Bridging the gap: Coalition for Kids works to prevent future deficits

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 4, 2012 at 9:21 PM

For the first time in its history, Coalition for Kids recently wrapped up its fiscal year with more annual expenses than revenues.

While reserve funds were available to meet the more than $200,000 deficit it recorded on June 30, a new school year has begun and another record number of school children are lining up for the free after-school and evening programs the nonprofit, faith-based coalition provides.

“The past twelve months have been a significant challenge,” said Randy Hensley, the coalition’s executive director. “For the first time in our history, our revenue did not meet our expectations. We are the largest we have ever been. We are reaching more children than we have ever reached.

“To sustain the impact we are having on the children who desperately need the breadth and depth of Coalition, we must also increase the breadth and depth of the partners who stand with us.”

In its first year, the coalition that was organized around one man’s quest to build a playground for the children at Tyler Apartments provided after-school and evening programming for 22 children who were referred to the program by teachers and counselors at Fairmont Elementary School.

Last year, more than 400 children referred by schools all over the city took part in the Coalition for Kids programming now available daily at 10 after-school and evening sites. And, over the past 13 years, more than 6,000 children have been impacted by the homework assistance, snacks, suppers and access to extra-curricular activities those program sites provide.

From the beginning, Hensley said, the coalition’s programming has been made possible by the support of individuals, churches, businesses, clubs and other groups in the community who have given their money, in-kind gifts, time, labor and expertise to improve the lives of children in need.

Last May, with the end of its business school year and its first year-end deficit looming, the coalition set out to broaden that support through a child sponsorship campaign that has since brought in 102 individual sponsorships of $50 a month or $600 a year to cover the cost of an entire school year of programming for one child.

One month into the new school year, the coalition is expecting to hit last year’s record of 402 students and to have children on waiting list at each of its program sites within the next two weeks.

And while the number 400 is indicative of the breadth of the program, Hensley said the depth of impact the coalition is making is best illustrated by the number one for each one of the children the programs serve:

“One child named Xavier who passed fourth grade instead of failing and is now booming with self-esteem and confidence because of his C4K Site Coordinator’s unwillingness to see failure as an option.

“One boy named Michael who found a place he called home when he had no home and all hope seemed lost, only to have recently received a college scholarship because of an interest in dance we were able to nurture when he was 8 years old.

“One beautiful little girl named Minnie who no longer needed to hide food under her shirt because Coalition consistently gave her second and third helpings of dinner when food in her home was limited.

“One little boy named Nathan who started his first day in Coalition as a first-grader bursting with pride because his older brothers were Coalition kids and he couldn’t wait for his turn.”

Hensley invited anyone interested in learning more about the coalition and the impact it makes, to visit its center a 2308 Watauga Road, www.coalitionforkids.org or www.facebook.com/Coalition4Kids. Or, more information about the program may be obtained by calling Ramona Tivis at the coalition at 434-2031.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos