I am Sophie Kartzman and this is my story. In 2013, when I was in 5th grade, my friend Anna and I decided to make and collect cards for soldiers. We decided to do this because soldiers are nice and they deserve cards for leaving their families and protecting us.
We made and also collected cards from places in our community, 50 cards each, and delivered them to the local Red Cross. We were awarded the Real Hero Award from the Red Cross and I was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service award from my school for our project.
I felt amazing for all the awards and attention but surprised that I was the only kid in the whole 5th grade that got the 100 hour service award pin. So, I set a new goal this year to teach more kids about how fun volunteering is and what an amazing feeling it is. In the end my 1000 card goal became 13,000 cards with lots of happy soldiers and my entire community helping me out. What it really did was make everyone stop and appreciate what the soldiers are doing for all of us!!!
So, my goal now is to have a website to show kids that you are never too young to volunteer. Dream Big Sophie is different. Why? Because it is kids talking to kids about volunteering. I want kids, just like me, to have a place where we can talk and share our ideas about volunteering and making a difference in our world.
In 2015 our 2015 card goal became 27,000 cards collected and delivered to as close as the Bath VA, where I volunteer and as far away as Iraq, Japan, Cuba, South Korea, and even Antartica.
Always encouraging and partnering with me for all these years has been my good friend WWII Veteran Cas Krolak. Sadly in August of 2016 he passed away. I wasn’t certain if I wanted to do the card drive without him but I knew it is what he would want to me to do for our soliders and veterans . So for 2016 I decided that the card drive would now be in his memory. The Casimir “Cas” J.. Krolak Memorial Card Drive with a goal set for 30,000 cards or as many as we could collect. I was so excited that our final total for 2016 was 37,712 cards. These cards were delivered to Jordan, Fort Drum, Stratton Air National Guard, Newburgh Airforce Base, Iraq, Pacific Islands, the Arabian Sea, Qatar, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Fort Lee, VA, and locally to the Big Flats Corning, Campbell and Bath American Legions and the Canandaigua and Bath VA.
While this will be my last year leading the card drive, I am so proud that with my community and country we collected and delivered 77,897 cards. Every card collected was delivered. I will continue to have my website and we would all love to hear about your projects and dreams.
I am getting older but still dreaming big dreams, remembering everything Cas taught me and trying to teach others about the importance of getting involved.