By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
The annual Toy Party by For the Kid in All Of Us is changing it up this year with a new day, a new venue, and new events before, during and after the party. Peach spoke to FTK Board President Lynn Barfield, who is heading the Toy Party celebration one last time before taking on the job as Operations Manager for Atlanta Pride.
Tell us about the work that For the Kid does
FTK is a nonprofit that partners with other nonprofits and agencies who service underprivileged children in our city and state. We hope to bridge communities and enrich the quality of life for the children in the programs that our beneficiaries so tirelessly manage. Our three programs – Kids to Kamp, Back Pack in the Park, and, of course, the amazing Toy Party help us to help these organizations to collect resources that their budget and manpower may not be able to provide. And we do it because it’s a joy and we know that every backpack and every toy helps to bring happiness to a child.
The Toy Party is changing venue and day this year – tell us about all the new things?
We will be at Opera Nightclub this year! We will be going back to a Sunday night that is later in the month, Sunday, December 16th. That way we don’t compete with any football game or many of the corporate parties that happen around town earlier in the month. Plus, in 15 years, it’s time to shake it up! And Toy Party will have a live auction this year, led by local auctioneer and fundraising guru, Dean Crownover! It’s so much fun!
Tell us about what guests can expect – what’s new and what’s familiar?
For VIPs, there is the incredible upstairs of the ‘Opera House’ to enjoy exclusively! In addition to the live auction, there will be a few games that people can participate in to have fun while providing needed funds, as well as two DJ, and a live band. And for folks that love it, we will still have a silent auction this year, fabulous food, and lots to drink!
This is your last year as board president of For the Kid – what are some of the important things you have learned through your work?
I have learned that the mission of this organization is not about the people on the board, or even the volunteers or how much money is raised. It’s about the people who are on the receiving end of the accomplishment. I have learned that this Atlanta community can come together and make a difference. We all do it together, and that makes it SO worthwhile. And to be humble – humbleness is an underrated and needed characteristic in this world.
Who will replace you, and what piece of advice would you like to give your successor?
Jeff Mayhew is the president-elect for FTK. My advice to Jeff is to let the community help. Tell them what you need, and they will make it happen. Continue to embrace change as an organization which not only means what you do, but who is on the board, and who is represented on that board – all aspects of diversity in the community need to have a say at the table. We represent a spectrum of children and organizations and the board, volunteers and community partners needs to reflect that spectrum.
What sort of impression do you think you will leave on For the Kid?
I hope I leave a good impression. LOL. I will be very honest and say I wasn’t the perfect board president in many ways (no one is!), and I may not have always made decisions that everyone agreed with at times. But agreement is not the factor – it’s the children that we serve. My heart has been in it, and that never lies. And I hope I leave the other board members and volunteers with the feeling that FTK is an organization that they should be proud of being a part of – no other organization does what we do and continue to strive to be the best steward of the community it can be.