he national nonprofit empowers local volunteers to become catalysts for change in their communities
Longmont, Colo., June 28, 2022 — Can’d Aid, the people-powered nonprofit with a national footprint, is creating a movement that rallies people from all walks of life to become catalysts for change in their communities. At the core of Can’d Aid’s mission is a sense of community and a genuine belief that everyone has the ability to give back and do good. Since its inception in 2013, the organization has built meaningful relationships with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and corporate partners to drive real change.
Through a unique and integrated approach that incorporates sustainability, disaster relief, physical health and mental wellness, Can’d Aid’s programs provide critical resources to communities in need and are creating transformational impacts across the country.
While those impacts are tangible, you can see them throughout communities in murals, on kids biking with Can’d Aid logos on their helmets, and in parks where volunteers help clean up outdoor spaces, the movement that Can’d Aid is building is more abstract. The movement, and the feeling of doing good that Can’d Aid makes accessible to volunteers nationwide, is woven into the hearts of communities.
Paying It Forward
One of Can’d Aid’s core programs is disaster relief, where the nonprofit works to deliver emergency drinking water to communities in need. In 2016, at the height of the water crisis in Flint, Mich., Can’d Aid delivered 200,000 cans of drinking water to the community.
Five years later in 2021, a Flint resident who had received and relied upon Can’d Aid’s clean drinking water for several months became a part of the movement again, when they volunteered with their employer Journeys to build skateboards for children in need through Can’d Aid’s Treads + Trails program. This pay it forward moment reinforced the power of what a single act of kindness can do, and how easily the ripple effect of goodness grows.
“Working with Can'd Aid on building skateboards was a full circle, surreal experience for me,” said Shelby Coleman, Journeys employee and Can’d Aid volunteer. “Can'd Aid donated water to my city when we were in dire need during the beginning of the water crisis and it felt so good in my soul to help them out by working on boards for kids.”
Inspiring an Inclusive Park
In 2021, Can’d Aid partnered with a Colorado-based company to provide volunteer opportunities for employees. As the company worked with Can’d Aid to build and distribute bicycles and skateboards for youth in the area, one employee was determined to continue the mission to provide healthy outlets for all children.
That employee was Lauren Bowling. Lauren and her husband Richard are the parents of six -year-old Braxton and five-year-old twins Mack and Miles. Miles has cerebral palsy and is dependent on a wheelchair for his mobility. Lauren’s family does not have access to an accessible playground in her community, and she had a dream to build one that would provide inclusive opportunities for all children in the area.
Once Lauren was introduced to Can’d Aid’s mission to provide underserved youth with the tools they need to lead healthy and active lives during the work-sponsored volunteer project, she became a part of the movement. Lauren brought her idea to build an accessible park to the Can’d Aid team, and the nonprofit is now working to make this park a reality. The Berthoud Adaptive Park Project is well underway with the goal to build a fully inclusive park that will provide access to healthy play for all children in the area.
“Can’d Aid works to empower people to make change where they need it most,” said Diana Ralston, executive director of Can’d Aid. “We are inspiring more and more people to become catalysts for change, and this inclusive park project is one example where we’re seeing the movement encourage people to take action and build inclusivity and wellness into their community.”
Empowering the Next Generation of Musicians
In communities nationwide, Can’d Aid’s programs also provide an opportunity for people to share their love of the arts and to foster creativity and joy. The nonprofit creates community murals, where neighbors volunteer to help paint and create on a local wall. These murals not only allow individuals to tap into their inner artist, but also act as meeting places for neighbors to connect and learn more about one another.
Through its Music + Arts program, Can’d Aid also facilitates instrument donations to support music programs in underserved school districts. On the day of the donations, Can'd Aid works with award-winning professional musicians, like the Steep Canyon Rangers, to provide inspiring live performances for students. Artists stop in classrooms across the US while on tour – sharing their experiences as professional musicians, providing hands-on musical interaction and often introducing students to new genres of music like bluegrass, funk and americana.
Beyond being great opportunities to inspire children to become the next generation of artists, something more simple is at work: music inspires and heals. Increasing access to music education and instruments for America’s youth continues to play an important role in combating skyrocketing rates of mental illness, anxiety and depression.
“It’s really beautiful to see the pure joy of kids. They are clapping and cheering about getting to play their new instruments with us. It’s what music is all about,” said Josh Fairman, who plays bass and synth for the electrofunk band SunSquabi.
After years of partnership with Can’d Aid’s Music + Arts program as TUNES Ambassadors, Josh and the band joined Can’d Aid in Colorado this spring for a donation of instruments in their hometown. “I was so excited to work with Can’d Aid to give the students in Longmont, Colo., new instruments. It was really meaningful to give back to a school in my hometown where I was also introduced to a love for music,” said Kevin Donohue, guitarist and keyboardist for SunSquabi.
The Can’d Aid Movement
With help of Can’d Aid volunteers nationwide, more than 2 million cans of water have been distributed, over 9,600 skateboards and bikes and 4,000 art kits have been built for underserved youth, more than 3,000 instruments have been donated and the equivalent of 73 million aluminum cans have been recycled.
“It turns out that doing good also feels good, and people are excited to share that feeling,” says Ralston. “That’s what keeps our volunteers and partners coming back to Can’d Aid. Whether they were introduced to us at work, were the beneficiaries of one of our programs, or from a friend that is a part of the movement already, we’re seeing that people are looking for ways to be part of something larger than themselves and are continuing our mission in ways that are most meaningful to them.”
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About Can’d Aid
Can’d Aid is a nationally recognized nonprofit that rallies volunteers from all walks of life to build thriving communities. Through their unique integrated approach, they distribute water, increase access and opportunities for underserved youth to experience music, arts and the outdoors; and protect and restore the environment. Since inception in 2013, more than 2 million cans of water have been distributed, over 9,600 skateboards and bikes and 4,000 art kits have been built for underprivileged youth, more than 3,000 instruments have been donated and the equivalent of 73 million aluminum cans have been recycled. To donate, volunteer or learn more, please visit candaid.org.