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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Snowball Express

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: Honor America’s fallen military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11 by humbly serving the families they left behind. Champion their children’s future success by creating opportunities for joy, friendship, education, and communal healing, by connecting these families to one another.

Target demographics: the children of America's fallen military heroes

Geographic areas served: communities accross america

Programs: During the year Snowball Express hosts families of our fallen military heroes at many community events across the nation, providing them an opportunity to stay connected throughout the year. Each December we host the largest gathering in the world of children and families of fallen military. During our annual program held in ft worth, Texas, we bring together nearly 1,800 children and surviving spouses of our fallen military heroes. We plan and design events that enabled these children to meet other children just like them, make new friends, and we provided an opportunity for communal healing by connecting these families together. Over the 5 days in Texas, we host events throughout the community that connected the children and widows/widowers, and we also provided the public an opportunity to show their gratitude to these families for the tremendous sacrifices they have made for our freedom. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- highlights of our events: a welcome event to honor the families in ft worth, tx with a public walk of gratitude, a day at the movies and perot museum of nature and science, an evening at the fort worth joint reserve base, with a special performance to honor the families by gary sinise and the lt. Dan band, and a special show performed by shows in a box. We also provided educational and inspirational opportunities. In addition to the bonding that occurs during the events, we designed special rooms and family lounges that enabled both children and adults to relax each evening, connect, share with one another, and bond in a wonderful atmosphere. We also provide a family resource room at the hotel where we invite support organizations to meet with the families. The family resource room was designed to provide special support services to the families,and an opportunity to connect with these services. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------vet center counseling services: on-site at the hotel and mobile van at every off-site event (the mobile van traveled to each event and was available for counseling services if needed any time of the day) veterans administration: burial expenses, markers, headstones, death pensions, educational assistance (va, special needs, gi bill, etc), champva (health care), life insurance and any other va programs or applications for programs. Survivor outreach services: non-government volunteer group that helps with all of the above, plus financial investment counseling from experts gold star spouses: the primary mission of gsw is to provide service, support and friendship to the widows and widowers of military personnel who died on active duty or as the result of a service connected cause. Id cards and dependent enrollment: the vital item required to enter all of the above service related benefit programs. Probably our busiest unit, they were able to assist families with enrollment families and produced nearly 100 id cards. We also have members of the tragedy assistance program for survivors (t. A. P. S. ) present at every event. Taps certified grief counselors provide comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs including peer based emotional support, case work assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources.

Community Stories

43 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express was and continues to be our rainbow after the storm. They know how to make our families feel loved and included. We have made some lifetime friends and unforgettable memories. They give some much and ask for NOTHING in return. We love SBE!

Debbie LoPresto B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express is an absolutely amazing organization that sends military widows/widowers and their children on an all expense paid 5 day trip where you are surrounded not only by a couple thousand people that have experienced similar loss and trials as you but also by volunteers who love on you, support you and honor your fallen soldier. It is a time of bonding and making new friendships that last a lifetime along with having fun and opportunities you might otherwise not be able to experience. The city of Dallas/Ft Worth opens their arms up to us. We have police escorts, fireman and civilian lining the streets and highways we travel and a Walk of Remembrance that will make anyone tear up as you see the love and support they give us. During the day we do all sorts of fun activities and at night they take the kids and let us have a much needed break. Another really neat event they do is taking the kids "shopping" in the Neiman Marcus store so they can get their surviving parent a Christmas gift. Before my son attended Snowball Express, I never got a present from him as his daddy was the one that would always take the kids out to buy presents for me. You laugh, you cry, you have fun and meet new people and strengthen the relationships with those you may only see once a year at this event. Thanks for the memories, Snowball Express!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This will be our 3rd and final Snowball. My son is graduating H.S. next year. I am so grateful to ALL Snowball Express Staff and volunteers. My Son and my Husband were each others, Best Buddies. He is an introverted, except when he is at Snowball with the friends he met 3 yrs ago. They keep in contact periodically via text We live in an area, with no military facilities or familes nearby. So, Being a part of the Snowball family has, given us the opportunity to meet life long friends. Who understand us full of joy and laughing and maybe 5 minutes later cryjng our eyes out.

Snowball is the number ONE Non-Profit in my family.

Donna Shannon
Spouse of SFC Michael P.D. Shannon
Kabul, Afghanistan 2010




Client Served

Rating: 5

My niece lost both of her parents when she was Age 5, December 2016 was her first Christmas without her parents. Attending the Snowball Express at December was an awesome experience for her. She felt so much love from all of the volunteers and all of the people that were in attendance at the event. She came away saying that this was the best Christmas ever. Thank you so much for having an event like this to make the children feel so very special.

Amy K.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the most wonderful creation..it allows the children of the fallen to know they are not alone ,that they can have friends that understand what they r going thru ....As well as remove some of that pay for a few days and enjoy laughter again

MishaM

Client Served

Rating: 5

2016 was our first year attending, and everyone made us feel so loved and welcomed!!! The staff was AMAZING!!!!! All the volunteers who help with SBE will be blessed beyond their wildest dreams bc they sure made it a HUGE deal to appreciate our children and our loved one in a wonderful way.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express has been a wonderful experience for my family during a period of our lives that has been devastating. Snowball allows children who have lost a military parent to spend a few fun-filled days with other children who have suffered the same loss surrounded by hundreds of people who love and support them. There is no cost to the families who attend Snowball Express. The first time my children attended Snowball was the first time I saw my children show a shimmer of true happiness through their sadness. Additionally, Snowball Express put my family in touch with resources that provided assistance throughout the year. Thank you Snowball for putting a smile on my children's faces and showing them that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are one of many gold star families that attend each year. We lost our fallen hero in 2007 and have been graciously blessed to have attended snowball express. This event has touched our lives in more ways i can ever express, i have watched my son go from shy to very sociable because of snowball and the ability for him to interact with other families and children who are in the same position we are in. Theres no need to explain yourself and why ur here, as its already understood. My son and i look forward to this every year because its almost like a giant family reunion. The volunteers are amazing, always with a smile on their face and ready to play w the kids. I dont know where they get all that energy, nevertheless we are blessed and thankful to have them. And to Mr. Buck Kern and the members of the board, without ur strategic planing and fundraising this event wouldnt be possible. Thank u for everything u have done for us we are forever grateful and thankful to everyone involved. The smile on my sons face is priceless and i dont often get to see it... until snowball time and then it turns into a non stop contagious smiling and laughing for days! Thank you!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express has been an amazing gift for my boys and I. We have made so many memories and friends!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express is the most honorable and respectful organization I have ever been involved in. Hailey has attended 3 years and she anxiously awaits it each time she is able to come. The people who are involved with Snowball are so generous with their time, so supportive of Hailey's needs, and allow Hailey to gather with other children and families who are suffering the loss of a loved one. I am raising my grand daughter and am unable at times to provide activities that Hailey needs and this event allows me to provide them for Hailey in a positive and eventful way plus another way to pay tribute to her father. The compassion that is displayed year round by this organization is nothing short of amazement. There are not enough words in the dictionary to express my gratitude for Snowball express. A 5 star rating is not high enough rating I give it a 10 star rating out of 5.

1 Debbie W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My granddaughter is a Snowball kid. She lost her dad in 2005 in Iraq. Since her dads death, her life hasn't always been easy but Snowball has always been there for her. She has made friends over the years who share her experience. The volunteers are awesome and they truly love these kids and the kids know they will never be forgotten. These kids truly are Americas Kids beause they have given so much to our country. Snowball allows the a few days at a time of the year where they are missing their mom or dad, to come together and just have fun. They are with other kids who know exactly what they have gone through. They can talk about their parents and be proud of who they were. The spouses have an opportunity to talk to each other and much needed resource people are on hand to help navigate they ins and outs of benefits. Throughout the year the organization will help to organize Snowflake events on a local level to allow the kids to interact throughout the year. I have been blessed to share this with her a few times and I too have made some lifelong friends. This organization provides so much for our kids and never loses focus of what these kids have been through and how to best help them grow into happy adults. God Bless Snowball and its volunteers.

1 Regina T.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The bonding experience and accommodation that are provided for my three children is truly unexplainable. The kids look forward to seeing everyone each year to laugh and cry!!! They have memories to share and new friendship to last their lifetime. As a parent I get to have the same experience with other parents by sharing stories and lessons to help us through these difficult times. The activities are so nice for the everyone and the volunteer are so awesome.

1 Margarita Orton D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the survival spouse is very emotional, but rewarding to be able to have a few days off and get together with other ladies that are in a way in the same situation. For my kids emotional for the older kids and fun and for the little one an experience of exiting fun time off that he is ready to have every December. Im very thankful for the thoughtful people who put this idea in action, I just wished were for a different reasons.
Im sad, but proud that my husband was in the Army. I understand that everyone have specific job and a duty even if that means death.
Raising kids is not an easy job for one person.
Thank you Snowball for what you try to do by giving us the time to honor our love ones plus some fun.

Jenn H.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My kids have gone to SBE for the last four years. It's an experience like no other. They get to meet other children in their shoes all while doing awesome activities that they sometimes otherwise would've never experienced.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Snowball Express is amazing! They give my son such an amazing time every year! We love how they honor the fallen men and women, we love sharing our story about my son's father, my husband. During a time that isn't always happy, they make sure we are smiling for that whole week. We love Snowball Express, and are honored to be invited to partake in such a wonderful organization!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I attended our first Snowball Express in December 2016. We were so overwhelmed by the love and details that went into this amazing event. We are so thankful to everyone for honoring my husband's legacy, his children.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We love Snowball!! My kids look forward to it every year. Thank you for all that you do for the kids and their families.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization focuses on giving back to the children of our fallen since 9-11. They have brought comfort and fun back to my children after my husband, their father died in Afghanistan 5 years ago. My family has beautiful smiles, when my husband was alive we always had a smile on our faces. After he died we didn't smile as much. Snowball brought that back for my children. Thank you Snowball Express!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We took our first trip to Snowball Express December of last year and absolutely loved it! I would recommend this agency to any military family who has lost a spouse! They really love you and take care of you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My late husband passed away in August 2016 and we heard about snowball express shortly after. I am grateful for them. They help show my son he isn’t alone, he gets to be with kids who understand kids who lost a parent and are you okay. He has made life long friendships with people who get him and that is all thanks to Snowball Express.