Teaching children to give back to their community is something that parents strive for. Often that spirit of giving isn’t realized until a child becomes an adult themselves. But 12-year-old Riley Deitloff comes by it naturally. Her grandmother had a career as a social worker, and her mother a guild member for the Child Saving Institute (CSI), which offers foster care and support programs for children and families in need. So when Riley wanted to come up with a way to help kids in need, it wasn’t a surprise. But what resulted has been—a youth led group called Kids4Kids, which raises money annually for the CSI.
Edge: How did you turn this idea into a reality?
Riley: After talking to my mom (Jenny) about the idea, she talked to the CSI guild about it, and they liked the idea too.
Edge: How did you find other kids who wanted to participate?
Riley: Some of the members also have parents on the guild, and we asked them to see if any of their friends wanted to be involved. This is our third year, and we have about 13 kids helping plan the event.
Edge: What type of event do you hold?
Riley: The first year we did an outdoor movie at Sumpter Amphitheater in Papillion. We didn’t charge admission, but asked for donations. And Sumpter donated all their tips from concessions.
Edge: How much did you raise?
Riley: We raised $2500, so we decided to do it again. We raised $2500 last year too.
Edge: That’s impressive! What are your plans this year?
Riley: Kids4kids is holding a dodge ball tournament at Aspen Creek Middle School! We encourage everyone from kindergarten to high schoolers. Teachers and adults are welcome to play too. The event will be on June 16th from 11:00-2:00. There will be concessions and prizes for the winning teams.
Edge: That sounds like a big event to organize. How did the committee come up with the idea?
Riley: We all submitted ideas like a trivia night, magic show, and mud run, then we voted. Next we divided up the jobs. I’m in charge of financing, my younger brother wants to do advertising, and other people want to be in charge of concessions. We’ll ask a business to donate the food, and we’ll ask other businesses for donations as well.
Edge: Is it hard asking companies for donations?
Riley: It was weird the first year, but now it’s easier. I think everyone we asked last year said yes!
Edge: What’s your goal for this year’s event?
Riley: To double the amount of money we’ve raised in the past, have more sponsors, and get as many people as we can to participate in the tournament.
Edge: Are adults involved in your event planning?
Riley: My mom comes to all of our meetings, and sometimes if we get stuck on something she’ll ask us questions to get us going again. But we usually have it under control and takes notes so we have everything written down.
Jenny: It’s so inspiring to watch this group of growing future philanthropists and community leaders. I have to remind myself not to jump in and make their decisions, but simply guide them if needed. It’s a good learning experience for both of us.
Edge: What do you enjoy most about running Kids4Kids?
Riley: That we’re raising awareness for CSI and helping other kids. All the money we raise goes toward kids who don’t have basic needs like we do—jackets, toys, and all the things we don’t even have to think about. I want to keep raising awareness and do this as long as I can.