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Where we’ve been

Charlie’s House over the years

Not long after Charlie’s death, plans were underway to spread the lessons learned from his tragedy. Capitalizing on the heightened community awareness and the generosity of many, Charlie’s Safe Haven was established (since renamed Charlie’s House).

In its first full year, the organization was able to:

  • Raise over $66,000
  • Supply more than 10,000 furniture safety straps to families
  • Provide information to new parents
  • Participate in 12 community events
  • Assist in getting a resolution passed in the Missouri Legislature to urge the U.S. Congress and Consumer Product Safety Commission to enact regulations for use of furniture safety standards for tip-prone furniture

Riding the momentum of the previous year, Charlie’s House continued its fundraising efforts with the goal of building a real-life safety demonstration house. Children’s Mercy Family Health Partners, a continued supporter, made a generous donation in both 2008 and 2009.

In 2009, Charlie’s House hired a full-time Executive Director, Annette Teson.

2009 also featured the first Injury Prevention Day at the ‘K’ sponsored by Charlie’s House, to help spread the word and teach practical “how-to’s” for home safety.

Thanks to the generosity from the Royals Charities, Charlie’s House was able to distribute free furniture straps and safety checklists, as well as have experts on hand to address issues surrounding Home Safety topics.

hero-history-demohouseIn 2010, Charlie’s House launched its redesigned Web site with the help of a grant from The Junior League of Wyandotte and Johnson Counties, Kansas. This year also saw the securing of land for the real-life safety Demonstration House. If donation goals are hit, construction should begin in late 2011, with a completion date in 2012.Want to be a part of making sure the Demonstration House gets completed on time? Every dollar and helping hand makes a difference. Donate or Volunteer today.

2011 allowed Charlie’s House to become truly hands-on with the support of James Engle Custom Homes. Through their generosity, Charlie’s House safety-proofed a model home in the Bluestem subdivision in Overland Park. This home, open to the public on a daily basis, provides true room-by-room instructions and examples of how to install safety techniques in the home.

Charlie’s House began the silent phase of a capital campaign to raise the $1.3 million needed to build the safety demonstration house. Although the capital campaign has not been publicly announced, nearly sixty percent of the total goal amount has been raised. This has been done through the leadership of an all-volunteer committee separate from the Charlie’s House Board of Directors.

2012 activities included:

  • The Physicians Alliance on In Home Safety in which Charlie’s House is providing safety information to pediatric and pediatric subspecialist offices for the distribution to patients and families
  • Open House Tours at Charlie’s Safety Showcase at the James Engle Model Home (ended March 2013)
  • Charlie’s Chats – informational meetings to educate interested parties about Charlie’s House
  • Conducting speaking engagements on in-home safety in the community as requested
  • A partnering with Crowley Furniture to distribute furniture straps
  • Newsletters distributed quarterly containing home safety tips and updates regarding the organization
  • Communication via Facebook, Twitter and email with educational home safety tips
  • Third Party Fundraising Opportunities such as the Brian M. Anselmo Foundation’s Dancing with the Stars, KC CAN! Auction and Dinner, and Laura Lenhert platter sales with a portion of sales coming to Charlie’s House


2013 served as a transition year in which John McCarthy became the Executive Director of Charlie’s House. Maggie Collins served as Chair of the Board, while Brendan McPherson was the Chair Elect.

A Volunteer Coordinator position was added to the organizational structure, and Lynne Bock assumed this role on behalf of Charlie’s House.

In addition to distributing furniture straps and Charlie’s Checklists, Charlie’s House increased their inventory by adding Home Safety Slides and generic business cards (created to drive people to the website and social media). All of these materials are distributed on a complimentary basis.

The Physicians Alliance program continued to grow with the addition of Shawnee Mission Medical Center being added to a distribution group (for the Charlie’s Checklists) that already includes Children’s Mercy, Cradle Connect and multiple pediatric offices in the greater Kansas City community.

The Education Committee began to add a monthly safety article, and each article is posted on the Charlie’s House website.

In 2013, the Charlie’s House website surpassed 6,900 users and 24,500 page views. On the website, Charlie’s House added a virtual house, which serves as an excellent resource for home

In 2013, Charlie’s House launched the Charlie’s House 5k (dubbed, “Home Run for Safety, since it was held at the T-Bones Baseball Stadium) to support the organization. The event was a tremendous success, with over 15 sponsors, 75+ volunteers and 300 participants.

In 2013, Fani Schifman represented Charlie’s House in the BMA Foundation’s Dance & Dine with the Stars event.


In 2014, Brendan McPherson became the Chair of the Board, while Cindy Mense was named Chair Elect.

The Education Committee added the role of Community liaison to help fulfill the many requests for community educational and distribution opportunities for Charlie’s House. Rynekah Barbour fulfilled this role.

Once again, the Physicians Alliance program continued to grow with the addition of North Kansas City Hospital and the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to a distribution group (of Charlie’s Checklists) that already includes Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Children’s Mercy, Cradle Connect and multiple pediatric offices in the greater Kansas City community.

The Charlie’s House website underwent a significant overhaul, adding a rotator, a link to order complimentary safety items, and additional content to the site. Through the link on the site (JUST through this link), over 800 furniture straps were distributed, while more than 1,000 Charlie’s Checklists and Home Safety Slides were distributed as well.

In 2014, the Charlie’s House Facebook page surpassed 1,000 “Likes” and the website surpassed 8,000 users and 25,700 page views. Charlie’s House became active with a YouTube channel in an effort to use the vehicle to educate audiences through seven new videos that were created specifically by – and for – Charlie’s House.

In 2014, Charlie’s House hosted the 2nd Annual Charlie’s House 5k (i.e. Home Run for Safety), and the event grew to over 25 sponsors, 80+ volunteers and over 350 participants registered.

Also, Charlie’s House launched the first Charlie’s House Golf Classic at Shoal Creek Golf Club. Like the Home Run for Safety event, the Golf Classic raised funds and awareness for Charlie’s House.

Dr. Tamara Peterson, a member of the Charlie’s House Board of Directors, was the dancer that represented Charlie’s House at the BMA Foundation’s Dance & Dine with the Stars event.

2014 also saw major contributions towards the capital campaign, as Children’s Mercy & H&R Bloch donated towards the creation of America’s first demonstration home for child safety.

Charlie’s House celebrated 8 years of sharing our mission and growing our reach within the community. We distributed over 35,000 safety items (furniture straps, checklists, home safety slides, TV straps, Cabinet Locks and Outlet covers). We grew the Physician Alliance program to 9 hospital or physician networks, presented at  41 events, grew our database by 50% and increased our social media posts.
We held the 3rd Home Run for Safety 5k with almost 500 in attendance; held the Charlie’s House Golf Classic in May; and Bob Fesco was our dancer for the Brian Mitchell Anselma Foundations’ Dance and Dine with the Stars in June.
We made significant progress in the Building Blocks Campaign thanks to a grant from Farmers Insurance, meeting 93% of our goal for the campaign to build the safety demonstration home.
In 2016, Charlie’s House extended our on line distribution of orders exceeding 3,000 individual orders with a total distribution of over 90,000 individual pieces of information and products.  Unfortunately we could not financially sustain this pace so we temporarily stopped online orders and are in search of a corporate sponsor to assist with this mission.
Our on the ground educators distributed to over 98 organizations including 50 events such as health fairs and Parents as Teachers.  At these events and educational outreach, we handed out 21,500 safety items such as our signature checklist, TV and furniture straps, cabinets locks, gun locks, bike helmets and electrical outlet plugs.
We successfully held the Hone Run for Safety 5k, 3k and Kids Run, the Hole in One for Safety Golf Classic and were honored to be a recipient of the Brian Mitchell Anselmo Dine and Dance with the Stars event again in June.
In July, we were chose by the the CPSC to partner in their Swim Safely campaign, helping spread the word about pool safety and the importance of learning to swim.
In 2016, our capital campaign committee determined we are ready to start work on the safety demonstration home so Charlie’s House looked at various locations to ensure we had the most adequate and appropriate location for the house.  Look for a ground breaking in 2017!