By going through this grant review and online voting process, they see firsthand the problems and possibilities in communities far and wide. Building this awareness and giving youth the opportunity to take concrete action are the keys to the success of the Kids to Kids program.”

About Kids to Kids
World Connect’s youth-led Kids to Kids Program empowers local leaders in underserved communities to solve local problems affecting kids. Founded by four middle school girls in Massachusetts, Kids to Kids encourages grassroots fundraising by kids in the US for youth arts, sports, education and environmental projects. The connections built by Kids to Kids create a new generation of leaders and global citizens. To date, Kids to Kids has reached over 12,000 kids by providing microgrants at the community level in Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador and is currently accepting proposals for new projects in Ecuador, Mali, Morocco, Peru, Philippines and Rwanda. Learn more about the Kids to Kids Program and how it is creating opportunities for kids everywhere at http://www.kidstokids.org.

About World Connect
World Connect, formerly Infante Sano, is a non-profit organization that empowers local leaders in underserved areas worldwide to solve local problems by improving the health and wellbeing of women, children and communities. Since 2005, World Connect has contributed millions of dollars through over 230 grants and in-kind gifts, supporting more than 200 communities in eleven countries. World Connect has two giving channels: World Connect Grants, which supports changemakers in health, education and income generation projects, and Kids to Kids, which funds innovative youth arts, sports, education and environmental projects. Visit World Connect at http://www.worldconnect-us.org/ to learn more about the long-lasting and transformational impact of its programs.

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Jacquelyn Caglia
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