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Kids Can Fly Brantford

Kids Can Fly promotes early childhood development in Brantford/Brant

The Donn Zver Christmas Pottery Ornament Campaign

When Donn Zver first offered to help raise funds for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Brantford and Brant County, the Kids Can Fly team was delighted but had no idea how it would turn out.

How does pottery and early literacy mix?

Well, we found out that small pottery items are greatly appreciated by many people, and soon enough, the Donn Zver Pottery Christmas ornament campaign began.

Last year, our volunteers worked alongside Donn and his team and made over 800 ornaments, and managed to sell enough to raise $8,000! This has been a consistent number for a few years.

But in 2023, we started EARLY and were able to make close to a THOUSAND beautiful star ornaments at Donn’s studio.

“They’re basically free to fire in the kiln,” explained Donn. “We can just put the ornaments between other, larger pieces of pottery when we’re firing.”

We are VERY excited to share that our 2023 campaign raised EXACTLY $8,680! This means that our community purchased more than 800 ornaments from our volunteers, board, and much-appreciated storefront locations:

Sweet Bakery
Our Kitchen
Finders Keepers
Ruffin’s Pet Centre
St. George Family Eyecare
Family Dentistry – West Brant

Now, we are overjoyed to announce that this partnership has fundraised over $55,000 since we started!

The Kids Can Fly team is incredibly thankful to Donn Zver for dreaming up this fantastic fundraiser. To date, we estimate that Donn has helped to send out almost 15,000 books to local children.

One more time: 15,000 books purchased and shipped to local children.

Donn, people like you make this world a much more beautiful place. From all of us, thank you!

Folks, if you want to support an incredibly community-minded expert potter, please check out Donn Zver’s pottery studio or his School of Pottery at 2290 Hwy 5 W, Troy, Ontario.

www.donnzver.com

www.donnzverschoolofpottery.com

Storybook Breakfast 2024 was one for the books!

We are so excited to share our 17th annual Storybook Breakfast celebration!

On Feb 3, 2024, we were thrilled to welcome 500 guests to TownePlace Suites for a morning of magic and wonder. Children were delighted with seeing their favourite storybook characters come to life and with over 100 volunteers aged 5 to 93, the event was bound to be a success!

Guests were greeted by Kids Can Fly volunteers and seated at one of our storybook themed tables such as Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. A hot pancake breakfast with all the fixings, was enjoyed by all, followed by visits with some of our favourite enchanted storybook characters including Snow White, Ariel, the Paw Patrol cast, Bluey, Dr. Suess characters and many more! Children were amazed as they had an opportunity to collect autographs, and all the children went home with their very own book to keep!

“My favourite part was meeting all the princesses… well all of the characters really! That’s always my favourite part” says Hadley, aged 6. Hadley and her mom, Kaela, both dressed up as princesses and managed to get photos and autographs from all of the characters! “It feels great to attend an event that my daughter loves while helping support such a great cause,” says Kaela. “We will continue to attend for as long as it brings a spark of magic to our daughter’s eyes.”

We at Kids Can Fly are so grateful to our sponsors for going above and beyond to help us raise $32,000 this year! We can’t say enough good things about our Glass Slipper Sponsors: Paul and Margot Williamson and The James F. Boughner Foundation. This event truly is a success thanks to the support and generosity of our community!

Enchanted Castle Sponsors
Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers
Sylvan Learning
Terrace Hill Medical
Adkins Financial Services

Magic Wand Sponsors
REMM Group
Waterous Holden Amey Hitchon LLP

Magic Mirror Sponsors
Dairee Delight
TD Bank

Enchanted Sword Sponsors
Calbeck’s
Brantford Honda
Sam’s Place Farmer’s Market
Smitiuch Injury Law
Conestoga College

Our Storybook Breakfast is our largest fundraiser with over 50 characters in elaborate costumes and a sold-out crowd of 500 guests! All of the money raised goes right back into Kids Can Fly programs and services that help so many throughout the year.

We are thrilled to be able to put together this magical event year after year. It’s not only a fundraiser for Kids Can Fly, but also an occasion that truly touches the hearts and minds of so many children year after year.

Thanks to everyone for making our 2024 Storybook Breakfast such a great success!

Storybook Breakfast 2024: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Storybook Breakfast?

Storybook Breakfast is a magical event that takes place every year. At Storybook Breakfast, children and their families will have the opportunity to meet storybook characters in real life. Each child is given an autograph book to get signed by all of the storybook characters. They can take photos with the characters, and give them hugs or high fives.

The event takes place around a breakfast buffet. Each child will end their visit by receiving a storybook from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

To make this event even more meaningful, it serves as a fundraiser for Kids Can Fly’s many programs. These programs are all about early child development and parenting support. In 2023, we raised over $28,000 for Kids Can Fly.

On February 3rd, 2024, join us at Storybook Breakfast for a wonderful time, great food, and a chance to make heart-warming memories.

Where do I get tickets?

While tickets last, they are available for online purchase HERE.

I want to go as a group. How do I do that?

The simplest option is to buy your tickets in bulk in one group registration. This ensures that your group will stay together. Tables seat 8 people, but a 9th can be squished in when necessary.

If you cannot purchase your tickets as a group, you may request that your group gets seated with another group, but this must be done as early as possible. Not all seating requests can be granted. However, you are free to mingle with your friends and family throughout the event. Only the eating portion takes place at the tables.

I want to bring my baby. Do I have to pay for them?

If your baby or other child under two years old will be sitting on your lap the whole time, you do not need to purchase a ticket for them. However, all children ages two and over, as well as all infants or babies who will need their own chair must have a children’s ticket.

What to expect at Storybook Breakfast

Storybook Breakfast is a wonderful event geared toward children ages 2 – 8 years old and their families.

This event is typically sold out each year. As such, all guests must have tickets to attend. The first step that guests take is to buy their tickets. These can be printed or shown on a device.

Our registration team will greet guests as they arrive. Information about dietary restrictions is given out at this time. Please note that, due to space constraints, no strollers or wagons are permitted in the building.

Once checked in, guests will be ushered to their seats by characters in costume. Seats will be at a beautifully decorated table with a storybook theme. Seating requests can be taken in advance, but not at the door, as every seat will be filled and these are all planned out in advance.

Once seated, guests can choose to relax and look around, colour using the placemats, or get up and join the buffet line. Volunteers will help to serve food, and some volunteers will also be available to help to carry plates and beverages back to tables.

This is a free-flowing event, so announcements are kept to a minimum. There will be music playing, and storybook characters will be mingling with guests and signing the children’s autograph books, which they will have received at check-in.

There will be a photo station at which children can receive a photo printed on site with a character such as Olaf or Peppa Pig. These characters rotate occasionally as they need breaks. Each child will be given one photo.

This year, the breakfast will last for 1.5 hours, which is 30 minutes longer than in previous years. This is to give everyone more time with characters and to eat.

Once it’s time to go, the characters will all say goodbye and exit the room. At this time, the event is officially over.

On their way out, children will receive a bag that includes a storybook, and sometimes other swag items from our event sponsors.

What’s new in 2024?

Guests shared their thoughts, and the Storybook Breakfast team heard them!

In 2024, we have moved to a larger location: the TownePlace Suites at 30 Fen Ridge Court. This larger facility will allow us to have a spacious environment to enjoy this event.

Also, we are extending each sitting by 30 minutes, to make for a 90 minute breakfast for each seating. As such, the morning seating is moving to 8:30 AM from 9:00 AM in previous years.

We will also be providing children with photo tickets to reduce congestion at the photo booths.

Another adaption is that our volunteers will do their best to carpool and/or park offsite to ensure that we have enough parking spots for everyone! However, we still encourage carpooling just in case.

We are looking forward to an excellent event in 2024!

Is Storybook Breakfast a Fundraiser?

Yes! Storybook Breakfast is about two main things: creating a magical experience for children, and serving as Kids Can Fly’s largest Fundraiser of the year! In 2023, Storybook Breakfast raised just over $28,000 for Kids Can Fly’s programs, which are focussed on early child development and parenting supports.

You are always welcome to donate to Kids Can Fly by clicking HERE.

We are also always looking for new event sponsors! To check out our fantastic sponsorship program, click HERE.

Can me or my teen volunteer at Storybook Breakfast?

Absolutely! Storybook Breakfast wouldn’t be possible without the support of close to 150 volunteer roles. Volunteer roles include helping with registration, serving food, decorating, and dressing up as characters! The character role is especially suited to teens looking for volunteer opportunities.

To sign up to volunteer, click HERE.

Can we take the centrepieces home?

No! The centrepieces are the property of either Kids Can Fly or the wonderful volunteers who help to run this event. They are meant to be enjoyed during the event, but kept on the tables once the event ends. All children will receive a bag with a storybook in it on their way out, so please enjoy that instead.

Kids Can Fly Celebrates Sending 250,000 Books to Local Children

Kids Can Fly has sent out a quarter of a million books to children in Brantford and the County of Brant since 2010. Each of those 250,000 books were gifted to children free of charge and sent in the mail.

The program is called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and Kids Can Fly runs the local chapter in Brantford and the County of Brant. The Imagination Library was created by Dolly Parton in 1995. The program came to Canada in 2006.

The milestone was celebrated at Kidtastic Adventures in Brantford on Friday, January 5th. Guests learned about what it took to reach 250,000 books, and enjoyed some cake and balloons. $5 from every entrance fee was donated by Kidtastic to the Imagination Library.

“It is incredible that Kids Can Fly has sent out this many books,” shared Mayor David Bailey. “The County is very glad to have an organization like this doing such important work.”

Councillor Richard Carpenter, who was acting mayor on the day of the event, also shared encouraging words as well as gratitude for the investment in the community.

“The Rotary Club of Brantford approached Kids Can Fly in 2009 and suggested that Kids Can Fly partner with the Imagination Library,” says Becca McLellan, executive director at Kids Can Fly. “After evaluating the viability of the program, the board at the time realized it was an amazing fit and enthusiastically signed on.”

Currently, over 30% of children under 5 in Brantford and the County of Brant are enrolled in the program. Children remain enrolled in the program until their fifth birthday, at which time they receive their final book. Nearly 3,000 children are currently enrolled.

“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been highly impactful in improving children’s literacy skills and enhancing parents’ understanding of its importance. Based on our 2023 Impact Survey, more than two thirds report that Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has had a high impact on their child’s literacy,” says Kathy Kemp, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Coordinator in Brantford and the County of Brant. “We were pleased to see that the remaining one third of parents also indicated that the program has had at least some impact on their child’s literacy development.”

“Both my girls get so excited! They honestly look forward to seeing what book arrives when they see it poking out of the mailbox. My oldest just turned 5, and we explained that she will no longer receive books, but she now has her own library.” —an Imagination Library parent in Brantford/Brant

Children who are enrolled at birth can receive a maximum of 60 books through the program.

The program costs roughly $125,000 per year based on current enrollment. Funding comes almost exclusively from local businesses and individuals, who support the program because they believe in its impacts on early literacy. To date, over $800,000 locally has gone into the program to bring books to young children.

SC Johnson is one of the most prominent funders, having supported the program generously over the last number of years. Donn Zver Pottery is another avid supporter, helping to raise close to $10,000 per year through its popular Christmas ornament sales.

Some funding support has also come from the municipalities through grant programs as well as through the Mayor’s Gala in 2022, which raised $47,000 for the Imagination Library.

In 2023, donations declined significantly, largely due to financial struggles of local businesses and households. As such, enrolment has declined from well over 3,200 children at its peak to closer to 2,800 in December 2023.

“We have unfortunately had to start a wait list for the program,” explained Kathy Kemp. “We had to slow down enrollments to make sure we could sustain the enrollments we currently have.”

The wait list peaked at 65 children in the fall of 2023. Kids Can Fly is working to raise $16,000 to clear the wait list and fully fund each child for the duration of their times on the program.

Financial supporters are encouraged to visit the Kids Can Fly website to donate to the program or to contact Kathy Kemp or Becca McLellan.

“Despite this temporary slow-down in program funding, we will continue to promote everything that this program has to offer the community. We would love to one day reach 60% of eligible children in the region,” says McLellan.

“Kids Can Fly plans to continue the Imagination Library indefinitely,” said McLellan at the celebration gathering. “We believe in this program and will do what it takes to see it continue for many more generations of young children in this community.”

Seeking Communications Coordinator

Launch_Pad_Brantford

Job Description:

The Communications Coordinator position with Kids Can Fly supports the ongoing communications needs of the organization through public communications, social media, email blasts, and other digital materials. The Communications Coordinator reports to the Executive Director, and will work in tandem with Kids Can Fly volunteers and board members.

Please note our application deadline of Monday, January 22nd at 12:00 PM (noon).

Responsibilities:

  • This candidate will work closely with the Executive Director to further the work of Kids Can Fly through communication with the community in a variety of ways, as well as providing support for fundraising and outreach. The position also includes social media post creation and monitoring, graphic design, email blasts, and a variety of general communications-based tasks. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Managing and creating posts for social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • Providing communications support for fundraisers and outreach events
  • Creating compelling graphics for various purposes including fundraising, events, and programs
  • Completing graphic design for various promotional materials
  • Completing other communications duties as required

Candidate Skills & Assets:

  • Ability to work both independently and cooperatively as part of a bigger team
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Experience managing business, charity, or cause social media accounts
  • Strong writing ability, including spelling and grammar
  • Ability to quickly and efficiently learn and utilize various software programs
  • Experience with Meta Business Suite, Canva, and group mailing software preferred
  • Strong communication skills
  • Candidates local to Brantford or Brant County preferred

Details:

  • Number of hours: 2-5 hours per week
  • Rate of pay: $20/hour
  • Location of work: 80% remote; 20% in-person meetings, plus some mandatory event attendance throughout the year
  • Timing of work: Weekday availability required. Short increments of time throughout the week are required for this role to maintain prompt communication

To apply:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter outlining their qualifications and experience. Samples of social media posts or graphic design projects are strongly encouraged.

Application Deadline: Monday, January 22, 2024 at 12:00 PM

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED. Thank you to all who applied!

Storybook Breakfast 2024

Mark your calendars — Storybook Breakfast 2024 is fast approaching!

On February 3rd, 2024, join us at Storybook Breakfast for a wonderful time, great food, and a chance to make heart-warming memories.

Storybook Breakfast is a magical event geared toward children ages 2-8 years old and their families. Guests have the opportunity to meet storybook characters in real life, take photos with the characters, and give them hugs or high fives. Each child is given an autograph book to get signed by all of the storybook characters.

The event takes place around a breakfast buffet. Each child will end their visit by receiving a storybook from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This year, the breakfast will last for 1.5 hours, which is 30 minutes longer than in previous years. This is to give everyone more time with characters and to eat.

To make this event even more meaningful, it serves as Kids Can Fly’s largest fundraiser of the year. In 2023, Storybook Breakfast raised just over $28,000 for Kids Can Fly’s programs, which are focussed on early child development and parenting supports.

Tickets for this year’s event will go on sale at or around January 1, 2024. Stay tuned to our social media, email newsletter, or website for ticket sales updates.

Want to get involved?

Storybook Breakfast wouldn’t be possible without the support of close to 150 volunteer roles. Volunteer roles include helping with registration, serving food, decorating, and dressing up as characters! The character role is especially suited to teens looking for volunteer opportunities. To sign up to volunteer, click HERE.

We are also always looking for new event sponsors! To check out our fantastic sponsorship program, click HERE.

You are also always welcome to donate to Kids Can Fly by clicking HERE.

Storybook Breakfast 2024 is generously sponsored by Dairee Delite