Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Kids Company

I felt incredibly proud and excited when a publication came through the door the other day with my name printed inside. For once it wasn't something I'd written, but the newsletter for the Kids Company. Can't tell you how happy I was to see my name on the list for major donors. I might whinge about it sometimes, but I know how lucky I am to be writing and when I got the first cheque for my advance for Tell Me Everything, I knew I wanted the Kids Company to benefit from my publication. This wasn't just because of the subject matter of my book, but also because the charity is about something I really believe in - using creativity and fun, whether it be writing, arts, theatre, to help vulnerable people find a different route through life.

I heard about the Kids Company first when the founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, was interviewed on the radio about the constant struggle to get funding and I couldn't help wondering what it must be like, day in, day out, persuading people to give money for something she could see was working so well. This is a quote taken from the newsletter from one of the kids involved in the recent 'Demons and Angels' exhibition:
'That night was special but also a bit sad once the night was over. Something really special happened in creating the exhibition, people worked together and work was created that was honest and painful. It was an absolute privilege to be part of this. I really think that something has shifted in me by having my piece in the show, perhaps a part of my childhood has been laid to rest.'
And yet, probably the day after that first night Dawn talks about above, the team who organised the exhibition were back in their offices begging for more money just to keep afloat.

But this post is sounding like a charity broadcast and it's not meant to be. It's also not about how wonderful I am for giving money - the opposite in fact, being part of the Kids Company is a real privilege for me. And I like the humour of it. The first line of Camila's letter reads:
'I am reporting that my ballet lessons are going very badly. I haven't managed to get into a tutu but the Kids Company is thriving.'

"We aim to return to children their childhood." This is the main aim of the Kids Company - how could I not feel lucky to be a small part of that?

1 comment:

Shameless said...

Hey there,
There's a new writing project up at The Shameless Lions Writing Circle site. Please check it out and I hope you can take part and promote it. Also, check out the "latest news" section.