The impact to a family when a loved one sustains a catastrophic injury is life changing, not just for the patient, but the entire family. When I learned about Kids’ Chance of America my heart was warmed to know there was a charity focused on educational scholarships for children of an injured worker that was catastrophically injured or killed while working. Over 20 years of my career has focused on healthcare for injured workers and Kids’ Chance of America is a way for me to give back to the industry. Sedgwick colleagues from around the country support Kids’ Chance state chapters through participating with board seats, volunteer and fund raising projects, and financial donations. We are pleased to provide and opportunity for Kids Chance to be our guest blogger this week. Kimberly George, Senior Vice President, Senior Healthcare Advisor.
When a parent is injured or killed as a result of a workplace injury, the emotional and financial impact on his or her family can be long-term and overwhelming. The surviving parent often struggles to pay for just the necessities, such as food, clothing, and a home. Providing a college education for his or her children can suddenly be out of reach.
Kids’ Chance of America was founded to ease the burden of parents who face loss of income due to death or disability as a result of a workplace injury. The organization’s mission is to create, assist, and support state Kids’ Chance organizations and other similar programs nationwide that provide educational opportunities and scholarships for the children of workers who are seriously injured or killed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately four million workplace accidents result in one million disabling injuries and 5,000 deaths each year across the nation. In addition to the overwhelming grief and loss, families affected by workplace injuries often face a major decrease in standard of living. Often, these families must face the loss of a car and be forced to move into an apartment or smaller home. For children of these families, a college education is often no longer possible.
Hope for the future
In 1988, Robert Clyatt, a workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia, founded the first Kids’ Chance organization. Greatly affected by his work with surviving spouses and children, Clyatt realized that the children of injured or deceased parents had no hope of paying for the burgeoning cost of college.
From that beginning in Georgia, 25 Kids’ Chance state organizations were founded throughout the country. These statewide organizations operate independently, with each group raising funds for scholarships and evaluating applications to determine recipients. Since 1988, the Kids’ Chance state organizations collectively have awarded close to $10 million in scholarship funds to more than 3,000 recipients.
Kids’ Chance of America was founded in 2007 to unify the work of the state organizations, avoid duplication of efforts, develop more effective methods for fundraising and communication, and raise national awareness of the organization’s work and impact.
Supporting their dreams
For scholarship recipients and their families, Kids’ Chance can open the doors to a college education and greater employment opportunities.
“Kids’ Chance was the biggest savior I could ask for,” said Kaitlyn, a scholarship recipient of Kids’ Chance of Maryland. “It took away so much of the stress at a time when we needed it most.” Kaitlyn, a 2011 graduate of Towson University, now teaches fifth grade reading and social studies.
Matthew, a scholarship recipient from Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania, was able to attend Bloomsburg University, where he studied exercise science and participated in track and field.
“I can certainly appreciate that there are many people within your organization that work hard to make these scholarships possible,” said his mother Barbara. “I would personally like to thank all the volunteers, donors, and sponsors that work effortlessly so that students like my son, Matthew, are afforded opportunities they would not otherwise have.”
Join the cause
You can help make a difference by supporting the work of Kids’ Chance, both nationally and through state organizations:
- Make a financial contribution to Kids’ Chance of America.
- Encourage your company or employer to become a Kids’ Chance of America partner.
- Help raise funds for the Kid’ Chance organization in your area. See a list of Kids’ Chance organizations here:
- Serve as a board member or volunteer with your local Kids’ Chance organization.
- Help raise awareness among those in need of scholarships by providing information to your local school guidance counselors, colleges and universities, case managers, and other professionals who work with these families and children.
For more information about Kids’ Chance of America, visit www.kidschance.org. For program news and updates, you can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kidschance or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KidsChanceInc.
Suzanne M. Emmet, CPCU, CCEP, ARe Senior Vice President Claims & Corporate Compliance, Eastern Insurance Holdings President, Kids' Chance of America