Kidz 4 Causes Raises Awareness and Funds for Rare Childhood Disorders

At the end of a school day, four friends gather to hang out and play sports. Besides their camaraderie, they have another bond that ties them together: their sincere desire to make a difference in their community.

Michael Bendok, Xander Black, Matthew Linhart, and Samuel Steiner are eighth grade students at Phoenix Country Day School and, last year, they founded Kidz 4 Causes.

Q. Tell us about your organization.

A. Michael Bendok: Kidz 4 Causes is an organization founded by the four of us in 2015. Striving to make a difference in our community, we decided to raise money for TGen (Translational Genomics Research Institute) and their Center for Rare Childhood Disorders. This is because Samuel’s little brother has Bronchiolitis Obliterans, a rare disease.

Q. What fundraisers have you done in the past and what is planned for the future?

A. Xander Black: Last year, we held two events. In January, we held a small coin drive with the hope of raising $100. We thought we were ambitious! By the end of the day, we had raised over $1,300 in just six hours! Next we held a run in March. More than 250 people registered and we raised more than $15,000. This year, we plan to have a Bingo Night, Halloween Party, and another run. However, we are most excited about our Basketball Tournament to be held at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Q. The four of you met with Governor Ducey regarding your charity work. Tell us about that.

A. Matthew Linhart: We were fortunate to meet with the governor three weeks ago. Not only were we able to tell him about who we are and what we are doing, but he also gave us helpful insight about how to become better at fundraising. He was very excited about what we are doing and we were happy to have the opportunity to meet with Governor Ducey himself.

Q. What have you learned the most since starting Kidz 4 Causes?

A. Samuel Steiner: Although we have learned different things throughout this wonderful experience, I think we all can agree that the most important factor was teamwork. Without this, we wouldn’t have been able to raise any money. With it, we bonded over something amazing—giving back to our community.

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