Copper For Kids

“Don’t touch that copper. That’s for the kids.”

Eight years ago, Terry Risse, President and CEO of Iron Mechanical, was invited to join the board of Sierra Forever Families, a private, nonprofit agency that helps children in foster care find permanent families and homes. Terry, who describes himself as having a lifelong passion for helping children, was eager to jump at the opportunity. There was just one problem – all new board members were required to make a $5,000 donation, the exact amount it takes to find a permanent, loving home for a child in foster care.

At the time, Iron Mechanical was still a young company and money was tight, but Terry was determined to find a way. So he brainstormed with his team on ways to raise the money and the idea that stuck was collecting and donating the scrap copper from their job sites. “We never knew how much copper we got back because a lot of it never made it back,” Terry told us. “It just made it to people’s cars.” Three short months later, Terry and his Iron Mechanical team reached their goal of $5,000. And from that success, the Copper for Kids campaign was born.

Today, the campaign has partnered with over fifty contractors and subcontractors in California, and has helped hundreds of children in foster care find their forever families. “Some of these children have been bounced around foster care forty or fifty times,” Terry told us. “It’s a lot of work to get these children out of the system, but there are a lot of success stories. There are children who were completely lost, but are now in Division 1 universities. And that’s pretty cool.”

You can get started in three easy steps:

1. Notify your employees that your company is a Copper for Kids partner and get them involved.
2. Place a scrap copper box on job sites.
3. Collect recyclable materials, redeem and donate the proceeds to Sierra Forever Families.

Terry and the Iron Mechanical team have a dream to see Copper for Kids become a national organization. If you are not based in California, Sierra Forever Families has offered to help find local organizations in your own community.

If you would like to join the Copper for Kids campaign and become a champion for children in foster care, please contact:

Christie Shorrock: (916) 368-5114 ext 346;
Kitty Hoffman: (916) 368-5114 ext 342;