Jessica Novak founded the organization Kids for Kids as the result of an 8th grade history project. Her assignment was to identify a charity and assist it in some way. Little did she realize that this undertaking would touch thousands of lives half-way around the world.
Kids for Kids seeks to assist the thousands of children who were orphaned by the recent Rwandan warfare between the Hutus and the Tutsis. In many homes, the oldest family member is no more than twelve years old. A friend of Jessica's mother in Rwanda had said that what the kids there really needed were goats. "She said that goats were a form of wealth for them, and she suggested that maybe I could send them goats, and that I could start the charity myself."
And that's just what Jessica did. In fact, Jessica's own family raised goats on their farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. Goats multiply rapidly, and are a source of milk, cheese, and fertilizer to Rwandans. Along with her mother, Jessica began raising money at her school and around town by selling Christmas cards, Christmas ornaments, and goat-shaped cookie-cutters. Each 25 dollars raised provided a goat for a Rwandan orphan. In Nyamugame in Gikongoro, Rwanda's poorest prefecture, Kids for Kids provided goats for each of the 100 children running a household.
In its short three-year history, Kids for Kids has raised nearly $40,000 to bring relief to the orphans of Rwanda. All the oney raised goes towards purchasing goats in Rwanda, where volunteers there help teach the children how to raise and care for the animals.
We are greatly pleased to welcome Jessica Novak to Akron to receive the National Gallery Young Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by The Winners' League Foundation.