Remembering Our Why

The 2022 National Conference Reenergizes Our Community

Remembering Our Why

Remembering Our Why

The 2022 National Conference Reenergizes Our Community

Together, again, at last.

At Kids’ Chance, our mission is simple: we provide scholarships to children of workers who have been seriously or fatally injured on the job. It’s a mission that we cannot fulfill without the support of a powerful community.

For the first time since 2019, the Kids’ Chance of America community was in-person together at the 2022 National Conference. Hosted by Kids’ Chance of North Carolina (KCNC) in Charlotte, more than 130 of our dedicated community members, supporters, and volunteers representing 40 states were present and engaged.

Attendees listened to an impressive line-up of keynote speakers. They heard from students impacted first-hand by our scholarships and they participated in workshops to help them continue reaching our mission—all while meeting and reconnecting with other passionate Kids’ Chance stewards.

“This community has been working hard for decades, but they’ve really been challenged over the last couple of years during the pandemic,” Barbara Milligan, Kids’ Chance of America Community Engagement Director, noted. “It was heart-warming to see the energy and ideas being shared as we came back together, and wonderful to be able to celebrate the impact of everyone’s efforts.”

Several students were there to share their stories.  Kids’ Chance of New York’s alumni, Samantha Ward, participated in the conference as a presenter. Now a licensed social worker, Samantha received support from KCNY through both undergraduate and graduate school programs. Two KCNC scholarship students, Hezekiah Hardee and Brooke Yingling, spoke of their families’ experiences and the impact that Kids’ Chance scholarships have had on their lives. Hezekiah and Brooke’s parents also chimed in, with their emotional accounts of what Kids’ Chance has meant to them. “It’s so much more than just a scholarship,” said Mrs. Hardee.

The theme of reinspiring our community toward our goal was on full display during the “Remembering Your Why” panel session. The panel included three members of the Kids’ Chance community—Jim Hudak, Operating Partner, RiverGlade Capital Management, and former President & CEO of Paradigm; Suzanne Emmet, Senior Vice President of Claims at Eastern Alliance Insurance Group; and Vicki Burkhart, Executive Director of Kids’ Chance of America —who reflected back on why they first became involved with Kids’ Chance and how their personal connection impacts their work.

“This was a wonderful conference for our community and being a part of this panel was a reinvigorating experience,” Suzanne shared. “Remembering why we came to be involved with Kids’ Chance helps us all stay motivated to reach our goals, especially when challenges arise.”

Other sessions included how Covid has impacted scholarship organizations, fundraising tips and tricks, a deep dive into how trauma affects our students, understanding generations of volunteers, finding kids who need our scholarships, storytelling to improve marketing, building an engaged board of directors, and so much more.

Along with these sessions, our community also welcomed a new KCOA President, Dana Genheimer, and recognized the Robert M. Clyatt Award winner, Bill Donnell, president and chief executive officer of NCCI (National Council on Compensation Insurance) and founding board member of Kids’ Chance of Florida (KCFL).

KCOA Executive Director Vicki Burkhart shared that the 2022 National Conference far exceeded her expectations. “After two virtual conferences, it was great to be able to celebrate with all of our Kids’ Chance friends together here in Charlotte,” she said. “I could not be more impressed with and moved by the work happening at both the national and state levels to help support these kids and their families. Everyone should be very proud of their accomplishments on behalf of Kids’ Chance.

Thank you to our conference sponsors, volunteers, and everyone in the Kids’ Chance community for making this year’s National Conference so successful. Materials and individual presentations from the conference are available for download on session pages on the conference website.

In 2023, the National Conference will be hosted by Kids’ Chance of Indiana (KCIN) and held in Indianapolis on May 4, 5 and 6—see you there!