About a month ago, many teachers at Long Beach High School were sporting something, in addition to a big smile on their face, a mustache! Several teachers including Mr. Krywe, Mr. Balsamo, Mr. Campbell, and Mr. Onufrock, participated in the annual mustache growing contest to support the Mustaches For Kids Organization. The Mustaches For Kids Organization raises funds to be donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The donations assist families who are unable to pay for their child’s cancer treatment.
In a recent interview, Mr. Krywe, who has supported the Mustaches For Kids Organization for many years now, explained the organization and how more people can get involved. In fact, Mr. Krywe mentioned that he would love to see many students get involved in this organization as well!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with The Tide, Mr. Krywe!
1. What inspired you to take part in the Mustaches For Kids Organization?
Mr. Krwye: The thing that inspired me is that daily, as a society and as a culture, we take for granted our health and how blessed we are to have good health. We are able to do what we want to in our lives because of our good health and there are a lot of families out there, especially children, who are affected with cancer. One of the cruelest things that cancer has done is not only go after adults, but go after children as well. I can’t think of a better fundraising event than to help children who suffer with cancer. If we can take part to help raise money, then it’s a wonderful cause!
2. How many years have you participated in this great organization?
Mr. Krywe: This is our seventh year. We started in 2007 and we had forty-five members in Long Beach that had grown mustaches, and that year we had raised $16,000. This year we had 111 members participate, and we raised $77,000. Throughout these seven years we have raised over half a million dollars.
3. What is it like for you seeing the success and support for the Mustaches For Kids Organization year after year?
Mr. Krywe: The greatest thing is the amount of men and women who have participated! Every year we seem to increase the amount of people that are participating. We have received great PR from Newsday, photos taken by USA Today, and short videos shared on News Channel 12. We have gotten a lot of good PR, which helped us along the way.
We opened it up especially for women this year to let them know that yes, they don’t have to grow a mustache (which if that did happen, so be it. But, it would be a little intimidating to know that we can be beaten by a woman in a mustache growing contest). That being said, just having the women wearing pins, supporting Mustaches For Kids and wearing T-shirts, has really doubled the amount of people participating and raising money for this great cause!
4. Being an avid supporter of the Mustaches For Kids Organization, how has participating in this organization enlightened you?
Mr. Krywe: It’s enlightened me in seeing what the power of a mustache can do! It’s something that has lost its popularity since the 1970’s, and my generation doesn’t wear mustaches as often as generations prior to us did. We started this as an “attention-grabber” because most people would not generally see us with a mustache. They might ask, “What’s up with the mustache?” Our response is typically, “Well since you brought up the mustache, let me explain that we’re doing this for a great cause to raise money for kids with cancer.”
It’s amazing to see what a fuzzy upper lip can do to raise money! All the guys and girls help fundraise – every little bit counts! At the end of October we have our final “Mustache Bash” which is when everyone gets together and collects the money. You see the money grow minute by minute! That event alone raises about $5,000 in about three hours. Raffles are given away and we have a mustache competition where we put whip cream on our upper lip, put sprinkles on, and have a staring contest. Different events like that help to raise money.
One of the things that inspires growers as well is that we visit the Memoral Sloan-Kettering Center which is where all the money goes. Many of the growers spend a day hanging out with the kids. We take pictures, draw, hang out, and eat food – anything we can do to benefit the kids. We try to provide them with a happy day. Seeing the kids first-hand is really powerful as well and helps us to remember why we donate.
5. How can people show their support for the Mustaches For Kids Organization in future years to come?
Mr. Krwye: First off they can go to the website: http://www.m4kli.com/ and there is actually an area there where you can donate online as well. What is just as important is going to the events we sponsor. The events are usually every Friday or Saturday night at restaurants throughout the city of Long Beach. Also, wearing T-shirts, pins, and getting the word out helps out a lot. Like I mentioned before, 45 members to 111 members is a good increase and any PR we can get such as this helps.
Visit http://www.m4kli.com/ to find out more about the Mustaches For Kids Organization and see how you can be apart of this remarkable cause!