SHERIDAN — Before Giving Tuesday and end-of-year donations were on the minds of businesses and community members, a local business was drumming up ways to give back to the community of Sheridan.
Kid Curious toy shop owners and mother-in-law, daughter-in-law duo Jamie and Kim Franzman, respectively, were driven to give back to Sheridan, making their business model bigger than simply selling toys.
Sheridan has countless options for businesses and individuals to give back during the holiday season, but the Franzmans wanted a project aligned with what was close to their hearts: children.
“Anything we try and do, we like it to benefit,” Kim Franzman started, “directly to children,” Jamie Franzman finished.
So, the two set out calling places around town, starting with the YMCA, which led them to the local Rotary Club and its Sheridan High School club counterpart, Interact Club. That connection led them to Sandy Thiel, a woman with many hats including Rotary Club member, Sheridan High School Interact Club liaison and Big Brothers Big Sisters director of community engagement.
Her collaborative connections birthed the perfect nonprofit project for Kid Curious: a giving tree.
The giving tree, located in the northwest corner of the store, includes several colorful stars on a lit white tree. Each star has a code identifying a child only for Thiel for distributing purposes, followed by gender, age and gift item desired underneath.
The tree, constructed and decorated by SHS Interact Club — the high school arm of the Rotary Club in Sheridan — has been standing in Kid Curious since Nov. 20.
Participants are asked to choose a star, purchase the gift, wrap the gift and return it to Kid Curious or Thiel with the star attached to the top of the wrapped gift. Thiel will deliver gifts to members of Big Brothers Big Sisters between Dec. 18 and 24.
Unwrapped gifts will also be accepted, as the Interact Club students will wrap them, Thiel said.
“We’re very excited Kid Curious was interested in doing a child-oriented giving tree, which is really awesome.” Thiel said. “We put on the tree kids who were…well below poverty level.”
Thiel said anyone can be in Big Brothers Big Sisters, but for this project, they chose the families for which it would have the most meaning. The impact goes beyond the children receiving the gifts, though, as the students preparing were positively impacted, too.
Sheridan High School senior and Interact Club co-president Samie Phillips ensured people in the club wanted to participate before they began the project. She and her co-president asked the groups if they were interested in helping out.
“They were just ecstatic about it, so we decided we’d do it,” Phillips said. “Our next meeting, we cut out the ornaments and ribboned them so they were ready for Sandy (Thiel) to write on them.”
Phillips said she loves helping people and volunteering, so this project of reaching out to children in her community resonated with her.
Now, community members can participate in giving back by choosing a star from the tree and purchasing the gift for a Big Brothers Big Sisters child before Dec. 24.
*Note: This article was updated to correct inconsistencies in the name of the high school club. The Press regrets this error.