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TFK Blog: Beyond the Ticket

PULSE Fellow Puts Heart into TFK Service Year


Serving at Tickets for Kids Charities as a Program Associate and PULSE Fellow over the past four months has been an enriching and rewarding experience. When my peers and professors at Carnegie Mellon asked me about my post-graduate plans, I was never able to give an exact answer. My parents always encouraged me to study what I was passionate about, so I pursued a B.A. in Global Studies and French. I found amazing success and gratification through studying what I felt passionate about, so when I was presented with the opportunity to work in France as an English Language Assistant for seven months, I decided to give teaching a try. And while living and working in France was extremely formative and memorable, I did not find teaching to be as rewarding as I anticipated.

When my teaching contract ended in April, I looked for job opportunities that would create meaningful and positive change. I was confident that searching for said-opportunity would fulfill my wish to pursue work that I felt passionate about, which led me to PULSE: Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience. PULSE’s mission is to cultivate a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh through a year of service. In addition to living in an intentional community (sharing a house with six other fellows) and training in personal and professional development, PULSE fellows serve 35 hours a week at nonprofits across Pittsburgh. It is through PULSE that I was given the opportunity to partner with Tickets for Kids Charities.

I was instantly drawn to Tickets for Kids because of its mission to provide kids with access to events that they normally would not have the opportunity to experience. Growing up in Pittsburgh, my fondest childhood memories are from attending Pirate’s games, going to museums, and most notably seeing the Nutcracker Ballet every Christmas with my mom. Knowing that I am helping to provide kids in Pittsburgh and across the U.S. with similar opportunities gives true meaning to the work that I’m doing.

One of the favorite parts of my job has been receiving direct feedback from events. Just the other day I received a heartwarming hand-written thank you note from a kid who attended a football game. Receiving this kind of feedback is extremely rewarding, because I am truly able to see how remarkable and impactful TFK’s mission is.

I understand why the work ethic at Tickets for Kids is so contagious – every staff member is motivated and passionate about TFK’s mission -- and I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues for the next year to continue to provide TFK Kids with amazing and memorable opportunities and experiences.

-Casey Devine

Big Cat Habitat

TFK Kids Experience The Majestic Animals Of The Jungle

Thanks to a generous donation from new partner organization Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, TFK Kids from Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. had the opportunity to learn about the exotic cats and other distinctive species that populate this large-animal rescue facility in Sarasota, Florida.

Chaperone Jeremiah Radle commented, “This was a one-of-a-kind experience for our kids to engage in and learn about our animal friends.

“Given the opportunity to interact with exotic animals from around the globe, the kids’ fears quickly changed to curiosity.

“We learned that Big Cat Habitat houses the largest population of big cat species around and rescues a variety of animals,” Radle continued. “We were educated on the dangers of owning wild animals as pets and the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. 

“The boys gained a new respect for the animals. Overall, we had an amazing and enlightening experience and are very appreciative to Big Cat Habitat for inviting us to come.”

Thank you, Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, for not only educating these TFK Kids, but also for providing an opportunity to explore this unique environment.


On a recent Saturday night in Santa Clara, California, tens of thousands of exuberant fans stood and cheered as Taylor Swift exploded onto the stage at Levi’s Stadium. The stage was all hers, but thanks to a very generous donor, TFK Kids and their families not only had the opportunity to be part of Swift’s Reputation tour, but they were placed in the best seats in the house – The Pit!

“My kids and I had such an amazing time at the Taylor Swift concert,” said one of the moms who attended. “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. It was a great way to start Mother’s Day weekend with some of the best tickets to one of the best concerts this year. Definitely a memory to hold on to.”

“The Taylor Swift concert was truly MAGICAL, the seats were AMAZING, and we all had a BLAST at the concert,” said an enthused chaperone from agency partner Gage MS. “Taylor Swift put on a show that left all of us at AWE. Thank you and we are forever GRATEFUL!

At TFK, our mission is to provide kids with experiences that inspire, and opportunities that prove anything is possible. Receiving completely unexpected tickets to the Taylor Swift concert qualifies as a mega-mission moment. Thanks again to our generous donor!

Interns Benefit from Experience


When Carlow University senior Karime Alva and Penn State senior Ryan Brown each accepted an internship at Tickets for Kids’ headquarters in Pittsburgh, they knew it would involve hard work. Assisting the nine full-time TFK staffers in providing hundreds of thousands of opportunities (220,000 in 2017) to low-income and at-risk kids takes a lot of effort.

What they didn’t expect, however, was how satisfying their hard work would be.

“We get to be surrounded by joy and happiness watching these kids have the time of their lives,” said Ryan. “It makes all the work we put into creating these opportunities worth it.”

Ryan, who will graduate in the spring with a B.A. in Marketing, and Karime, who will earn her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, joined TFK to gain some professional experience before launching their careers. While most of their time was spent in the office doing research, distributing tickets, and answering phones, it was the experiences they had outside the office that made a lasting impression. Karime, who attended a trip to the National Aviary with kids from the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, was able to see how excited they were at experiencing the Aviary and getting to see their favorite birds. “It was nice to see the kids enjoying themselves. Being in a fast-paced office, it kind of distracts you from what the true goal is, but this trip was a great refresher and shows that all the work done in the office is definitely worth it,” said Karime.

Ryan joined a group of children from The Center in Midland for a trip to the Carnegie Science Center. “Getting to know the organization first-hand and having a grasp of the importance of kids being able to have these experiences is so beneficial,” Ryan said. “For instance, one of these kids might fall in love with science or physics and now want to learn more about it. What if being at the Science Center helped create the next great scientist? I feel like that’s the goal of Tickets for Kids, to help a child embrace their dream and become someone who is going to change the world!” For more information about helping kids change the world (internships at Tickets for Kids), contact Chris Anderson at

Happy Thanksgiving

#TFKthanksyou All month long.
Throughout the year, Tickets for Kids receives countless thank you cards from kids across the county. While they come addressed to us, they’re really meant for you. Each card celebrates a moment of inspiration only possible because of you.

Whether you made a ticket donation, shared a Facebook post, or joined kids on an outing your support created moments like this.

  • “Because of you, our kids can share in the conversation as they listen to peers at school speak about the fabulous things they do and places they go. No more feeling left out!”
Thank you for being a partner in our mission.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving season!

Why the Sweat Pants Dance?!

A (very) casual cocktail party to benefit Tickets for Kids.
You might think that the opportunity to wear your yoga wear or workout attire to a cocktail party is simply enough, but in September we’ll be doing more than just celebrating in comfort. The Sweat Pants Dance is themed around the different sports and recreational opportunities that happen all year long at TFK. Thanks to supporters just like you, TFK Kids are cheering on their favorite sports teams in stadiums across the country or spending time running, jumping, skipping, and hopping outdoors.

The opportunities that TFK provides are more than fun and games and can have a big impact on the at-risk population the program reaches.

Family Bonds

A day at the ballpark is often a great opportunity for families to share quality time together. Did you know that families who recreate together tend to be closer, more cohesive and improve their chances of staying together? TFK opportunities encourage family participation whenever possible.


An outing with TFK encourages more than cheering from the stands. TFK Kids become active participants in their home communities, joining thousands of others locals can generate a new sense of community pride.


When young people feel good about themselves they operate more effectively and productively in our communities, families, and schools. Being out in the community encourages social engagement and overcoming personal challenges.

Welcome to the NEW Tickets for Kids Blog

New Year, new merger, new website TFK is growing and growing fast! This year started with big news in the form of a merger and the excitement has not slowed down since. We had a whirlwind month and connected over 17,000 TFK Kids to events across the country, held 6 agency orientations to welcome new partnerships, and launched a new website!

What’s Different Online
  • New Design – A new and improved design that features the reason for our mission – TFK Kids!
  • New ways to Connect – Our Agency partners have asked, and we have listened! Have you ever wondered about the different events TFK Kids are attending? Or wished you had a public event list you could share with the staff at your organization? We could not be more thrilled to announce our new 2017 Tickets Page, where our free tickets are visible without logging in! All requests will still be made through the Agency Portal.
  • New ways to Learn about TFK – Take a look through our new Supporters page to learn about the partners who make TFK experiences possible.
  • New Blog Posts – A dedicated space to connect our many partners and stay informed on all things TFK. What will be on this blog?
    TFK Impact:
    Mission Moment

    There is no greater way to understand the impact of a TFK experience than directly from the Kids themselves. Connect with our agency partners through weekly Mission Moments.

    TFK Blog:
    Beyond the Ticket

    Connecting TFK Kids to opportunities takes a network of many partners. Beyond the Ticket will explore the impact of a TFK experience, the challenges and triumphs in the non-profit community, and highlight those supporters who make it all possible.

    TFK Corner:
    News and Events

    Stay up to date on our most recent news coverage, special events, and happenings behind at the scenes of TFK.

As we grow to reach more TFK Kids from coast to coast, our hope is the new website will highlight and connect our many partners. We look forward to growing with you as we embark on this new journey.