Lana Hiskey, Public Information Officer

Kids Cause was organized for the purpose of providing clothing, medical treatment, vision care, dental care, school supplies and other items that will contribute to the well-being of public school students who are not served by any other community, state, or national agencies.

Approximately 16 years ago Bonneville UniServ met with Bill Hulterstrom, President & CEO of United Way, to find a format to address the needs of students. Together they forged a plan to join forces and Kids Cause was born.

Today, Kids Cause has 67 pilot schools in Utah County; 17 schools in Nebo School District, 14 schools in Provo School District, and 36 schools in Alpine School District. With the support of United Way, all K-Marts in Utah County, and Target in American Fork have made clothing and school supplies available.

Kids Cause also partners with optometrists and dentists in the area to provide for visual and dental needs of students, which have been identified by their teachers. These services are donated at no cost to the families unless they can pay the $20 lens grinding fee. Each doctor agrees to see five children a year. Over the past 15 years, thousands of children have been served.

One specific activity that Kids Cause coordinates is the annual Shop With a Cop Event in December. Together with K-Mart in Spanish Fork and Utah County police officers, over 100 children are taken to breakfast at a local school, ride in a police car, shop with a police officer, visit with Santa, and choose gifts for their family members and themselves. Their gifts are then wrapped and tagged and sent home to put under the Christmas tree.

Kids Cause relies totally on volunteer help. School principals, staff and Kids Cause coordinators assess needs and follow through on services. With the financial support of United Way, Kids Cause can and does make a difference for students in need. 

Employees of Alpine, Nebo, and Provo School Districts are invited to make contributions through payroll deduction each year to United Way. Many earmark their donation to Kids Cause. Donations are also accepted from private community members and businesses.

Monica Hullinger Kids Cause Recipient, Brent Gordon, Kids Cause RepresentativeBrent Gordon, Kids Cause representative, said, "Our first recipient for the 2010-2011 Kids Cause Award is Monica Hullinger, Kids Cause coordinator for Brockbank Elementary in Spanish Fork."

"Monica Hullinger is a licensed profession counselor with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and two master degrees in Education Counseling and mental health from the University of Phoenix. She currently works for Student Services in Nebo School District. She manages state and federal grants, works with at-risk students, and curriculum development in health through the state’s Prevention Dimension programs. Monica works closely with the district homeless population and is the fiscal manager of the 4-H after-school program sponsored by Utah State University. Monica was a program director of Utah County Substance abuse, and she has been a therapist for Latter-Day Saints Family Service. Monica is passionate about working with at-risk students and their families. Her compassion and knowledge is a great asset to Nebo School District’s students and families, stated Brent Gordon."

MarJean Strong Kids Cause Recipient, Bonnie Palmer, Kids Cause RepresentativeBonnie Palmer, Kids Cause representative, honored Mar Jean Strong the 2010-2011 Kids Cause Award.

MarJean Strong is in her thirteenth year of teaching. Currently, she is the Title I teacher and coordinator at Cherry Creek Elementary in Springville. MarJean has helped with the Kids Cause since 2002 starting at Grant Elementary in Springville.

MarJean said, "Teachers have caring hearts; and when their students are without adequate shoes or clothing, or in need of glasses, the teachers want to help. It is important to help with the needs quickly so learning can continue. Most recently Naomi had severe mouth pain. With Kid’s Cause help, we were able to get a referral to see Dr. Weist for some much needed dental work. Soon Naomi was back in class and a happy girl ready to learn. Dr. Traer Caywood is also a wonderful resource to our Spanish-speaking families for eye care. It is a big reward to have the opportunity to reach out to families who are in need. Most parents are very grateful."

Our future rests in the hopes and dreams of our children. Some will go on to greatness while others will struggle as their parents have before them. Together we can build a better community by helping the children who live in our neighborhood.

Nebo School District is so grateful to the many hours spent by hundreds of individuals that meet the needs of our students. Thank you Kids Cause!