Feature Friday: Kids Up Front
I love the non-profit sector of Calgary. The people who run programs, build partnerships and pour their hearts and souls into something to make Calgary a great city for everyone are truly inspiring. Nicky Nash of Kids Up Front is no exception. This woman works with passion and purpose to ensure that kids in Calgary are able to access great recreational activities. Here's just a bit more about her and what she does.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your work. Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Nicky Nash and I am the Executive Director at Kids Up Front Foundation (Calgary). I have been with the organization since 2012 and I love every minute of it! We’re a small team of 3 full time and 1-part time staff (we like to think we’re small but mighty). Kids Up Front serves deserving kids in Calgary and area; we provide them with free access to amazing recreational opportunities. This ranges from sporting events and theatre to live music and field trips!
I am a born and raised Alberta girl and very proud of that! I was born in Calgary, AB but raised in the small and sweet town of Hussar, Alberta located about an hour east of Calgary. My lovely parents and many of my relatives still reside there.
What inspires you to do what you do? How did you start doing this work?
My work inspires me every day. Whether it is a heart-warming story from one of our partnering agencies or a super cute thank you card that arrives in the mail from one of our kids, it truly is a privilege to work at Kids Up Front every day. It is a pleasure to work with all of my colleagues who are equally passionate about what we do and the kids we serve and I sincerely value what they bring to the table every single day. We simply couldn’t do what we do without their hard-work and dedication.
I come from an experiential marketing background managing events, promotions and marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies like Coca-Cola and L’Oréal Paris. I loved my time in that sector and worked for several years on fascinating campaigns. I was eventually moved into a recruitment role for two years, diving into something new to see what it was all about.
I enjoyed my time in the role but very quickly started to realize I simply was not built for that role or department. I had taken on a voluntary role within the company at the time to manage our community caring initiatives, and I found myself dedicating more hours to that voluntary role than my paid position. This made me think “maybe this is what I am meant to be doing.” It was one of those “A-ha” moments as Oprah likes to say (love her).
So I decided within a few days to quit my job and start looking in the non-profit sector. Luckily, I saw a job posting for Kids Up Front and applied… the rest is history!
What inspires you most about your community?
My community inspires me and surprises me (in a good way) all the time. I am so lucky to be a member of many diverse, interesting and inspiring communities. The Calgary social media community, the non-profit sector with all its sponsors, donors and champions, and the Kids Up Front volunteers and supporters are just a few groups that I am so lucky to collaborate with each and every day.
Calgary is a big city with a small-town vibe. Everyone always says “this is such a small city” because everyone is truly connected in some way. I love that. It is a community that comes together when we need to, and we always make it through adversity even stronger than we were before. I think that is an Alberta trait. We work hard, play hard and step up when needed. We help each other out and rise to the occasion.
If you could give anyone who is starting out in your field one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say that they should be prepared to work very hard but to have one of the best experiences of their life. Prepare to love what you do and to be connected to amazing people. I’m definitely not saying that it is easy, but it is worth every ounce of effort, every tweet, every email and every overtime hour.
Tell me three fun facts about Kids Up Front.
- We are a small but mighty team of 4.
- Kids Up Front started right here in Calgary in 2000 and has expanded to Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.
- We partner with over 209 social service agencies and charities to distribute our tickets. This gives us a reach of over 100,000 kids in Southern Alberta.
How can people get in touch?
Kids Up Front Calgary:
Facebook: Kids Up Front Calgary
Do you know of a person, business, non-profit or other organization doing amazing work in Calgary? Tell me about it! Visit the Feature Friday page for more information!