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Kim’s Open Door

Kim Bogart was watching the news one day in 2014. As she’s sitting on her bed, she sees that there have been 31 shootings in 30 days in her town of Jacksonville, Florida. An 11-year-old girl she was familiar with was shot and killed in one of those shootings due to gang violence. She quits the job she loves to pursue a mission to help the children in her city. She gathers with men and women from different nonprofits in her home, and that’s how Kim’s Open Door started. 

The “Four Keys” of this organization are education, arts, nutrition and events. Kim’s Open Door creates programs for children at risk, such as refugees and immigrants. Bogart aims to educate and support these children whose first English words are learned at this organization. These traumatized children get the attention they need to learn English and assimilate into the American culture at Kim’s Open Door. Bogart speaks on the importance of teaching English. 

“The English language is so difficult for them,” says Bogart. “Without our programs, they just shut down. If we don't have a full-time school for them, they just speak their language in their houses and they lose their confidence in just a few months of not using that English language.”

The programs function as after-school and summer programs that teach about arts and athletics, in-school tutoring, block parties and cultural orientation. Children learn to express themselves through art and build a healthy community with their neighborhood outreach. 

This nonprofit also has programs that support food insecurity and nutrition. “We found that a lot of our students were food insecure,” says Bogart, “Many, many, many of the apartments that I've been into with the students, they'll only have maybe potatoes and an onion and some eggs and that's it for a family of five or six.” Bogart believes that “they can’t hear anything we have to say if they are hungry.”

Children are involved by packing over 100 bags of groceries. They work with volunteers from multiple churches and other organizations to distribute groceries to families in the neighborhood every month. Kim’s Open Door also has a mobile pantry and students learn leadership skills by serving their communities with outreach events and the pantry. 

Kim’s Open Door has a missionary program as well. They partner with nonprofits in India and Africa to help orphans, feeding stations and human trafficking rescue. They train teachers and provide multiple children programs. 

Kim’s Open Door is run by 752 volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering since high school. The volunteers are trained to run the programs, clubs and events. This nonprofit not only benefits vulnerable children but gives a safe place for others to serve. The nonprofit provides the curriculum for the volunteers to teach and they get to meet the students one-on-one.

Kim’s Open Door is partnered with another non-profit called JAXThrive which has about 50 volunteers who tutor refugee students. Every other Saturday, about 25 volunteers come to learn about these vulnerable communities and help the students with conversational English. Volunteers and students learn about each other’s cultures by studying. JAXThrive provides the curriculum as well and focuses on helping high school students. 

In 2023, the impact Kim’s Open Door had was immense. Almost 1,000 volunteers and 854 hours of art and education. They served 115 children weekly and the students came from 13 different countries. They gave out 16,392 meals in Jacksonville and 600 meals to Kenya. 

To get involved with Kim’s Open Door, there is a volunteer program that has an application on their website. Monthly donations of $25-$250 are accepted on the website as well. “The biggest need that we have are monthly partners,” says Bogart. “This year is our 10th anniversary and we're looking for 50 or more people to give $100 a month.” 

If monthly donations aren’t an option, Kim’s Open Door has an Amazon wishlist on its website. They need supplies for their education, nutrition and events. Lastly, businesses and agencies can be collaborative partners with Kim’s Open Door.

More information on how to get involved is on their website, Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

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