Alaska Kids for
Kids was started on May
9, 2011 by Sarah Mixsell when she turned 9 years old. On that birthday, Sarah
decided that rather than receiving gifts from her friends, she asked that
each person bring a gift that could be donated to AWAIC (Abused Women's Aid in
Crisis), a residential center in Anchorage that provides shelter for abused
women and their children. At her party, her friends also assembled 24 "birthday
parties in a bag". Each bag included a cake mix, frosting, candles,
plates/napkins/forks/cups and party favors for 8 people. When a child staying at the
AWAIC center has a birthday, they can select a new gift from the birthday closet
and have a party. Most children staying at AWAIC bring few things from their
home and rarely have much to call their own while at the center since most
things are shared. These gifts gave children at AWAIC an opportunity to
celebrate their special day with a gift and party, despite their challenging
As a result of that experience, Sarah founded Alaska Kids for Kids. Each year on her birthday she selects another youth focused group to support during the coming year. The organization encourages other kids to participate and share ideas on how they make a difference.
In 2012-13, Sarah and her friends made earring and necklace sets offered for a suggested donation of $7.00. She raised over $1500. 100% of those proceeds were donated to the Child Life Program at the Alaska Children's Hospital at Providence in Anchorage. This program provides services to reduce trauma and stress for children and their families interfacing with the hospital.
In 2013-14, Alaska Kids for Kids supported the Passage House Program at Covenant House. Passage House provides housing for homeless teen mothers and their babies and helps them develop independent living skills. Alaska Kids for Kids provided a range of supplies for the mothers and for the common good of the house as well as provided volunteer mothers' helper services. Sarah was recognized as an Alaska Communication Summer of Heroes award winner and was selected as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Youth in Philanthropy Award winner.
In 2014-15, Alaska Kids for Kids selected Foster Kids of Alaska. Sarah earned her Red Cross Baby Sitting certificate and donated all babysitting proceeds from the year to fund purchase of back packs filled with essentials for foster children transitioning to new homes. She was recognized as an Alaska Spirit of Youth award winner.
In 2015-16, Alaska Kids for Kids began hosting a Skate a Thon in partnership with Alaska Association of Figure skaters at Dimond Center in Anchorage. Funds raised by participants are split equally between the organization chosen by Alaska Kids for Kids and the youth groups participating in the Skate a Thon. Alaska Kids for Kids raised funds for Clare House (Catholic Social Services), a residential facility for homeless mothers and their children. Alaska Kids for Kids raised $3000 for Clare House and participating youth groups such as Girl Scouts, sports teams, and school groups.
In 2016-17, Alaska Kids for Kids held the 2nd Annual Skate a Thon raising funds and conducting a food drive for Children's Lunch Box (Bean's Cafe) and participating youth groups raising over $5500 in funds and donations. Particpants at the event included Keegan Messing, a member of the Skate Canada Olympic Team and the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves Hockey team.
In 2017-18, Alaska Kids for Kids held the 3rd Annual Skate a Thon raising funds for the Arc of Anchorage Sparc program. The Sparc is a creative space where Arc clients create and sell their artwork to express their creativity and contribute to independent living. A silent auction and art supplies drive were held in conjunction with the Skate a Thon rasing $3300. In addition to Keegan Messing and the UAA Seawolves Hockey team, Special Olympics skaters were featured in a skating exhibition during the event.
In 2019-19, Alaska Kids for Kids held the 4th Annual Skate A Thon raising funds for Girl Scouts of Alaska. The $3000 in funds raised during this event were designated to help establish a new Girl Scout Troop at Covenant House to increase stability and belonging among mothers and girls staying there. The funds raised were used to send girls in that new troop to Girl Scout Camp.