Our family was forever changed on January 15, 2008 when our daughter, Kate passed away. We knew life without her would be hard and that there would always be that ache of missing her. We never would have dreamed that a simple idea of giving away some books in her memory would blossom into what it is today. Yes, we miss her each and every day, but we have a wonderful story to tell about our little girl and the legacy built to remember her.
We are so grateful to our entire team who has come along with us, building the organization, sharing our story, giving away books and making us better each and every day.
Andy, Krista, Seth and Grant Layman
Krista has a degree in Elementary Education and has worked as a teacher and in youth ministry. As Kate’s mother, she has a true passion for the legacy built in memory of her Kate. As director, she oversees ALL aspects of the organization including books, kart stocking, grant writing, volunteers and speaking events.
Cheryl worked in the hotel industry and as an office manager before staying home to raise her 2 children. She joined the staff of Kate’s Kart in 2016 and assists with keeping all aspects of Kate's Kart organized. She also serves as a volunteer at Parkview and Dupont Hospitals.
Our Board of Directors is a true working board. Whether it be planning events, balancing checkbooks, designing and proofing newsletters or deciding on policies, our board is committed to making sure Kate's Kart is a thriving, growing charity.
Trent earned a Bachelor's in Business Marketing from Purdue University, Fort Wayne. He was first introduced to Kate's Kart during his son's NICU stay at Dupont Hospital. He enjoys golf, the lake and spending time with family.
Preston has a Bachelors of Science (BS) degree from Trine University. He also serves as the President for the Indiana Water Quality Association. Preston is an avid curler and loves serving Kate’s Kart as any type of mascot character.
Kristin earned her Bachelors and Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Institute of Technology. She is currently a volunteer at Dupont Hospital and joined the Board in 2019.
Kate graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Masters of Accountancy. She is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She also serves on many other boards throughout the community.
Amanda is a graduate of Manchester College with a Master of Accountancy and a BA in Accounting. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Indiana CPA Society, Indiana Bankers' Association, and the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Prior to becoming a full-time mother, Karen worked as a Physical Therapist with a degree from Indiana University. She is a Kate’s Kart volunteer at Lutheran Hospital and also serves on several other area non-profit boards.
Katie has 10+ years experience in marketing and graphic design. She actively volunteers as our Marketing Specialist, providing graphic and web design support. She also chairs our Marketing and Fund Development Committee.
Dr. Menze graduated with a Bachelor's and Masters in Public Health from Purdue University. She earned her medical degree at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and served her residency Fort Wayne hospitals. She now practices Family Medicine with Lutheran Hospital.
Rory received a degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas, El Paso and his graduate degree in Economics from Iowa State University. He was introduced to Kate's Kart over 10 years ago when a grandchild was hospitalized with pneumonia. Now retired, he joins his wife in pushing the Kart at both Parkview and Dupont Hospitals
Dr. Berning graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical engineering after growing up in New Haven. He then earned his Doctor of Medicine at Northwestern University Medical School. He is a Plastic Surgeon with Parkview Physician's Group.
Hollie is a graduate of St. May's College with a Bachelors degree in Finance and has her Masters in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. She is a CPA with memberships to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Indiana CPA Society. She discovered Kate's Kart in 2019 when her son underwent surgery.
Our Advisory Council is made up of professionals who have a specific set of skills or knowledge in relation to keeping Kate's Kart growing. These individuals believe whole heartedly in our mission and give us advice and wisdom as needed. We are grateful for their support.
Our team of volunteers are the face and hands of Kate's Kart. Whether they are in the hospital distributing books every month or working in the office sorting, labeling and organizing the books, we couldn't do what we do without them. Below are just a few of the over 100 volunteers we have on our team.
I love volunteering because while a book can seem small it provides hope, joy and connection for the kiddos along with their parents.
"I volunteer because I love making people feel valued and feel joy even on their hardest days."
As a volunteer for Kate's Kart, I find pure joy in watching the faces of children (and parents) light up as they receive a new book that thy have chosen.
I was so thrilled when I was able to join the Kate's Kart team. I love the smiles & appreciation we receive from the kids and parents. Kate's Kart is a blessing!
I love seeing the excitement and joy that so many patients and their parents show when they find the perfect book. When that happens, the time we push the Kart makes it all worth it!
There's nothing I love more than being able to see the children and their families smile and get excited, even when they're going through a tough time.
It is such a rewarding opportunity for me to be able to make a child smile and be happy. I love it!
I love contributing to this program that brings so much relief and a smile to those who need comfort. It combines two of my favorite things in life: children and books!
Kate's Kart is an amazing organization that can bring a smile to a child's face on an otherwise awful day. I love seeing that smile from bringing a book!
After going through my own traumatic hospital experience with our first baby, I became a Kate's Kart volunteer to bring a spark of joy to these families who I know are going through so much. It has actually turned out to be quite therapeutic for myself.
I love reading and all books. I love to see that smile on the child's face and parent's too!
I love the excitement on the children's and parent's faces when we give them a book... and how exciting when a child has been waiting for us!
Nurturing the love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child!
My kids received books during my mother's surgery while we anxiously waited. I knew then what comfort Kate's Kart brings and wanted to volunteer.
I love sharing my love of books and making families happy during a difficult time. It is amazing to see the smiles when I get to offer a free book to a child. It blesses me as much as it blesses the child!
Volunteering for Kate's Kart allows us to serve kids and families together. We love finding that perfect book and sharing a little hope & joy with children.
As a retired teacher, I have always loved working with and reading to children. Now I love to give new books to children!
I love Kate's Kart and the story behind it. Through tragedy Krista and Andy have honored their daughter's life through Kate's Kart. It is such a joy to see smiles in children's faces and know it makes a difference!
The joy of an excited child or parent looking over a cart full of books warms my heart!
We have been on the receiving end of Kate's Kart, so I love the fact that I get to give back.
Being a Kate's Kart volunteer is a great way to start babies with a library and love of reading. Little Baby Kate loved books and being read to.
I love to see the smiles a book gives to a child and their visitors!
I enjoy bringing a ray of light and hope with a new book!
"It is so fun to feel like Santa every month of the year!"
"It is so rewarding to me when I see a child’s face light up after they realize they get to pick a new, free book off the kart to take home."
"I love seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they receive a book. I also enjoy introducing new book characters and my favorite books to the children and their families. I also love when older children share with me some of their favorite books and characters."
"I have always loved to read so I love the idea of passing out free books to children. I really enjoy interacting with the kids I encounter in the hospital and discussing books with them based on what my own children are reading or have read."
"My favorite thing is getting all the books organized to go out to the hospitals. I am a retired teacher with a passion for early literacy and I have a daughter who became very ill with a chronic disease when she was 10, so I have great empathy for families dealing with hospitalized children. I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of Kate's Kart and feel blessed to be a part of it.”
"Books make a perfect gift for a child in the hospital, because they provide a wonderful distraction from all the worry and pain they are experiencing. It’s a joy to see the bright smiles that light up their faces when they receive a book from Kate’s Kart."
"I love kids and there is not many things better than to be able to put a smile on a sick kids face."
"I love when the kids get so excited when the Kart comes to their room. It truly brings these kids joy at such a dark time. I also think that it brings hope to the parents. For them to realize that here are people they don’t know willing to do something for their kids means so much to them."