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Meet Sitinee Sheffert of Giving Artfully Kids in Oak Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sitinee Sheffert.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sitinee. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I founded Giving Artfully Kids (http://www.givingartfullykids.com), a program that is inspiring/ empowering children to help others and spread kindness through crafting-based service projects.

After I had my second child (I am a mom of 5 and a stay-at-home mom until I started my business), I taught myself to craft. I loved dabbling in everything crafting-related and soon wanted to use this new passion to help others. I scoured the web to find non-profits that could use some of my hand-crafted items, but there was not a central/organized website. So, I decided to build one myself and called it Giving Artfully (http://www.givingartfully.com)

About a year after launching Giving Artfully, I was approached by our local school’s PTO about piloting an after-school program that could use the concept of Giving Artfully with kids. I loved the idea of kids using their time and hands to make items to help others, all the while teaching them about giving, compassion, and empathy. With little experience with teaching, I decided to try a 6-week program which I called Giving Artfully Kids, where each week, I prepared a crafting-based service project for the children.

The class was a success and soon we were asked by other schools in our community to also run an after-school program and/or workshops. Soon we were teaching classes in surrounding neighborhoods and had requests to start a program in areas outside my geographic region. At this point, I began to think of how I can scale my business, and that was when I started the Giving Artfully Kids Membership.

With the membership, we provide the training and resource (lesson plan, discussion questions, materials list) to start a Giving Artfully Kids program in your community. We also have a membership for parents to do a crafting-based service project at home. We are excited about the growth of Giving Artfully Kids as we look to help children build the foundation for a lifetime of giving and Build Generation Kindness.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it has not always been a smooth road.

A big struggle was letting go of control. I initially prepped and taught all the classes. But soon, I was spread too thin, trying to still be a full-time mom and growing my program in the community and beyond. I knew I needed help a few hours a week at home so I could focus on the business. I also knew that I needed to hire instructors that I felt comfortable to take on more responsibility. These are two areas that I was very protective of, but I knew to run a successful business and be a good parent, I needed to let go of control in both areas.

Another struggle was finding the right instructors to help me teach my program and understood my mission and goals. It took some time to find instructors that I worked well with and trusted. But as soon as I did, it really helped with delegating and allowing others to help and take on more responsibility.

I also had a bumpy road trying to figure out the right business model to scale my business. Should I try to manage all the programs? Should I franchise? Should I sell my lesson plans? I was unfamiliar with the digital online world, so there was a steep learning curve.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Giving Artfully Kids – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am the founder of Giving Artfully Kids (www.givingartfullykids), a program that inspires and empowers kids to spread kindness and help others through crafting-based service projects. Our program can be implemented as an after-school program, one day workshop, birthday party activity or projects for the home.

I am proud that I have built a social enterprise that has the potential to make a big impact. Our program is teaching children that they can make a difference, even at a young age. Especially in this day and age, there is a great need for children to be kind and help others and I am excited that Giving Artfully Kids is providing that opportunity to kids.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As we continue to expand, I am focusing much of my attention of the Giving Artfully Kids membership. The membership provides training and resources for others to start a Giving Artfully Kids program in their community.

For parents looking for consistent service opportunities for their kids, in the future, we are considering starting a subscription box that provides crafting-based service projects on a monthly business.

I would love to see Giving Artfully Kids expand all over the country and even the world with the goal of Building Generation Kindness.

Pricing:

  • $27 per month for a Premium membership for individuals interested in starting a weekly Giving Artfully Kids program in their community
  • $9.97 per month for a Basic membership for one monthly project per month

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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