Carnival of Love: Making a Difference, One Child At a Time.
By Ilija Sekulovski
Established in 2008, Carnival of Love non-profit organization that seriously stole the hearts of everyone at Give Me Astoria. We recently spoke to Despina Manoloudas who told us all the ins and outs of this amazing organization.
Carnival of Love was founded with the purpose of making a difference in the lives of children– children that truly need it. There is no encompassing commonality between all the children that have been helped by Carnival of Love, besides the fact that they needed some sort of help. Their problems range from facing cancer and other illnesses, to struggling with autism, or simply being from lower income areas.
Despina tells us she is most proud of how her organization picks who to help. It is through endless research. They take suggestions from friends, family and the community, and then they physically go and find out where their donations are going. For each organization they donate to, they learn every aspect of, do site visits, ask for financials, and learn it inside and out, making sure it’s an organization that truly makes a difference.
To give you and idea of what Carnival of Love does, last year they helped children with pediatric cancer. Before that, they organized soccer programs for children with autism. They’ve put together tech programs for children with cancer, organized classes with illustrators to teach them to draw, held surfing programs, and donated Ipads to educational institutions for students with autism.
There are thousands of organizations that donate money to research, which is immensely important, but Despina says Carnival of Love’s purpose is different– they want to make life for these children not just bearable, but fun. Having to give up your childhood to battle cancer is the toughest thing a kid can do, so Carnival of Love makes sure they do their best not to make that happen.
“Dancing with the Stars” at St Mary’s Hospital for Children
This year’s cause will be related to nutrition and wellness– and fighting obesity and diabetes. There will be fitness programs and healthy eating programs, and for the first time ever, there will be a real life Carnival of Love held for children and parents on June 7th. You can bet we’ll be there.
If there’s one thing we really, really loved about Carnival of Love, (besides, y’know, that they help children), it’s the amount of passion that Despina and the rest of the team have for this project. Everyone involved with Carnival of Love is a volunteer– most work 9 to 5 jobs. Despina herself is a full time attorney at the Law Offices of Kulakis and Christoforatos! The great part, she says, is that every member of Carnival of Love has the full support of their employers– making it even more worthwhile.
Carnival of Love donation to help support their Yoga & Sunrise on Wheels programs for children with cancer & their siblings.
SO HOW CAN YOU HELP? Like we said, Carnival of Love runs on volunteers. For the board, for events, for administration– volunteers are always welcome. They’ve got everything from accountants and attorneys working pro-bono, to teachers with free summers, to students looking for community service hours. If you’re looking to make a difference in the life of a child, Carnival of Love is our pick for the place to do it!
You can learn more about Carnival of Love and all their projects here.