In 2005, Jordan Paden checked into Children’s Mercy at 11 years old knowing something was wrong. 4 ½ months later she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Jordan would end up in and out of the hospital for years to follow. The Paden family had been close with Nick and Jake’s owners, Kevin Timmons and Doug Watkins. After visiting Jordan in the hospital, Timmons discovered how bored she was sitting in the bed all day long. He also discovered how difficult it was for her to stay caught up in school. It was then that Fore the Kids would begin a partnership with the children’s hospital to help raise funds for new laptops that both patients and doctors could use.
As the years passed, the need for new technology would grow. Fore the Kids switched from laptops to iPads, providing one for every long-term bed in the hospital. They started a dog therapy program. They opened “Leo’s Place”, a playroom for childhood cancer patients, as well as a sports medicine clinic in southern Johnson County. And in 2015 and 2016 Fore the Kids raised over $980,000 to purchase three much needed fully equipped ambulances for the hospital.
Today our mission has shifted from technology to mind. For years the topic of suicide and depression for school-aged children has been so taboo and terrifying to talk about, but the fact of the matter is, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the united states for anyone between the ages of 10-24. More teenagers die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
The “Nick’s Voice” fund was created in 2017 to support the behavioral sciences department at Children’s Mercy that specializes in depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. 2017 helped bring 19 new social workers to the Blue Valley School District that began their work directly with students at risk of suicide, but who might not need immediate hospital attention. The goal is to help Children’s Mercy shorten their wait list for mental health needs and ensure that our children are getting the care they require. We hope to create a dramatic effect on the suicide rates in the Kansas City area for young people.