Every month, Cincinnati Parent spotlights an organization in the area that’s affecting positive change. A Kid Again is an Ohio-based non-profit that serves children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The organization provides kids with fun adventures, allowing them a brief time-out from their illness. Cincinnati Parent spoke with Liz Koszuta, Executive Director of the Southwest Ohio Chapter, to learn more about how this organization impacts local families.
Can you tell us what A Kid Again does for the community?
All of our families have a child with a life-threatening illness. We take them on adventures, which are regular breaks from illness for the entire family. We have multiple group outings each year to major local venues such as the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Zoo. We have a holiday party at Matthew 25: Ministries. We go to King’s Island and Scene 75 Entertainment Center. The entire family participates, including siblings.
We have multiple events each year so there’s always something for the family to look forward to. It also gives families the opportunity to connect with others in similar circumstances who understand their challenges. We are open to any kid with a life-threatening illness, so kids who have rare diseases or multiple diagnoses who may not have a support group elsewhere can find a home with us. The adventures are free for families. Economics can be a huge consideration for some families, given the prolonged and high cost of their medical bills.
Who founded the organization and why?
It was founded in Columbus by Jeffery Damron and the organization overall is 22 years old. The southwest chapter is 17 years old. It was originally modeled as a wish granting organization, but they realized that after the wish was granted the need continued for the families to have something to enjoy together and look forward to. It evolved into group outings, so the families have that sense of community and ongoing events to anticipate.
What kind of impact does your organization have on these kids?
Our families have told us that there are benefits to both the family and the sick child. Some of those benefits include feeling closer together and stronger as a family, more social support, of course, because there are the group outings, and that they’re just better able to cope with the illness. The sick kids show improved attitudes toward their illness and their treatment. So it really is a benefit to the whole family’s social and emotional well-being.
What is the best way for the community to get involved?
Volunteer opportunities are vast. We have a staff of two so we rely very heavily on volunteers and we are equipped to accommodate families, individuals, corporate groups, short-term or long-term volunteers – we pretty much need any volunteer interest there is.
Some of our larger adventures require hundreds of volunteers, so volunteers interact directly with the families. We also have some committee work to plan our fundraiser, and people come into the office to help us with different projects from time to time.
Then, of course, we can always use donations, whether it’s corporate sponsorships or individual donations. We accept donations on the website, just make sure to select the southwest chapter.
If a family has a child that would benefit from your organization, how can that child get involved?
There are two criteria to enroll. The first is diagnosis by a physician of a life-threatening illness and the second is that the child is under the age of 20. There’s an application that the child’s physician fills out. More information is available on our website.
To learn more about A Kid Again, visit.