By Margi Kyle
Founder, Little Smiles NC
As founder of Little Smiles NC, I am honored to be writing this article to introduce you all to Little Smiles. The first and main chapter is in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida which was started by Chip Donahue and my stepson, Scott Anderson in 1998. It has grown to encompass organizations in Philly, North Carolina (Lake Norman region) and Buffalo, New York.
In my mind—Little Smiles really started when I was 16. I was in 3 major car accidents and in the hospital for over a year. I was told I would never walk again—I was very scared and a broken child.
Fast forward many years, I got a call that no parent wants to hear. My 15-year-old son dove into the lake and broke his neck. He too, was told he would never walk again. I am proud to say we both proved the doctors wrong.
A child in the hospital
I know what it is like to be a child in the hospital. I also know what it is like to have a child in the hospital. That is truly when my passion for Little Smiles started. We do whatever it takes to put a little smile on a sweet face. If only for a moment, a day or a week.
What does Little Smiles do?
Everything from laptops, to birthday parties, chemo parties, pizza night and character visits. We provided a phone for a young lady so she could talk to her Mom. Even something as little as a Big Mac® with fries and a shake. We helped bring a family together before the passing of their child. We paid the registration fee for a 16-year-old gal to be in the “Miss Teen NC Pageant”. Whatever it takes to put a Little Smile on a Sweet Face is what we do BEST.
Giving kids the chance to be kids during difficult times
Our mission is to be Hands on—Local and Immediate! Our children are our future. We work through our nurses to help the children endure their journey while in a hospital, shelter or hospice. Currently, we are working in: Levine, Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital, Interim Home Health Care, Bloom, Ronald McDonald, St. Jude, Bayada, Pediatrics Hands On of Gastonia, The Path-Hospice, Cabarrus Pediatrics Nursing, ekidz and Thompson Foster.
We pride ourselves for being the nurses silent check book—and our money goes directly to our kids. We have helped as many as 500 kids in one month. Giving kids the chance to be kids during difficult times!
Fundraising is key
A few of our Fundraisers are our Dino Open Golf Tournament on October 13, 2019. The Rotary Wine Spectacular, on October 19, 2019. And other events during the year allow us to give and be Little Smiles.
Our Board of Directors
Little Smiles has an active Board of Director’s with Margi Kyle as Founder, Pat Jackson as President. Others include: Sharon Washam, Pam Hazlewood, Kathleen Cirillo, Al Bentz, Larry Riggs, Tim Boone, Niall Mulkeen, Melissa Donahue, Connie Burrow, Terry Schindelhoz and Alex Billesdon.
An opportunity to tell the Little Smiles story
As founder, I was proud and very humbled to receive the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service award this January. Also, to be awarded a large plaque on a wall at Levine Children’s Hospital for appreciation of our service and support.
In addition to awards and other speaking engagements, I recently had the opportunity to share the Little Smiles story with Kristi O’Connor on WBTV.
For more information and to donate
Visit Little Smiles.
Margi Kyle is the founder of Little SmilesNC. Started in 2010, it is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that strives to fulfill the dreams of children in local hospitals, hospices and shelters. Their mission statement: Little Smiles helps heal hearts and create little smiles by providing gifts and fun activities to children impacted by serious illness, homelessness or tragedy. Giving Kids the chance to be kids during difficult times! “We are Local, Hands-On and Immediate.”