Kids Helping Schools (“KHS”) is a youth-led, grassroots-funded organization with the primary goal of providing resources and necessary supplies to local area schools in underserved communities. As a byproduct of KHS’s primary mission, it also seeks to teach more fortunate children how fulfilling contributing their time can be.
As early as fifth grade, Kate Aschkenasy (who founded KHS) learned that many schools in the Philadelphia area had both willing students that were eager to learn and terrifically engaged teachers excited to create worthwhile programming; unfortunately, many of these schools had meager financial resources to support their educational needs beyond the basics. Kate immediately dreamed of a way to serve those students by sharing the resources that she saw available in her school and community. She built KHS with the goal of supplying teachers and schools with the supplies and funding that they need to fund specific programming otherwise not covered by the schools’ budget. In recent years, Charlie, our director, has expanded KHS to support entrepreneurship programs in local schools.
Kids Helping Schools was founded by Kate in 2009 while a fifth-grade student. As a young child, Kate was dedicated to helping others in an impactful way. Before founding Kids Helping Schools, Kate spent time trying to understand the differences and needs facing other students her age in the Philadelphia Public School System. Beginning as a first-grade student, Kate asked that her friends and family donate school supplies and bring them to her to give to area schools. Every year on Kate’s birthday, she would ask for school supplies instead of presents. And every year she would take the school supplies to a different school, spending the day with the students of the same age and seeing first hand the differences in their environment, their schools, their classroom size and their advantages and disadvantages. As she grew older, she spent time with the younger students, tutoring them or just reading them stories a few times a month. What seemed like a small and natural gesture at the time was the genesis of something much larger for her. Over time, when she brought the supplies to the schools and met the students that needed them, she began to understand the meaningful impact that these donations had on their lives and their educational experience. Kate decided that there was much more to be done, and Kids Helping Schools was born.
Kids Helping Schools (a 501(c)3 organization) yielded from Kate’s realization that if she could have this impact annually after she collected supplies for her birthday, then she could have a much bigger impact if she carried the mission through the entire year. She knew she could mobilize her community (friends, classmates and family) to make a positive difference. She created KHS as a way to allow them to help in a natural and positive way. It provided opportunities for them to help collect or directly donate funds and supplies, visit schools to distribute them or just join in her various interactions with younger students. By giving to KHS, people entrusted Kate to find the best use of those supplies and money and to fund the most promising and impactful educational programs she could find. Kate’s goal in founding KHS was both to have a direct impact on schools in her larger community as well as teach more fortunate children the joy of touching a child’s life.
Some of the Schools/Programs We’ve Helped
- Global Leadership Academy
- John L. Kinsey School
- Spring Garden School
- West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School (WPACES)
- Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush
- Mastery Charter School
- Frankford High School School
- Saint Matthew School
- Paperclips Project/Whitwell Middle School