Hurricane Katrina captivated the world in August 2005 with its deadly destruction and subsequent dramatic rescues, and 5-year-old Overland Park resident Jack Novorr was no exception. The images of helicopters hovering over streets that were swollen rivers of churning water, lowering ladders for people stranded on rooftops, disturbed the youngster.
“I asked my mom and dad what was happening,” says Jack who, following their explanation, marched to his room, broke open his piggy bank and delivered its contents to his parents. “They said some of the injured kids were being brought to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.”
Scott and Jennifer Novorr took Jack’s life savings of $100 and donated it to Children’s Mercy Hospital at their son’s request. It was what Jennifer likes to remember as a defining moment in parenthood. “We were shocked that at age 5 Jack understood the enormity of what was going on, and that he felt moved to do something,” says Jennifer.
In the years since Katrina forever changed the landscape of an American city, the young Kansas boy who was transformed by the event has taken the heartfelt seeds of his philanthropy and multiplied them by $33,000. That’s how much Jack has raised in five years.
The youngster, who loves soccer, art and drawing, sets a goal each year with his dad to drum up money for Children’s Mercy. Initially Jack, his parents, siblings and neighbors put on garage and bake sales. Then they added fundraising events at Jumping Jax in Overland Park.
“Kids get to play for free in return for a donation,” explains Jack, now 11 and a sixth grader at Pleasant Ridge Middle School. “One day we made $900.”
Jack’s project, called Three and Three 4 Kids (he has three siblings whom he considers partners in fund-raising efforts), has provided Children’s Mercy with the funds to purchase two Fun Carts. The moveable carts are outfitted with game systems, televisions and other entertainment for the hospital’s young patients.
“I’ve been in the hospital before,” says Jack. “It’s scary. The Fun Carts help kids.”
And that is Jack Novorr’s motto. To help. It’s that simple.
GOOD TO GIVE: “Raising money helps other people.”
GOOD TO GO: “My dad and I are going to Haiti this year to help others.”
GOOD TO SHARE: “Giving to people who don’t have as much as you feels good. And it’s the right thing to do.”
For more information, e-mail Jennifer Novorr at firstname.lastname@example.org.