Kind Kids Project

Kind Kids USA Maui

It was mid-morning in Maui, Hawaii, September 2016. I’m driving in my car when the idea came to me. For the past eight months I had been supporting my 12 year old with his recycling business. Once a month DJ and I would drive around town and he would offer a recycling collection service to others. He would bag and haul away people’s recycling at no charge, and we’d take it to the local redemption center where he made 5 cents per bottle/can. On any given Saturday we’d collect from 8 – 10 of his supporters. He’d make anywhere from $75 – $100. He took 10% of his earnings and donated it to the local food bank and he’d keep the rest.

​I knew we had a great idea. But how to make it BIG? Driving down the road that day I was inspired to talk to my son about getting other kids involved who would want to do the same thing. We came up with the name, “Kind Kids Recycling Club.” To make it a very kind idea, we decided to up the “pay it forward” percentage from 10% to 50%. We call it the Kind Kid Pledge. A simple promise that any kid who got involved would set aside at least half of their recycling earnings and put it into their own “pay it forward” envelope. Boys and girls could only use this money to benefit other people. Any gesture of kindness, big or small.   

Fast forward to July 2017. We had over 30 kids involved in our recycling club, ranging in age from three to fourteen. It was inspiring to see these kids getting excited to go to work and earn money for themselves. However, the main motivation for most kids was using their earnings to help others. Many of these kids began to personally experience the joy in giving to others. The recycling idea worked well, however, we realized that there are many states that do not offer redemption value for bottles and cans, which limits the number of kids who could participate on a nationwide basis.

​That’s how Kind Kids USA came to be. Any child in any state can now get involved, and there are no limits to how they can earn money. From lawn mowing, to pet sitting, to washing cars, and any job in between. Like our original idea, all kids set aside at least half of the profits earned through their job(s). This money is used solely to spread kindness and benefit others. Imagine if thousands of girls and boys were to get behind this idea with enthusiasm. All taking pride in themselves for what they are a part of. That’s our vision. With kids now participating in seven states, I feel we are at the beginning of something really special. We invite every child to get involved and make a difference in their own neighborhood and community, and to make this a true nationwide movement. We invite everyone to help us share and spread the word. Please join us by telling your friends and family about Kind Kids USA. Here’s to making a better world.

Image Credit: Kind Kids USA

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Originally from Northern Indiana, Dustin now resides Upcountry with his wife and 3 children. He is owner/operator of the dog running business, Pooch Fit. When not working or presenting Kind Kids USA to Maui schools, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family, watching football and reading.

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