No stranger to philanthropy, van Gemerden says she always dreamed of helping others, especially children. She translated her passion into volunteer work throughout her childhood and college, but was sidetracked into a career in hotel management and banking after college. Her desire to give back inspired her to work with organizations such as the Little Lighthouse Foundation before starting the Kids Kindness Project in early 2018.
About the Project
With a mission to “encourage children to spread kindness while helping and learning from each other,” the organization aims to spread the love via initiatives and events such as the first Kids Kindness Day on May 11. “A kind word, a kind thought or simply a smile can change someone’s entire day,” says van Gemerden. “Where there is kindness there is more love, happiness and joy. Kindness makes one feel good and helps others. Kindness is simply magical.”
A Unified Mission
van Gemerden says though the organization is relatively new, she’s eager to work with other groups to create opportunities for kids across South Florida. In addition to bringing in supporting families and ambassadors, such as TV star and Telemundo host Andrea Minski , she has partnered up with Fundimension owner Joyce Fohrman to host “Kids Play 4 Kids,” an event that welcomed more 200 children on April 13. The Project invited children from the Foundation 2 F.A.M.E. after school program, Genesis Hopeful Haven and Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School for unlimited play at Fundimension…and more. “There were balloon twisters, shows, face painters, a bouncy house, art and much more,” says van Gemerden. “It was an unforgettable afternoon filled with love and kindness where everything was possible. It was magical to see the joy and happiness on the children’s faces.”
Kids Kindness Day
Coming up, the Project is focused on their inaugural day of kindness on May 11. “It will be meaningful day where children get to think about kindness and how they can make a difference,” says van Gemerden. Participating schools and businesses will have the opportunity to create “Kindness Wall” where children can write messages of kindness to others. “It can be a thought or an act of kindness. Each Kindness Wall will represent a world filled with love, compassion and kindness,” she says.