A group of caring volunteers met in June 1995 to launch a new organization offering adventures and support programs to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The following month, Adventures For Wish Kids, Inc. was established as a Columbus-based nonprofit organization in the state of Ohio. On November 7, 1995, Adventures For Wish Kids, Inc. was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. Two events were held the first year and we served 276 children, plus their immediate family members.
For the first two years, the organization was run entirely by volunteers. Then in June 1997, the board of directors hired the first paid staff member. Adventures began not only reaching children being treated in Columbus, but also at Cincinnati and Dayton's children’s hospitals. Some children traveled great distances to attend outings. As a result, in 2000, the board of directors established chapters in Cincinnati and Dayton. The vision was, and is, serving children with local volunteers, advisory boards, and donors. By the end of the year, 580 children were participating in 10 Adventure outings annually. Because the entire family was included, over 2,400 people were served.
In February 2008, Adventures became a statewide organization when the board approved the establishment of the Greater Cleveland Chapter. For several years, our name, Adventures For Wish Kids, caused the organization to be confused with traditional wish-granting groups. As a result, the board of directors set out to find a more fitting name. They turned to the our families for their thoughts about the most important thing the organization did for them. They shared that they want their children to leave their illnesses and hospital stays behind and be...a kid again. When they see their children at the adventures smiling, laughing, and living again, their dreams come true...their child is a kid again. At their urging and the marvelous support of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, in January 2009, the organization grew up to be...A Kid Again.
Today, A Kid Again has over 1,600 children with life-threatening illnesses enrolled in our programs. We are able to serve these families through a small paid staff of 10, over 1,000 volunteers, hundreds of corporate and private partners, a remarkable board of directors, and three amazing chapter advisory boards. With your support, we will continue to change the world of our children!
Although we can never take away the tremendous burdens that come with a life-threatening illness, we can give hope, joy, and lasting memories to help families deal with the pain. A Kid Again welcomes children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from the day of diagnosis until the children reach the age of 20. Our adventures bring the families together several times a year, allowing them to form friendships and a support network that may extend beyond active treatment. Even when a child survives the illness, the side effects of treatment can reach far into adolescence and the teenage years, thus the need for support, fun, and hope continues. Some children who have graduated from our program at the age of 20 have now become marvelous active volunteers. A Kid Again is built on lasting relationships and partnerships. We enjoy amazing partnerships with corporate funders like White Castle, Limited Brands, Safelite Glass, Spirit Services, Barbasol, Cardinal Health, and many more. Our in-kind partners bring even more for the children. Examples of these partners are Kings Island, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, Nationwide Children's Hospital, the Columbus Crew, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and many more. Kings Island’s gift to our children, in the past 12 years, now exceeds $2 million! The final piece of our partnership is our hundreds of kind-hearted volunteers. When the partnerships are assembled, the resulting hope, joy, and laughter our children and their families enjoy lasts all year long!
In 1995, we held two events in Columbus with almost 500 attendees. By 2010, we had grown to be a statewide organization having held 42 events in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, having host more than 14,000 people. Our vision is to offer A Kid Again programs to even more children and their families by expanding beyond the state lines and into the Midwest. By growing our strong relationships and partnerships, one day, every child with a life-threatening illness in the United States can benefit from our A Kid Again programs in their own community!