Kiddo Life encourages creativity, generosity and gratitude while growing up

With all the complex challenges in the world around us it can be hard for anyone to feel empowered to make a positive impact. Imagine processing all these confusing images and mixed messages as a child.

Kids often have a way of seeing the world and a lot of problems they encounter with an honesty, creativity and drive to act that we grown-ups lose somewhere along the way. A socially conscious local start-up called Kiddo Life aims to give kids an outlet to use their creativity to make donations that help other kids.

Kiddo Life’s online portal, art station programs at events and school programs starting in January encourage kids to create original artwork that is then printed onto items like T-shirts, hats and tote bags. Friends and family can buy the wearable art and 35 per cent of the purchase can be directed by the young artist to one of five local charities serving children.

Julie Denhamer, Kiddo Life’s Founder, was inspired to create this initiative as a mother herself and the launch of Kiddo Life around Christmas is no mistake.

“The holiday season is when we tend to think about charitable giving and introduce it to our kids. We don’t think about it much outside this season, but I believe it can be socialized through our lives throughout the year,” Denhamer says.

The holidays are a perfect time to also take stock of how much we consume; another of Kiddo Life’s goals. “We’d like to combat fast fashion. By making something unique, kids learn that what they wear can mean more and that the money spent on clothes can also make a positive impact,” Denhamer explains.

The five charities kids can choose to direct their giving to include those that help cover immediate needs, like Inn from the Cold and Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, as well as organizations whose work addresses longer-term challenges encountered by youth like Woods Homes, The Brenda Stafford Centre and Safe Haven Society.

In choosing a charity, parents and kids get to learn about the organizations and talk about what some families face. “We are all the same, when it comes down to it. Things can happen to any family that can affect their circumstances. Everyone is equal,” Denhamer reflects. “Kiddo Life takes a humanistic approach to socialize awareness, instill gratitude and encourage sharing.”

With opportunities to host Kiddo Life art stations at birthday parties as well as community, school and sports events, the initiative also promises to build community through playful creativity. Given what a discerning collector I have become of my nephews’ artwork, I expect the creations that come out of Kiddo Life will be met with great enthusiasm, and raise money and awareness for some important youth charities here in Calgary.

For more information about Kiddo Life and the charities they support, please visit

Vicki Stroich is a Calgary based theatre artist and arts administrator with a passion for the arts, culture and the environment.