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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

TomTod Ideas

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: We empower middle school students to explore and launch ideas that put empathy and imagination into action.

Results: See our most recent Annual Report [at https://tomtodideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/TT-2018-Annual-Infographic-FINAL-REV.pdf] to see a full picture of our impact.

Target demographics: middle school students

Direct beneficiaries per year: 792 students through our 3 core programs.

Geographic areas served: Northeast Ohio

Programs: summer camps, in-school collaborative curriculums, mentorship programs, community outreach and collaboration

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Michael, and my neice, Aireanna, have been a participants in TomTod's summer engagement for the past two summers. The experience from my perspective, and given their feedback, has been nothing short of amazing. They felt engaged daily with the activities and the trips (both physical and virtual over the last two summers), and by the end of the camps they expressed feeling more empowered and capable of doing more than he ever though he could! As a father, it encourages me to see this kind of confidence sparked through exploration of ideas, and I could not be more thankful for such an organization like TomTod. Thank you, Joel , for your unrelenting leadership and dedication to this, often-time, overlooked population of dreamers, and I look forward to seeing what you all do next.

1 Elizabeth C.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter is entering the 7th grade, and she participated in the "Camp What if @ Home" virtual camp this summer. She enjoyed every minute of it, and is hoping to participate in person next year! The camp was very well organized, provided all the necessary tools and gadgets for the kids to feel like they were active participants in a camp experience, not just watching an online presentation. She was thrilled to receive mail and win prizes and was motivated to do work on projects on her own as well. Also - it was incredibly reasonably priced and I feel like we got much more than our money's worth out of it. Camp What If is a phenomenal program.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

TomTod is a highly unique non-profit targeting an oft neglected segment of population: middle schoolers. I was a weird kid in middle school, but full of big ideas. Some folks only see the weird in middle schoolers and not the potential of their big ideas. TomTod seeks to harness the latter. Ideas born within TomTod have had tangible effects in our community. Residents of Canton will know what I mean. And if they don't, they need to do some serious research.

Thanks, TomTod, for making Canton stronger.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

TomTod Ideas provides unique programming through a very dynamic staff and collaborative community partnerships, to serve middle schoolers and help them learn how to think creatively for the common good, to become engaged, and to lead our next generation.

1 Hannah N.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had such positive experiences with all the members of TomTod staff. They are all kind, hard-working people who are passionate about what they do!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

TomTod Ideas is a vital nonprofit for middle school students. Every aspect of the staffing, programming, and mission focuses on empowering middle school students to think creatively and become a change maker in their community. I look forward to witnessing how TomTod and these students further impact our city!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved working with TomTod Ideas as a camp counselor because it was a unique, engaging experience for campers and adults alike! The organization is so impactful in the Canton community because it encourages middle schoolers to do two amazing things: laugh and make their voices heard.

Christopher C.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with TomTod has allowed me to see through the youthful eyes of those I have had the pleasure of working with. It has taught me how to be a more effective communicator to relate complex ideas in more simplistic terms for ease of understanding. Above all, it has allowed me to help the dreams of these young people come to reality. Fruitful for them, transformative for me.

goquire

Donor

Rating: 5

TomTod is what I wish was around and supported when I was going through school. It is a program helmed by the passionate Joel Daniel Harris that allows kids to do what they do naturally . . . create and solve problems. But what makes TomTod different is the creative solutions of the middle schoolers are taken seriously and acted upon. TomTom is a staple of the Stark County community and I look forward to its continued success here and beyond.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 12 year old daughter had a great time at Camp What If: Canton! She was eager to go each morning and was excited to tell us about the adventures she participated in when she got home each evening. She had so much fun, she signed up for the next camp already! So grateful to have TomTod in our community!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

TomTod Ideas is an exceptional organization that takes a truly innovative approach to SHOW (not just tell) kids that their ideas matter and have real potential RIGHT NOW regardless of their age.

Through fun and creative programs, camps and school partnerships they are providing middle schoolers the resources, structure, freedom and support that teaches them about the community around them and how they have the power to transform it by turning their ideas and creative solutions into action.

Over the last year I've had the great opportunity to learn a lot more about the various things the organization is offering kids and the community. I've been able to talk to and hear from the kids themselves and they obviously are engaged and love what this program offers them.

In addition to all the great things they are providing for kids, It's been great to see how much TomTod Ideas is also influencing a renewed sense of creativity, passion for doing and the desire to think outside of the box within the broader community and the parents, educators, community leaders and volunteers it works with.

1 Sophia H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son came home EVERY day full of excitement to tell me what he did at camp. He went places he doesn't normally go and he loved every minute of it. Now every time we ride through downtown he has a story to tell about the different outings! I'm so happy he was able to experience this amazing week of adventures!

1

Advisor

Rating: 4

This has been a wonderful organization to work for. They work hard to invest in the future of canton, especially its youth. Students who attend this camp will have the experience of a lifetime, meet incredible people, and discover a Canton they never knew. This organization is highly recommended.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I love everything about TomTod - from their mission and philosophy to the way they implement this philosophy in their work and overall organization culture. I support all that they do and the way that they go about doing it! I have been fortunate enough to have worked closely with TomTod over the past month or so, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. They genuinely care about those that they serve as well as bettering the community as a whole. The youth who are involved in their programs always have an incredible experience - they have an absolute blast while still learning, growing, and becoming better people and more responsible citizens. I fully support this organization and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who may be interested in giving their child a fun, rewarding, and meaningful experience!

1 Morgan K.1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked for TomTod for the past two years as a camp counselor at their Camp What If and it honestly is the best job I’ve ever had. Not only because it’s a great work environment but because you really get to see middle schoolers blossom within their community. It’s amazing to see what the students can come up with. They absolutely love it and love to be able to have a say in their world. I was also a middle schooler who worked with TomTod as one of their first projects and it honestly taught me a lot of great life skills and helped me realize that my opinion matters. It’s truly a great program and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

The mission of TomTod Ideas is to empower middle school students - something I support whole-heartedly! As a summer staff member, I have been able to see the inner workings of this company, and it is truly an innovative, unique, and very needed organization. I am a school counselor by profession and I can clearly see how the work of TomTod Ideas positively impacts students. I have witnessed the students thinking creatively by coming up with ideas that will positively affect this world, and in the process, the students are gaining valuable confidence in themselves. In today’s age, where kids are sometimes forgotten or pushed aside, I applaud TomTod Ideas for giving kids a chance and for building into their lives. I am thankful for all this organization does!

1 Nicole D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This year, is our second experience with TomTod Ideas Summer Camp. We chose to send our daughter to Camp Wilds because our experience last year at Camp Masters was so positive. This year did not disappoint. My daughter learned so much about this summer's chosen topic (Water) and had a wonderful time creating and experiencing new things with the group. The leadership as well as the counselors always make an impact on her and we are thrilled with the outcome. We are looking forward to our youngest attending Camp Canton in a couple of weeks. I highly recommend exposing your child to all that this organization has to offer!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son went to a TomTod camp this summer and it was such a positive experience that I am truly thankful for. Not only was it action packed, it was also educational. The experience pushed and challenged my son to be a global citizen. Since this summer he has been working with a professional mentor team through TomTod to further develop his project idea. I love TomTod's mission and vision and I believe in TomTod as much as they believe in our middle schoolers!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

TomTod inspires imagination and creativity and helps develop middle school students into the leaders of tomorrow. A truly amazing organization! Joel and his team are making a difference in the lives of young people in a big way!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Why do I love TomTod Ideas? Well, for one thing, their leader, Joel Daniel Harris, strongly believes in their mission and uses every penny wisely to achieve it. Second, I like that their mission focuses only on middle school students and empowers them to dream and create innovative ideas to benefit their community. When you hear an 8th grade student say how amazing it was to be part of a project that they never thought that they could achieve, then you know the program has long lasting effects on students' lives.

1 Kristen M.1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tom Tod is a great organization fulfilling the unique mission to empower middle schoolers. I’m proud to volunteer with them when they need help and to serve on this board.

2 Barb Ewing C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Joel Daniel Harris, Executive Dreamer of TomTod (which stands for tomorrow's ideas today) has taken the integral concept of giving middle school students a "voice" and supporting them as they ideate concerns of our community in order to actualize their "solutions" into reality. As a former middle school teacher for 35 years, I know the excitement and passion that these students exude when given the opportunity to turn ideas into actions that truly "make a difference." Our community is all the better because of Joel and his team as they help to cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets while assisting these remarkable students into believing in themselves.

1 Chip W.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Middle schoolers are often stuck in the middle. There are many early childhood programs and opportunities for young children and older teens, but those magical, awkward yet formative years of early adolescence are consistently ignored. TomTod Ideas fills this need by empowering middle schoolers to explore possibilities, take what they learn, and change their world.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've partnered with TomTod on projects, I've supported them by helping promote their mission. I think highly of what they do, and how they connect with middle schoolers and guide them to better their community. My daughter attended the camp more than once, and said it was the best camp she attended all summer. I can't speak highly enough of what this team accomplishes. I'm proud to have them in our community, and doing what they do to make it a better place.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a local public library, we've been fortunate to have several opportunities to collaborate with TomTod. The work TomTod does is so unique. Personally, I will have my own middle schooler soon and I've been anxiously waiting for him to reach official TomTod age. I love that TomTod inspires a younger generation to change the world.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our 3 sons have all participated in the summer camps put on by TomTod and loved it every time! As parents, we love seeing our middle schoolers in a place where their voices are valued and their dreams are significant instead of squashed. TomTod is changing the world one middle school kid at a time and it is exciting to watch!

1 Daniel M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful experience! My 4th year volunteering and I had a amazing time! Every year gets better, and the staff was just great!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I enjoyed my time working with TomTod for their Camp What If: Canton this summer and would do it again in a heart-beat! I taught the kids about different forms of art and found ways to connect our projects and conversations to the Canton Arts District, which I am very involved in. The staff was amazing and the children were wonderful-- all ready to learn! TomTod is an amazing organization and I am honored to have taken part!

2 Lexie P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This summer was my first time working with TomTod and I absolutely loved it. The atmosphere of the work place and camp was always a joy to be around. I loved working with all of the campers this summer and hearing the point of view of a middle schooler and trying to push their brain further than they thought was possible. Campers also faced many challenges this summer and it was enriching to see them overcome these challenges by their spirit and creativity.

As a counselor I also experienced many challenges which only lead to positive work experiences. I learned a lot about middle schoolers, how to be a camp counselor, diversity, problem solving and myself. I loved all of the staff that was involved in making this summer great and appreciate every single one of them.

I hope to one day work with TomTod again!!

3 Paula93

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Middle school students + concern for their fellow humans = amazing results, like $5000 for homeless shelter, $2000 for kids with Down Syndrome, bike borrowing from the public library, school improvements, summer camps to learn about what the community does for others, projects to raise money for food for kids on the weekends and on and on. Did I say all dreamed up and done up by middle schoolers??? Yep. (Sure, adults help a little. It's crazy fun and I love it!

4

Donor

Rating: 5

TomTod is a superior organization fueled by a comprehensive, strategic planning process that seeks to intentionally make the greatest impact within the lives of young people and its community. In only four short years, they have truly created a team and mission that the community would dearly miss if they ever ceased.

5 Leah49

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being a TomTod Ideas Idea:X Pioneer is one of my proudest titles. In 8th grade, I had the privilege of organizing my first service project with this nonprofit. My ideas were valued, challenged, and stretched to their fullest potential. My leadership team and mentors had a genuine interest and respect for my vision. My project, Shack A Thon, raised over $5000 for a local homeless shelter. Without TomTod, I wouldn't have been able to achieve this incredible goal. As a 15 year old at the time, I couldn't have imagined how profound of an impact this nonprofit would have on my life. Currently as a sophomore in college, I look back with utmost appreciation and love for TomTod Ideas. This is an organization that truly loves it's community, and stretches and grows the hearts and minds of middle schoolers who are going to change the world.

Comments ( 1 )

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Joel Daniel Harris 08/13/2016

We're so grateful for Leah's inspiring us to get TomTod up and running to begin with. Without her sticktuitiveness, passion, and compassion, TomTod wouldn't exist. It's been a privilege to watch her keep changing the world! *(On a side note, our program that was originally known as Idea X has been renamed What If You Could).

6 Sam_49

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Sam and I am currently a senior in high school. I met Joel from TomTod after he presented at my middle school my 7th grade year. My friends and I had an idea for a community service project that would raise money–and awareness–for girls in Africa that have to walk several kilometers multiple times a day just to fetch contaminated water for their families. Joel was ecstatic and wanted to help us! He led us through the design, logistics, and implementation of the project! He brought on another lady that had experience planning marathons and her advice was invaluable. TomTod is a unique organization in that it does exactly what it says it's going to do. Most organizations would say that they want to help young people get their ideas from imagination to reality but hardly ever take the brutal and monotonous steps needed to work with young people. TomTod and all its volunteers are some of the nicest people to work with and have given my project the ability to be going on its 5th anniversary! Thank you to Joel and all the people at TomTod for helping my team and I make our dreams become reality!

5 Hillary G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the privilege of being involved with TomTod for almost 3 years now and every year they exceed my expectations of what is possible for middle school students. They provide an outlet for middle school students to be heard, taken seriously, and given the opportunity to put their ideas into action. I'm so grateful an organization like TomTod exists!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is a pure pleasure to work with the staff at TomTod Ideas! Their creative and inspiring programs offer middle school students a voice, place and presence in our community. The student-directed camps and classes give students the power to choose, collaborate and create, fostering a true sense of ownership over their learning. I love being part of their creative fundraiser the "Feast of Ideas." It is an enlightening evening where middle school students showcase their work in front of a room full of adults who are memorized by their amazing and innovative ideas. I am proud to support the work of TomTod and am excited that they have found a way to engage this often overlooked and underappreciated age group.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

Why wait for tomorrow when great ideas are here today? By working to empower middle school students to launch absurd ideas for the common good, TomTod Ideas made it possible for my community to have a bike share program that is free with your library card. Students came up with the idea to make bikes more accessible so that community members could take advantage of all the great trails. Now, all you need to head out for a bike ride is your library card and it's free. Now that's a great idea!

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I came to know TomTod Ideas through a friend. Once I got to know about them... I wanted to know more and more about them. I attended a couple of their functions and was so impressed with what they were doing. Challenging the minds of middle-school students isn't an easy thing to do... but they do it. It's awesome to see the ideas that come of out of these young people. I am a graphic designer by trade and volunteered my services to TomTod, little did I know that TomTod would also challenge me. I thought "they're so out of the ordinary, the designs I do for them have to be out of the ordinary too." Their challenge to me also pushed me to challenge my other clients in their way of doing (things). It's infectious what they do. It's so cool to see someone's idea take off like TomTod has.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

TomTod Ideas works to empower middle school students in ways that matter today. In a time when a true sense of community, social justice and possibility are most needed, they are making it happen in the young people of Stark County. Who doesn't want to see middle schoolers believe in themselves and make the world a better place? I've been blessed to work with the organization on a few projects and each one has been as fulfilling for me as it has been for the middle schoolers. Supporting this organization means supporting young people who are making a difference in their own communities and beyond.

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I'm so impressed with the work TomTod does with middle-schoolers in Stark County. The ideas that the students come up with and the belief that TomTod has in them to bring their ideas to life is invaluable.