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20160308fc-kd-sb029 | The Feather Online

This year marks the 29th annual Kids Day celebrated in the San Joaquin Valley. Leadership and journalism students participated by taking to the streets selling papers, March 8.

UPDATE March 9: The final FC total for Kids Day 2016 is 950 papers sold and $1,873 collected and donated to Children’s Hospital (2015-$1,951).

Before the sun rises, dedicated Kids Day volunteers claim their traffic intersections to catch the early morning risers, hoping to sell as many newspapers as possible, March 8. Across the San Joaquin Valley, volunteers gather to sell the annual edition of Kids Day paper together with hands full of triple shot espressos and fresh made donuts. As the time passes and more cars fill the road, excited students, as well as organizations across the country, smile at the first sight of a car.

This year marks the 29th annual Kids Day celebrated in the Valley. The funds raised by Kids Day has been extremely beneficial to patients at Valley Children’s. With every Kids Day, more and more revenue is brought in each year. While the price for a newspaper on Kids Day is just one dollar, many donors have been very gracious and have exceeded the minimum price.

Since the organization started in 1988, established by The Fresno Bee as well as ABC30, over $7 million dollars has been raised. The previous year raised $545,546.40, and the goal for this year is to reach $550,000. The money raised each year is used for the need of advanced technology, pediatric specialists and services for patients.

At FC, students leadership and members from The Feather contribute to the cause and sell newspapers on the cross streets of Alluvial and Cedar as well as Alluvial and Maple. As early as 4 a.m. leadership takes their spot at streets Alluvial and Cedar.

While most students loathe to get up before the clock reaches 6 a.m., leadership and The Feather staff get excited to sell newspapers for a morning. With boxes of donuts lining the curb next to steaming coffee cups, students make it through the dark and chilly mornings. With more and more cars after each passing moment, students are ecstatic to help Valley Children’s Hospital.

After last’s year assistance from FC, about $1,954.13 were raised. With that number a total amount of 980 newspapers were sold. Up until about 9 a.m., students had a steady stream of buying donors for Kids Day.

At cross streets of Blackstone and Shaw, supporters from all across the county come to broadcast live as well as sell papers to the civilians in Fresno. This years celebrity team consisted of Executive Editor of The Fresno Bee Jim Boren, Fresno State Football Coach Tim DeRuyter, Mayor Ashley Swearengin, ABC30 news anchor Vanessa VasConcelos, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and many more.

The support of the community on Kids Day was evident; people of all ages came to sell papers and spread the joy to the community of Fresno. Executive Editor of the Bee, Boren, shares his appreciation for Kids Day and it’s importance within the community.

Well we raise a lot of money for kids day,” Boren said. “This is the hospital that takes care of children and we want to be apart of that. We have partnered with Children’s Hospital and ABC30 the last 29 years. Its a great program and you can see all the people that have come out for it; we have volunteers all over the Valley. This is an investment into our future. This hospital is the most crucial hospital for children in the San Joaquin Valley; we all have to give back to the hospital that takes care of our children.”

Each year many volunteers join the cause and assist in selling papers for Valley Children’s. Writer for The Feather, Mariana Fikse, ’18, enjoys her time selling papers for the first year and looks forward to participating next year.

Kids Day was a really neat experience to be a part of,” Fikse said. “At first I was scared to wave my hands around and yell at the passing cars, but after a while I started to get more comfortable and have more fun selling papers. I personally had a lot of fun and look forward to doing it again next year.”

Each year about 120,000 visits are made to the emergency room at Valley Children’s. Jessica Gutierrez and her daughter, Naima, were thankful for the loving care they received at Children’s when Naima was battling cancer. Naima was chosen as the 2016 ambassador for Kids Day after her diagnosis of cancer. Her bravery and positive spirit has helped her to persevere through the diagnosis.

Valley Children’s Hospital became our second home when Naima was diagnosed with cancer,” Jessica Gutierrez said. “If it wasn’t for the support we received from all of the doctors I don’t think we would have her here today. I thank them for all of their support and for treating us like family, because in all honesty they treated us like we were their own family. They really do everything possible to uplift the children.”

For her third year in a row, co-editor-in-chief, Chloe Mueller, looks back to the memorable moments that she made while volunteering on Kids Day.

This was my third and final year participating in Kids Day,” Mueller said. “It has become a tradition through high school, and although I am exhausted from getting to school at 4, it’s always a fun time. It is a nice way to break out of our daily schedules and spend time benefitting our community.”

Fresno State Football Coach, Tim DeRuyter, is grateful for the service that Children’s has given to the community as well as one of his players, Derek Carr.

20160308fc-kd-sb020 | The Feather Online

Junior Jennifer King interviews Jessica Gutierrez, the mother of the poster child for Kids Day, Naima Gutierrez.

“We have a tremendous asset in this community in children hospital,” DeRuyter said. “I think of Fresno as a community that comes together for special projects and children is one of the top priorities as a community. To be able to give back and come together as a community is great and speaks very highly of Fresno. Personally one of our players, Derek Carr, when he played with us his senior year, he and his wife, Heather, had a child Dallas) that had some complications and had to go to Children’s Hospital in an emergency situation. The people there took great care of Dallas, their young son, and we are all blessed to have Children’s Hospital here.”

For the many patients that Valley Children’s has served many are thankful for the sincere and loving treatment that they received. CEO of Valley Children’s, Todd Suntrapak, is appreciative of the treatment that he and his family have received while being hospitalized.

“It is great to have the support of our communities from Bakersfield to Modesto participating in Kids Day,” Suntrapak said. “Of the 29 years that Kids Day as existed, 7.3 million dollars have been raised to help kids get well and stay well right here in the valley. This years goal is $550,000. We have over 6,000 volunteers helping us achieve that goal and we couldn’t be more thankful or excited for everybody’s help and support for the kids. I was a patient at Valley Children’s myself and my life was saved on a number of occasions and all three of my kids have been treated at Valley Children’s, one of which was extremely ill and his life was saved by them.”

News anchor from ABC30, Vanessa Vasconcelos, is proud of the strong relationship that ABC30 has with Valley Children’s. Whether or not we are doctors we all are able to contribute in some way to this cause.

“With ABC30 we are a proud sponsors of this event, Valley Children’s such a special hospital to us,” Vasconcelos said. “As a journalist for ABC30, I got the chance to interview our kids day ambassador and some of the patients. Talking with the hospital, staff and families, this is an incredible cause that you want to make sure you help donate to, even a dollar gets you that special paper. We’re helping save lives, were not all doctors so we can’t save lives in that way but we can help by donating.”

With leadership and The Feather staff members, the Alluvial and Maple group were able to collect an amount of $1,116.66. The remainder amount is still being counted for the Alluvial and Cedar intersection–stay tuned for the update. FC would like to thank the volunteers for waking up early and supporting Valley Children’s. Some informational background was provided by The Fresno Bee.

For a full review of the 2015 Kids Day, read Childrens Hospital drives central Valley volunteers (UPDATE, VIDEO, SLIDESHOW, PODCAST).

This writer can be reached via Twitter: @jennypenny8835 and via Email: Jenny King.

For more features, read Annual Serve Day uplifts attitudes, encourages kindness.

For more on previous Kid’s Days, read Campus clubs sell Kids Day papers (VIDEO).

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