Acts of Simple Kindness (ASK) is a nonprofit organization that gives grants to parents who have lost their spouse, and have children under 18 years old. Located in Arizona, ASK was founded in 2009 and serves families nationally.
A nonprofit organization often rises up out of the pain and suffering of its founder – a person who can reach down deep, looking beyond their own pain, to find a mission to help alleviate the pain of others suffering the same circumstances.
Such was the case with Karen Turner, founder and Executive Director of ASK. ‘ASK’ is also an acronym for Allen, her son, Steve, his father, and Karen.
Steve died suddenly, leaving Karen to raise their 4 ½ year old son, Allen, by herself.
When I was widowed at 38 years old, I had no idea how I was going to move forward on my own, let alone how I was going to make my son whole again. When I told him his Dad died, I felt like I broke his heart, and I wondered if he'd ever be okay again” says Karen.
Shortly before Steve died, we talked about enrolling Allen in T-Ball. My husband was a diehard baseball fan and had played Little League growing up and he couldn't wait to coach his son in all things involving a bat and ball. When he died, as much as I wanted to curl up in the fetal position, I knew I couldn't and I moved forward and enrolled him in T-Ball. I wore my darkest sunglasses and quietly cried through every practice and every game -- but we did it. And on that T-Ball field, he wasn't the little boy who lost his Dad. He was the boy trying to hit the ball and looking like a gigantic lollipop running around the bases with that huge helmet on! It brought him such joy, even after losing his Dad just 6 weeks before. We continued on with soccer, flag football, basketball. With each sport and each accomplishment, he started to become whole again.
Karen saw her young son blossom into a healthy happy little boy.
And that's when I started to think about forming ASK. Every child deserves a chance to just be a kid -- whether it's thru ballet or football or piano lessons.
Karen stated that while these may seem like “little things” they’re things that can make a big difference in the life of a grieving child:
It could be something as simple as piano lessons -- perhaps mom has passed away, and she was the piano player in the family -- and it's the one connection Susie has to her mom. It's not just piano lessons -- it's a link to her mother, something she can have to be 'just like mom.'
ASK offers grants for four main areas to benefit children under 18 who have lost a parent:
- Education – driver’s education classes, tutoring assistance, SAT preparation
- Sports – registration fees, new uniform
- Music – instrumental rental, music lessons
- Arts – ballet lessons, watercolor class
Karen states any request falling into these categories will be considered.
If you are a widow or widower with children under 18, or would like to make a donation to continue their work, please contact ASK at Karen@actsofsimplekindness.org or visit here to download a grant application.
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