Most Valuable Kids
Most Valuable Kids
by Jennifer LB Leese
We all have a child that we'd consider as the world's most valuable kid, right? I have three of them. Many of us know how live sports and entertainment events provide a positive source of inspiration for not only adults, but also for children in a world where there are so many negative alternatives.
Most Valuable Kids, Inc. (MVK), a non profit organization that serves as a vehicle to distribute unused sports and cultural tickets to physically challenged and underprivileged children in the Washington, DC/Baltimore Metropolitan areas, gives them inspiration, at no cost, to underserved children. The organization is able to do this by offering children's organizations access to professional and collegiate sports and entertainment events through an online ticket donation and reward system. MVK's operation deals with providing an unparalleled reward system for children and children's organizations that show exemplary behavior, spirit, and community service. "In offering children the opportunity to come face to face with athletic and entertainment role models, MVK's program fosters the development of self-esteem and a deeper understanding of the benefits of hard work and perseverance during adolescent and teenage years." The ticket donor not only receives the pride of giving to their community and adding a smile to a child's face, they also get a tax deduction for their donations.
"Beth and Daryle Bobb founded Most Valuable Kids, Inc., in the summer of 2001. The idea for the organization came from a childhood experience in the early 80s. Bobb and his father attended a Redskins game and his father had an extra, unused ticket. Rather than selling that ticket, he gave it to a young bystander. Bobb never forgot the boy's excitement during the game. It was a moment that would ultimately shape the direction of Most Valuable Kids," reveals Jamie Perry, director of Most Valuable Kids, Inc.
"MVK overcomes the financial obstacles associated with live events by distributing unused tickets to children that would enjoy the opportunity to go to an event, but would otherwise not be able to because of the high costs associated with tickets. These tickets are distributed to boys and girls, 18 and under, through the numerous organizations that focus on children in low-income and underserved households," says Daryle Bobb, president and co-founder of Most Valuable Kids, Inc.
MVK enjoys watching the many smiles on children's faces while they watch their heroes score the final touchdown, slide into home base, or sing the impressive finale. They are an inexpensive organization that is having a HUGE impact on kids. There are no losers in the program and they give kids the opportunity to strive for "loftier goals".
"We give them [the children] an opportunity they otherwise would never have had. Through these events, we have changed many lives as these kids perspectives have changed after attending one of the events," reveals Bobb.
Jamie Perry shares one inspirational story. "Five years ago, a 12-year-old boy was enrolled into the Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health System, a non-profit organization providing mental health services for adolescents. He was unmotivated and showed little interest in participating in activities or interacting with his peers. His grades in school were slipping and his negative attitude caused him to shut down. The staff at Potomac Ridge had nearly exhausted their abilities to help the child.
"On October 4, 2003, Most Valuable Kids (MVK) received a set of tickets for the University of Maryland football game and passed them onto Potomac Ridge. The staff decided to give the tickets to the troubled boy as a last resort.
"Captivated by the sights, sounds and experiences of his first high-level sporting event, the young man decided that he, too, wanted to play college football. From that point on, his grades improved at a rapid pace, he began regular workouts to get in shape, and in the fall of 2004 he tried out for his high school's football team-the first group activity in which he has ever become involved.
"With his program's completion just around the corner, as a reward for his successful transformation, MVK and Potomac Ridge surprised him with four tickets to last month's Redskins-Ravens game. This incredible story is just one of many emerging from recipient agencies that benefit from Most Valuable Kids' ticket donation program."
One child has this to say, "I enjoyed myself greatly at the game I've never been to a college football game before so I learned a lot about the positions I play so when I get in college I can remember that game. I'm in my last year of school and I plan on going to college to play football and that experience helped motivate me more to work hard so I'll be able to accomplish that goal. So I'll say in the year 2005 or 2006 I will be there on the field instead of in the stands."
Since the beginning, MVK has presented more than $146,000 worth of tickets to charities throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Some of the charities that have benefited from the donations include, Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health, Hearts and Homes for Youth, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, For the Love of Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fair Chance DC, and a host of other organizations that serve our youth.
Family and Child Services of DC have received over 300 tickets from MVK in 2004. Most Valuable Kids "has some great benefits to our clients. It gives social workers a chance to do something special for a child, particularly one who is having adjustment problems. It shows clients that the community cares about them. It gives them cultural experiences. We have sent our teen foster moms to sporting events together which has boosted their camaraderie. It has also given, especially birth parents and adoptive parents (who receive no subsidies) a chance to do something "fun" with their children. These activities broaden the children's horizons and let them see there is more to the world than just their neighborhood," says Regina Schewe of Family and Child Services, an organization that has helped two families in the Frederick area.
Most Valuable Kids strives to motivate youth in the area to achieve their best and learn that their goals are within reach. As they continue their mission, MVK hopes to hear many more stories of how their actions are impacting young lives. For more information about Most Valuable Kids, please visit www.mostvaluablekids.org.
Contact the Hagerstown-area Adult & Child Services at http://www.dhr.state.md.us/washington.htm or by calling (240) 420-2100 to find out more about their services and ways you can help.