Chelsea Piper, who works at a mental health agency that services children with special needs and who are in need of foster care, saw a need for more activities and extracurricular opportunities in the lives of those she encounters on a daily basis.
So she and a co-worker founded Band of Helping Hands
“We realized how many of the kids don’t have access to services like dancing or computers or art lessons or karate—stuff that a lot of kids get to do but they don’t,” Piper says. “So we started it as a way to find activities for them.”
Band of Helping Hands is now in its second year of operation, and since last August, the nonprofit has helped about 75 young individuals further explore their passions.
“There are a few kids we’ve had that just have such a talent for art but who haven’t had a chance to express themselves,” Piper says. “They didn’t have supplies at home or anything, so we’ve given supplies, and kids have entered them in contests because they want to grow up to be artists. And we’ve had some phenomenal dancers who haven’t had lessons from a professional, but it gives them an outlet and something to look forward to in a safe place."
The nonprofit has also purchased a computer for the children to use to complete homework and conduct job searches, and has set up a space with equipment like a pool table and a basketball hoop for students to utilize.
“I have a letter from one little boy who wanted to play baseball, but he didn’t have a glove or uniform, so we purchased him a baseball and bat and glove to practice with, and he wrote us just the sweetest letter thanking us and telling how he was able to play in his first game,” Piper says. “And I was in tears—he was just so appreciative and excited to be able to do something he hasn’t been able to do for 12 years.”
• Support Band of Helping Hands by donating
the organization if you'd like to volunteer teaching a class or extracurricular activity.
• Connect with the nonprofit on Facebook
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.