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article imageMeet Deborah O'Rourke: Executive Director of Contractors for Kids Special

By Markos Papadatos     Sep 1, 2018 in Lifestyle
Holbrook - Deborah O'Rourke, the Executive Director of Contractors for Kids (CFK), chatted with Digital Journal about her nonprofit organization, and its mission. She also discussed the digital transformation of the nonprofit sector.
"Contractors For Kids is a nonprofit organization that financially assists families when a child becomes sick, injured or passes away," she said. "For instance, when a child becomes sick or injured, typically a mom or dad needs to stop working. When that happens, bills pile up very fast and the family becomes even more broken than just the illness. We come in and pay their bills such as mortgage payments, utility bills, food, transportation to and from hospitals, co-pays, medications, what the insurance company doesn't cover and the hardest ones are when we pay for or assist in paying for funeral expenses."
As Executive Director, O'Rourke is the main administrator for the organization. "I answer all calls, all emails, plan and administer all events, control monthly board meetings, meet with organizations to share our story, meet with families that need our help and assist them with the application process, get everything ready for the monthly gifting meeting, attend all committee meetings of CFK, and pretty much everything," she said.
Coastal Entertainment
O'Rourke has been afforded the privileged opportunity to collaborate with Coastal Entertainment, and veteran soap actors, for the Contractors for Kids events. "Coastal Entertainment has been so supportive," she said. "When I initially called Linda Rohe and told her about our organization for the purpose of trying to get some of the soap stars to one of our events, she jumped on board and has never left our side, and this was back in 2014. Linda then introduced me to Dino and he also jumped on board. Both Dino and Linda have asked the soap stars that when they come to one of their events, that there is always a raffle for CFK. The stars have been more than wonderful and making sure that we are able to raise additional funds for the families that we help. We even have had a couple of the actors attend our events. We would not be as successful as we are without all the support we have received from Coastal Entertainment and the soap stars."
Future plans and motivations
Her plans for the future with Contractors for Kids is to have more chapters throughout the country. "That is not an easy feat but that is what I wish for. We are a 100 percent volunteer organization so we all have full-time jobs on top of what we do for CFK. Maybe one day when I retire, I can take this to the level I know we can. Sadly there are sick children all over and they and their families need our help," she said.
When asked what motivates her each day, she said, "I will tell you that this morning we got a call from a social worker that let us know that one of the children we were helping, a 14-year-old girl, sadly passed away last night. It just breaks your heart. We will be assisting them with the funeral and paying the outstanding balance that exists. This story, as sad as it is, is what drives us to raise more money, to help more families, and know that we can never back down and must continue what we are doing. We only get our funding by knocking on doors and getting donations. We have no government funding or political support."
O'Rourke continued, "It is hard work getting the donations that we do to help those that need it, but we know it is necessary and we never want to let anyone down. Of course, there have also been many success stories, where we help the family get through the darkest days of their life, and the child may heal from the injuries, or they go into remission and lead a pretty normal life. Then what usually happens is the family will come to us and ask if they can volunteer and pay it forward. That inspires me every day as well."
She acknowledged that Contractors for Kids has "brought so much good into the lives it touches," and rightfully so. "We have over 50 board members and advisory members combined. So many of them are families, husbands and wives, parents and adult children, as well as brothers and sisters. We are a very unique organization and family that will continue to make a difference every day," she added.
Digital transformation of the nonprofit sector
Regarding the impact of technology on the nonprofit sector over the years, O'Rourke said, "Social media definitely helps us get the word out to more people and quicker. Some of us are still old school, including me, and I still use snail mail but when we have events coming up or need to reach out to our masses, there is nothing better than sending out a quick constant contact, a tweet, or posting an event on Facebook. We have even had many of our supporters raise money for our organization through Facebook, and that's amazing."
On her use of technology in her daily routine as Executive Director of Contractors for Kids, she said, "Well as you can imagine, we could not do what we do without technology that exists today. From faxing over an application, to having a family send us an email asking for help, being able to list events on our website and have people purchase tickets or make donations is great for us. We can almost assist a family immediately if that is the need due to technology that exists today."
"Contractors for Kids is an amazing organization that does something different that no one else does," she said. "We assist them financially. As I said earlier, we are a 100 percent volunteer organization that believes in our vision. It is very sad to see a broken family due to a financial hardship. It is bad enough that they are going through a devastating illness or injury to their child. Our slogan is 'We will be there…will you?' We promise, to the best we can, to help those families that need our help. We will make sure to be there for our families, will you?"
To learn more about the nonprofit organization Contractors for Kids, check out their official homepage, and their Facebook page.
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