Passion 4 K.I.D.S., an Encinitas-based 501 (c)(3) nonprofit for children, was honored with the “California Heroes Award” from the California Senate.
Senator Joel Anderson presented the prestigious award to Charles and Linda Van Kessler, founders of Passion 4 K.I.D.S. He noted “These awards are given to unsung heroes in our community”.
Passion 4 K.I.D.S. has helped more than 1,000 children in the San Diego community and hundreds more around the country, including the children of many military heroes.
Passion 4 K.I.D.S. (Kids In Desperate Situations) deals with handicapped, neglected, abandoned, abused and underprivileged children of any race, color and creed as well as children in acute, life-threatening, emergency situations in the United States. These are the “forgotten” children whose young lives have been turned upside down, that fall through the cracks with little or no insurance or government programs available to help them. Passion 4 K.I.D.S. is best recognized for its work with Baby Izaiah. The special-needs child, now 8, was struck by a drunk driver while in his stroller in 2010 when he was 18 months old. He remains paralyzed from the chest down, can't speak and has brain damage. Upon learning about Izaiah, Passion 4 K.I.D.S. raised $100,000 to purchase the boy's family a home in Vista and recruited 65 local businesses to contribute to a home makeover. The Van Kesslers have also purchased a handicap-access van and have covered unexpected expenses for the child's family.
Charles Van Kessler was raised in a state-run orphanage in Amsterdam, Holland, during World War II after his family was snatched away in front of him at age 2 by the Nazis, and he suffered abuse of every kind and malnutrition.
Passion 4 K.I.D.S. is a family-run charity that works hands-on daily with the children it is honored to serve. In addition to receiving a Proclamation from the City of San Diego, Passion 4 K.I.D.S. also received a Certificate of Recognition for its work by the California State Legislature as well as by the U.S. Congress through Congressman Darrell Issa. They were recently featured in Forbes.com. For more information, visit www.passion4kids.org. — Submitted news release