SSUPERIOR – A family here surpassed their goal of raising $ 6,000 for gifts for foster children over the holiday season in less than two months.
Brian Splater estimated on Wednesday that Ambassadors of Kindness, the Superior-based nonprofit he founded with his family, has so far exceeded his annual Toys4FosterCare campaign target of more than $ 400.
These funds were used to purchase toys for Epworth Village in York and People’s City Mission in Lincoln, local children in Superior, as well as a possible third organization. Splash; her husband, Austin Karnatz; and their children Ellie, 9; and Jaxon, 8, are working on the project.
The funds raised to date translate into 910 donations. There were 960 items purchased; several small items are combined into one gift.
Ambassadors of Kindness is collecting donations for Christmas gifts until the end of October. The effort began on August 6.
“It’s wonderful, of course. It affects so many children, ”Splater said. “I never would have guessed. Honestly, I didn’t think we would have beaten last year’s $ 4,200 goal, but we did.
The total value of donated items in 2020 – cash plus gifts – was $ 4,459.82. The total value for 2019 was $ 3,207.56.
The family’s Victorian home at Superior is filled with piles of toys waiting to come out to welcome foster children.
It has been an overwhelming response, Splater said.
“I still can’t believe we are where we are in 22 months, especially for where we are located,” he said.
Despite his size, Superior has proven to be huge for ambassadors of kindness.
Ambassadors of Kindness also benefited from a presence on TikTok.
The family documents their daily life, including fundraising and gift-taking, through the life_of_two_dads account, which now has more than 16,000 subscribers around the world.
“I believe very much in the visibility of our family, just because we are the only ones here,” he said. “Everyone in town and in this neighborhood knows who we are, knows where we live. “
TikTok really took off for the family in June, when Jaxon decided to manage every block in Superior while holding a pride flag to show conscience and “support his two fathers.”
Splater said he wanted his family to be a role model for gay and trans youth who have struggled and been bullied.
“We can show the world and the communities that you can do it. You can be who you are and if you set your dream you will make it come true, ”he said.
Likewise, he hopes his family encourages acts of kindness among other things.
“I want our kids and what they’re doing to encourage others – even if it’s not getting involved with us, getting involved in their community, doing kindness, doing things for others and you will. reap the rewards like we did, “he said. “We have reaped so many awards doing this. It is not something that we have planned to do. It just happened. “
He is amazed by his children’s commitment to their goal of providing a gift to each of the nearly 7,000 foster children in Nebraska. They are already about a third of the way with 2,170 children affected, including the number expected this year.
“They are my heroes,” he said of Ellie and Jaxon.
Splater believes her children are so committed to helping foster children because of their own experiences going through the foster care system.
Another ongoing effort for the ambassadors of cuteness is the comfort bags.
The family have gym bags that they fill with age-appropriate supplies – from stuffed animals to deodorant, so foster kids don’t carry trash bags and grocery bags full of their belongings. personal.
Splater said his neighbors, Darrell and Nancy Brandt, made plushies for comfort bags.
Splater said that Nebraska foster children average six to 10 foster homes over their lifetimes.
“That’s a lot of homes,” he said.