By Kathleen Pointer, The Kansas City Star
Jack Novorr has raised nearly $23,000 for Children’s Mercy Hospital over the last six years, and by the new year he hopes to make it $38,000. He’s 11. He gathered with his siblings, Sophie, 9; Tate, 6; and about 25 other kids on Sunday to kick off his 2011 fundraising efforts for the hospital. Children’s Mercy sponsored the pizza party at the Pizza Shoppe in Overland Park, and Vice President and Chief Development Officer Brad Leech talked to the kids about the process and where the money would end up.
When he was 5 years old, Jack, now a sixth-grader at Pleasant Ridge Middle School, wandered into his parents’ room one night while they were watching coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He learned that children from New Orleans were being flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. After his parents explained what was going on, he ran into his room and dumped all his money on the floor.
“Something struck his heart at the time and he felt compelled to give his money to the hospital,” said Scott Novorr, Jack’s father. “We thought it was just a cute gesture.”
But the donations have just kept growing.
Last year, Jack, who lives in Overland Park, bumped up his efforts and his donation. He recruited friends to help and set a goal of $10,000. He surpassed it by $1,000. Since he was raising more money, the hospital decided to designate a specific area or project for the contribution.
“This is when I knew it was getting big,” Scott Novorr said. “It really turned into a community of kids banding together to help a children’s hospital. It’s not something you see very often.”
Last year, the donations aided the dental clinic with the purchase of some new equipment.
“I usually pick from the things they need most,” Jack Novorr said.
This year, his goal is $15,000. The money he raises will go to buying “fun carts” — mobile units with games and toys taken into patients’ rooms. They cost about $4,200 apiece.
To raise the money, Jack and his family and friends will be soliciting donations and organizing small fundraisers such as bake sales. The first big event is a kids clothing and toy sale at Jack’s house on Nov. 19. On Dec. 27 and Dec. 29, Jumping Jax at 12022 Blue Valley Parkway in Overland Park will let people play from 3 to 6 p.m. for a donation. This is the second year Jack Novorr has worked with Jumping Jax.
“They absolutely packed the house to capacity (last year),” Scott Novorr said.
Other kids raise money for Children’s Mercy — gathering donations at a birthday party, sending money from their savings or holding small events for charity — but Leech said Jack is a “very sophisticated little donor.”
“There is something about this little guy,” Leech said. “He’s just amazing, especially given his age.”
He thinks a kid like Jack, who has an obvious commitment to service, encourages others.
“He is setting a great example for other kids to follow,” Leech said.