As of March 1, 2021, our fundraising goal has been met! Thank you to all 58 of our donors, who made this celebration possible. Any contributions received over this amount will be put into designing a kit for older kids.
I Need Your Support
I NEED YOU! YES, YOU!
Having never before created a product, I really didn't know what I was getting into! Apparently, I can't responsibly sell "My Calming Kit" without product insurance. And HOLY MOLY is that expensive. In fact, it's so expensive that it wipes out my production budget, which was small to begin with. I should point out that both "Katie Not Afraidy: A Story About Conquering Childhood Anxiety," and "My Calming Kit" have been entirely funded from our personal bank account. This is the first time I am asking for financial help, and while it feels awkward - it also feels necessary. I don't want to keep this product to myself simply because I cannot afford to move it forward.
YOUR FINANCIAL HELP AT WORK
Our fundraising goal of $5,000 will enable us to pre-order all kit materials, and mass produce (all hand-assembled by me, in my smoke-free home!) close to 300 kits. In addition, these funds will pay for my first 3 months of product insurance, so that I can begin immediate distribution. I figure that this amount will allow me the time to get up and running, and establish an ordering system that matches potential donors with schools/individuals/organizations who don't have the budget to fulfill their own needs. In addition, it will help me ensure all backer rewards are met in a timely manner.
ANY AMOUNT RAISED OVER GOAL
If we are so lucky to receive the backing that we need to move forward, I will be forever grateful. If we receive that backing, plus more, not only will I be forever indebted to you, but I will utilize the overage in the following ways:
Create a version of "My Calming Kit" specific for older children
Create a Spanish version of "My Calming Kit." (project estimate $1350)
Write/Illustrate a Spanish version of "Katie Not Afraidy: A Story About Conquering Childhood Anxiety ($1000 for translation / $1800 for illustrations)
Convert Katie Not Afraidy, LLC to a non-profit organization!
Start a large "My Calming Kit" donation program (much research and development would be required for this!)
Revamp this website to include greater resources, and a more interactive experience
Allow space for more dreaming, and executing!
SO, WHAT DO YOU SAY?
Will you help us help more children? Just click on the "I want to help" button at the top of this page!
Our Product & Fundraising Story
WHAT IS "MY CALMING KIT" (I mean, in a nutshell)
We'd like to believe that the two endearing characters that you see above, elicit a sense of peace within you as you gently smile over their calm demeanor (if only we could bottle *that*). Through the use of cool colors, and whimsical illustrations, your child is invited to explore a compact and durable calming toolkit which supports self-regulation, mindfulness, and anxiety reduction. "My Calming Kit" has been intentionally curated to provide your child with a variety of sensory and grounding tools and strategies to call upon when their anxiety rises. Through the use of each item within this toolkit, children will find themselves anchored back to the present moment, giving them more confidence, a greater sense of empowerment, and increased clarity for problem-solving.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
It matters because the statistics on adolescent anxiety are staggering. It matters because offering sensory input, via safe and appropriate tools, can help reduce anxiety and other behavioral/emotional/learning challenges. It matters because the mental well-being of our children matters.
Take a look at these statistics, and what the professionals are saying/discovering:
NOW LET'S BACK UP A BIT, SO I CAN INTRODUCE MYSELF
Hi. My name is Gina Perkins, and I'm the Founder of Katie Not Afraidy, LLC. I get it, it's a silly name for a company - but bear with me, it's a good story. Back in 2015, my family (myself, husband, 2 daughters, dog, cat, hamster) relocated from California (Bay Area represent!) to Portland(ish), Oregon. While it still ranks as one of the best decisions of our lives, it didn't come without challenges.
Having lived with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for more than 2 decades, it was easy for me to recognize that same beast getting a hold of my then 6 year old daughter, DJ. As a means of helping her work through her debilitating anxiety (new house, new school, new friends, new community), I urged DJ to begin journaling her thoughts and feelings.
I don't mean to be one of those typical "MY CHILD IS THE GREATEST" bumper-sticker donning moms, but honestly, I was so impressed by DJ's ability to express anxiety in such a clear and meaningful way. As we talked through her writings, I saw a sense of empowerment wash over her weary soul. It gave us some common language, and served as a conversation starter. I thought, "Welp, if this is helping my own kiddo this much, I betcha it could help other children," and that's when the book "Katie Not Afraidy: A Story About Conquering Childhood Anxiety" was born.
Using DJ's journal as the backbone of the story, I wrote a whole book that I thought other children could relate to (complete with back-of-the-book worksheets). We hired an amazing illustrator, Kristina Yu, of Cheery Human Studios, and partnered with our unicorn Editor, Kimberly Graves, and made something to be proud of! We self-published "Katie Not Afraidy" through Amazon in 2017. Of course there are a whole lotta details I'm leaving out, but that's how DJ and I became co-authors, and our journey of supporting anxious children came to be. (Oh, and why "Katie?" Because back when DJ liked playing with dolls and imaginary friends, they were always named "Katie.")
FROM THERE, THINGS TOOK A TURN (For the better, thank goodness!)
Once we launched "Katie Not Afraidy: A Story About Conquering Childhood Anxiety," something extraordinary started to happen. A community began to form. Parents and caretakers started asking questions, and children grew more confident in speaking up about their own anxious feelings, worries, and fears. We knew that in order to truly walk our mission of empowering anxious children, and supporting their caretakers, we had to expand our services.
Back in August, 2020, we offered our first ever "Virtual Summer Camp for Anxious Children," where children learned about anxiety and even made their own calming tools to help with emotional regulation. It was a HUGE success, and became a cornerstone of the KNA brand. Soon thereafter, we hosted our first "Caretaker's Course," bringing together the grown-ups of anxious children to connect over topics familiar to their journey (for example, "My Child Has Anxiety, Now What?").
ALL THE WHILE....
In the midst of publishing our book, running virtual camps, and organizing Caretaker's Courses, I was continuing my work as an elementary school Paraeducator in the public school system. My former experience as a Preschool Teaching Assistant, and Lead Preschool Teacher, had prepared me to notice signs of dysregulation in children oftentimes before they escalated to full-blown meltdown. While certain developmental differences exist between preschoolers, and say, fifth graders, the one commonality was that calming tools worked wonders in helping children anchor back into their bodies, and safely re-enter the present moment.
In fact, my very first prototype of "My Calming Kit" came in the form of a dollar store basket, duct tape and free clipart. I kept this kit in my preschool classroom, and taught my students how and when to use it. Eventually, word spread about its effectiveness, and I made one for each of my Pre-K colleagues to utilize in their own classrooms. I guess that makes "My Calming Kit" about 3 years old....which is why it's FINALLY time to get it into the hands of those who need it.
The "OG" Calming Toolkit!
The "OG" Calming Toolkit!
WHICH BRINGS ME TO: WHY NOW?
This toolkit has been on my mind and in my heart for several years now. I have seen it work. I know it works. SENSORY TOOLS WORK. I've experienced the calming effects of grounding tools both inside the classroom, and inside my own home. Plus, every post-virtual camp survey I've sent out, lets me know that the tools we create together during camp, work in other people's homes, too!
In case you've somehow missed it, we're in trying times. A global pandemic? WHAT? How is this even reality? But it is, and we're about a year into it. At the time of launching this campaign, my children are still engaging in distance learning (which means I am still failing as their teacher). Back in March, 2020, my own daughters lost access to their classroom tools when our home became their place of learning. In an environment where educators embraced the notion of building Mindfulness into their core curriculum, my children had learned how to recognize when they needed to self-regulate, and which tools helped them return to readiness. Lucky for them, I still had the "OG" Calming Toolkit on hand, and I was able to give them what they had grown accustomed to utilizing inside their campus classroom.
But, two disturbing thoughts occurred to me during this transition from school to home. First, I felt heavy-hearted for the children who didn't have mental health advocates as their parents, and who weren't privy to understanding the signs and symptoms (and support methods) of anxiety. How would they navigate such big feelings, without the tools they needed? How could they learn self-regulation without any real anchors to successfully ground them back into the present moment? Ugh, if only they had their own calming kits.
The second thought I had was, "Gosh darnit! When these kiddos return to school, Covid restrictions will prevent them from sharing classroom tools." Just returning to school wouldn't ensure they had access to such tools again, especially if schools were in budget crisis just getting their campuses ready for a safe-return. Ugh, if only they had their own calming kits.
"Hold up just a minute! What's stopping me from making this happen?"
AND THAT'S WHEN I CALLED KRISTINA
I got a hold of Kristina Yu, our KNA Illustrator, and pitched the idea to her. Just like with the book, Kristina was immediately on board with the idea. Once again, she took my vision and made it beautiful where I had made it functional.
"My Calming Kit" contains 7 unique fidgets, a visual "feelings chart," 3-minute sand timer, and a set of yoga/breathing prompt cards. In addition, there's a special "What's In Your Kit?" card at the bottom of each kit, sharing which tools are best for grounding, improving focus, calming the body, relieving stress, etc.
Video instructions for how to utilize this kit are even posted here on our website.
Isn't it SO GREAT? I am so proud of "My Calming Kit!" It's quite amazing to see a product vision come to life, especially one that you're so personally connected to. The only thing left to do, is get it into the hands of children (and their overwhelmed, over-worked caretakers).
HEAR WHAT THE PROFESSIONALS THINK
If you just can't get enough of all things "My Calming Kit," please take a look at this 8 minute video. Remember that our skill is in creating anxiety tools for children, not in editing videos. It's a little rough, but we're all about grassroots, and lacing up boots around here! So, grab your popcorn and enjoy!
"Thank you" will never be enough. We are forever grateful for your support of, and belief in, our mission.