Childhood is a time of wonder, exploration, and learning. At Kids Co., we understand the important role we play in helping to raise the next generation.
Many of our kids are with us from age five (and sometimes age three) to 12. They spend their critical years with us and build meaningful relationships with staff members. Even those who are with us for shorter periods, often create strong lasting bonds.
Many of these kids and families stay in contact with Kids Co. far past their elementary school years. They may serve on our board, contribute to our campaigns, stay in touch, or volunteer in our centers. Others may lose touch with us once they have grown up.
When we applied for a grant from the International Paper Foundation to fund tablets for our centers to give our kids access to audiobooks and boost literacy skills, we never imagined it would reconnect us with a Kids Co. kid all grown up!
As a kid, Ryan Eng attended Kids Co.’s summer camps. At the end of November, he returned to Kids Co. to deliver a $3,500 check from the International Paper Foundation. We took the opportunity to catch up with Ryan and learn more about what he is doing now. Here’s what Ryan had to say*:
How did you first become involved with Kids Co.?
I became involved with Kids Co. as a child in the summer camp program at John Hay Elementary School.
Do you have any fun Kids Co. memories to share?
My fondest memory of Kids Co. is the counselors who provided a space for all of the children to interact, learn, and have fun.
What is your current job?
I am a scientist at International Paper Company working on the development of sustainable cellulose fiber for absorbent hygiene products. Hygiene products include baby diapers, feminine care, and adult incontinence. I am pleased to be part of the supply chain that provides comfort and security to people of all ages around the world.
How did you get involved with the International Paper Foundation grants?
When I joined International Paper Company there were a few extracurricular programs with openings. The role of the local liaison for the International Paper Foundation spoke to me the most. The Foundation is committed to creating a positive impact where employees work and live. As a lifelong resident to the greater Seattle area, I seek to give back to the community that raised me to be the person I am today.
Why is philanthropy important to you?
I believe everyone deserves a chance at life. My intention in philanthropy is to provide recipients with the resources to build their happiness and maintain it. Organizations like Kids Co. ensure the right tools are distributed to the right people.
Our grant is being used to purchase tablets for audiobook access. What types of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite? What was your favorite book as a child?
My favorite genre of books is fantasy. Growing up I adored many series, but my favorite was Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Books written in detail transport you to a new world no matter what time or place you are in.
What was it like visiting Kids Co. as an adult?
As an adult, visiting Kids Co. let me see a more complete picture on the operations that goes on behind the scenes to provide the quality child care services offered.
It was so much fun spending time getting reacquainted with Ryan. If you are a Kids Co. kid all grown up, we would love to reconnect. Send us a message, and we can schedule a time to catch up.
Kids Co. is grateful to our community partners, including Ryan Eng and the International Paper Foundation. To learn how you or your organization can support Kids Co., visit our giving page.
*The responses given represent the personal opinions of Ryan Eng and do not reflect the opinions of International Paper Company.