Message From our Founder
Our founder, Kevin Van Norman established Opportunity4Kids with his brother, Jeff Van Norman, because he witnessed too many unfair opportunities for kids.
Being an athlete as a child and a coach throughout his life, Kevin experienced the benefits of extra-curricular activities first-hand. He believes that participating in football, baseball and track created structure for him and helped him to become goal-oriented. Through sports, he was able to learn how to deal with success and failure. He carried these benefits into his adult life, along with the great friendships he formed because of his involvement with sports.
Kevin coached for over 20 years and each year he saw one obvious problem; families can’t afford a baseball glove, can’t pay for a musical instrument, or can’t pay the airfare for a trip the child has earned! Benefiting from extra-curricular activities himself, Kevin decided to personally sponsor underprivileged children who were unable to participate because their families could not afford it. Kevin felt rewarded every time he helped a child become a part of an extra-curricular activity because he knew how generosity would impact their lives. For years, Kevin and his brother Jeff helped provide opportunities for many children, but wanted to do more. And, they wanted to encourage others to do the same because they knew that there were many underprivileged children in the same situation. Kevin did some research and found that there were a few nonprofit organizations that allowed children to participate in sports, but none like the concept he had in mind. He wanted children to be able to play the sport that they actually wanted to play.
After discovering that there were no local organizations that allowed a child to play a sport of their choice, Kevin decided to start one himself. Underprivileged children need help paying for the expense of joining a sports team, as well as the costly equipment that they are constantly outgrowing. Kevin began planning a non-profit organization that would be called Equipment 4 Kids and involved Jeff. Their intentions were to collect donations in order to sponsor children who wanted to be a part of a particular sport, funding the expense to join and donating equipment in order to play.
Kevin and Jeff then began to think about all of the other children who wanted to be a part of an extracurricular activity, other than sports. For instance, there were children who were interested in playing an instrument, but could not afford the expense of one or the cost of lessons. They wanted to help these children as well, so they decided to expand the cause. Kevin wanted the foundation to help not only potential athletes, but also other children who wanted to get involved. He wanted to give all children the opportunity to be a part of an extra-curricular activity, thus things shifted to Opportunity 4 Kids.
Kevin’s explains, regardless of whether you form a nonprofit organization yourself or become involved with an existing one, “at the end of the day… it is about what you’ve given back.” (Denzel Washington) Kevin and Jeff have continued to lead Opportunity4Kids’ Board of Directors as the organization grows each year, providing resources to hundreds of Arizona youth!