In 15 years, the KLING STREET KIDS have provided over $182,031.95 to other kids who are in need.
In the Beginning…
Callie & Cady (then ages 9 & 7) – two sisters living on Kling Street in Toluca Lake, California had an idea. They wanted to hold a holiday fundraiser and give whatever they made to other children who may not be as fortunate as they are at Christmas time. They asked their twin neighbors across the street, Libby & Grady (ages 8), if they wanted to help. Together, the quartet formed “The Kling Street Kids” in December of 2002. The Kling Street Kids started by selling coffee, doughnuts, hot chocolate, pizza and handmade reindeer ornaments outside their homes the mornings of December 23 & 24. Through the generosity of their neighborhood and the local Starbucks of Toluca Lake, they raised $549.57 that they donated as a Christmas present to the Los Angeles Chapter of Make-A-Wish.
In 2003, they made their efforts an annual event and got Krispy Kreme and Trader Joe’s to join Starbucks as sponsors. They expanded their sales efforts by holding an outdoor free screening of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The kids nearly quadrupled their first year’s efforts and raised $2,065.47 that they donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
In 2004, they increased their reach by including some additional Toluca Lake businesses (most notably Pergolina and Prosecco Restaurant) as their sponsors in addition to Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Trader Joe’s. Oliver Holt Christmas Trees even donated a tree to display their handmade reindeer ornaments. Callie & Cady’s next-door neighbor and classmate, Khoe (then age 12), joined the Kling Street Kids to help them in their efforts. Together, they broke their record in the first day and donated $3,001.04 to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in addition to 156 boxes of cookies from Cady’s Girl Scout Troup.
In 2005, co-founders Grady & Libby moved to North Carolina but 2 other neighbors, Mary (7th grade) and Paul (2nd grade) joined the Kling Street Kids. New as sponsors were Vons supermarket and Ty, Inc (makers of Beanie Babies stuffed toys). The girls sold the Beanie Babies for adoption and all 102 of them were delivered at 3:00 pm on December 24th to the kids spending Christmas Eve in the hospital. The local CBS2 and KCAL9 news actually did a special story on the success of the Kling Street Kids, and the response was overwhelming, resulting in their biggest success to date with $6,216.75 going directly to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
In 2006, their motto “KIDS HELPING KIDS” really held true as children from streets all over Toluca Lake joined in to make it a smashing success. The volunteers grew from 5 members to 15 representing 4 other streets in Toluca Lake. They also had enormous help from outside the area from kids in both Burbank and Pasadena! New members were Grace (3), Megan, Chris & Katie, Lindsay, Philip & Christina, McKenzie & Spencer, Molly, Nicole and Kendall. Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Pergolina, and Prosecco were back again, but new sponsors were FedEx Kinkos, Cinema Secrets, Fast Frame, The Magnolia Grill and Sweet Life. Another new addition this year was the radio station KISS FM. They generously promoted and provided music and free give-aways for the event. On Christmas Eve, the adopted stuffed animals and lots of cookies and cakes were delivered again to the nurses and patients in Children’s Hospital. When the kids returned home, 10 tons of snow was delivered in their Toluca Lake neighborhood so that all the volunteers could enjoy a white Christmas!
Also in 2006, they began the BEAT THE STREET campaign challenging and then tallying the Most Generous TOP 10 STREETS of Toluca Lake who contributed to their record breaking success of $10,015.02!
2007 grew even more with a record 25 kids joining in (Courtney, Sophia, Sara, Analisa, Kate, Emmy & Tess were new to the group this year). Ty Beanie Babies again donated 324 Beanie Babies that the Kling Street Kids “adopted” for the kids spending Christmas Eve in the hospital. Together they raised a record $12,577.26 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
2008 was another successful year, despite the downturn in the economy. KIIS-FM was back, the Beanie Baby adoption, the silent auction, the snow, and most of our sponsors including new Toluca Lake businesses who joined in our campaign right inside their stores. Six new kids from the area joined the group – including 5-year-old Sophia who joined by completely emptying out both of her piggy banks. Together, $10,368.50 was raised for the hospital.
The Kling Street Kids were out in force during the Toluca Lake Holiday Open House to launch the December long campaign in 2009. Radio Disney & KIISfm were back as sponsors along with Starbucks, Trader Joes, The Magnolia Grille, FedEx Kinkos, Pergolina, Fast Frame, Lakeside Car Wash, The Packaging Store, Toluca Tots, Tamara Dahill, The UPS Store, Toyota, Paty’s and Eleanors Barber Shop. 2009 brought in an additional $10,893.20.
The 9th Annual Event in 2010 was a remarkable milestone for The Kling Street Kids. Union Ice, Jellycats, Flowers Talk, Franks restaurant, Mucho Mas restaurant, Sharky’s Red Barn Seed & Saddlery & Milt & Edie’s Drycleaning were added as the newest sponsors and The Kling Street Kids membership grew to over 65 members. Holiday Glitter Tattoos were also added as a popular draw to the event. In addition to the toys and 156 “adopted” Beanie Babies that were brought to the hospital on Christmas Eve, the group brought in a staggering $21,178.01 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles! In addition, the tragic passing of the c0-founders Callie & Cady’s beloved mother, Michelle Nicastro, also brought in an additional round of donations on top of that in honor of Michelle & the Kling Street Kids.
The 10th Annual 2011 Event was scheduled again for December 23 & 24th on Kling Street. The Beanie Babies were back, along with the Incredible Silent Auction Items and lots more. Due to the growing group of kid volunteers from streets all over the area, the Kling Street Kids adapted their name this year to become “MY SWEET STREET – The Kling Street Kids” since the organization has grown way beyond Kling Street since it’s inception in 2002. Sponsors included Starbucks, Trader Joes, Toyota, Radio Dsiney, The UPS Store, Jellycat Inc., Red Barn Seed & Saddlery, Pillow Pets, Hearts 4 Hearts Girls, Hotel Amarano, Arde’s Bistro, Bob’s Big Boy, The Counter, Dr. Meredith Duncan, Dylan Keith Salon, Honeybaked Ham, IHSC, Menchies, Mindfulnest, Mo’s, Moksha Yoga LA, NAil Garden, Red Door Lounge, Robanos, Sharky’s, 360 Fitness, the Toluca Lake Tennis Club, KIISfm and the Tolucan. All together, $18,071.14 was raised bringing the total raised in 10 years to $94,935.96!!
The 11th Annual Event was held again in 2012 and represented a milestone raising $16,951.64 allowing the kids to surpass the $100,000 mark with a total of $111,887.60. A photo booth was added this year and in addition to our regular sponsors, we added these sponsors: Beauty by Gaby, Be The Change Medi-Spa, Marnie Cooper Acting School, Dove’s Bodies, Stefani Hemphill, MPT, Malbec, McPhee International Studios, Roclord Studio Photography, The Sports Center & Warner Horizon.
The 12th Annual Event was celebrated in 2013 and it represented the last Kling Street Kids with the original founders before Cady went off to college (having started when she was just 7 years old). Milt & Edie’s & Funxional Fitness joined as sponsors and Radio Disney was back again. Another $18,630.84 was raised which brought the overall total to $130,518.44 that has gone directly to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
In 2014, the 13th Annual Event took place despite Callie & Cady both being in college at U.S.C. It was a reunion for many of the kids while a whole new group of kids signed on to join up to continue the tradition. The ten tons of snow, Starbucks, Pillow Pets, Toyota, The UPS Store, Red Barn Seed & Saddlery, Hotel Amarano, Sharky’s Toluca Lake Tennis & Fitness, Menchies, Milt & Edies Drycleaners, Tamara Dahill, The Sweat Shoppe, The Spa on Rodeo, Himalaya Sun all generously sponsored the event. New this year was a bounce house sponsored by one of our new Kling Street neighbors and The School of Rock in Burbank came to entertain during the 23rd! The whole affair was featured in the Daily News, followed by a presentation from the City of Los Angeles from Councilman Tom LaBonge and then Fritz Coleman did an incredible story on the event on KNBC two days before. Once again, the kids dropped hundreds of adopted Pillow Pets and toys off at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in time for Christmas. After they wrapped, an additional $14,179.03 was presented to the hospital bringing the 13 year total to $144,967.47.
In 2015, the 14th Annual Event…
Was a huge success as new families threw their time and talent towards the event. In addition to our first ever bounce houses, all of the popular attractions were back and an incredible performance by School of Rock plus 2 beautiful days, brought the fundraising efforts to the 2nd highest in our history.
$20,457.37 bringing the 14 year total to $165,424.84!
In 2016, the 15h Annual Event was back…
And 3 new families took the reigns from the original founders as they both had graduated to college and needed the help. Despite a rainy first day, along with the snow, delicious treats, face painters, glitter tattoos, Pillow Pet Adoption and the largest silent auction ever created, the event also featured art classes, balloon animals, bubble magic, a petting zoo, pony rides, Los Angeles Fire Truck tours and the first ever, Christmas Train down Kling Street.
$16,607.11 was raised from the event bringing the 15 year total to $182,031.95!.
In the 15 years, over 130 children and their families have volunteered to sponsor the event (30 of them have contributed over multiple years).
To date, Callie & Cady have been recognized by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, the California State Assembly, The California State Legislature, the California Senate and the United States Congress and, in 2006, they were honored with the Imagination Award from Hillsides Home for Children “Children Stand for Children” annual banquet.
The Kling Street Kids have been featured on KIIS-FM, the KCBS, KNBC, KCAL and ABC7 news and featured in The Daily News, The Tolucan, The Maypol and as “Shining Stars” in the national November 2006 issue of American Girl Magazine. In March, 2007, they were honored with the Good Neighbor Award from the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce. In July of 2007, they received the “Heroes Among Us” Award from Councilman Tom LaBonge to honor individuals who work tirelessly and unselfishly to help others and to strengthen their communities. In August of 2011, Cady was sponsored by Playmate Toy’s “Hearts 4 Hearts Girls” doll line and honored with an A.L.L.Y. (Allykatzz Leads Linking Youth) Award presented by actress Monique Coleman at the International Year of Youth Culmination Celebration at the ECOSOC Chamber at the UN Headquarters in New York City.