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.
E-Marketing & Graphic Design Specialist, STAR Bank. Katie has an Associate of Arts degree from Ball State University. She has over 10+ years experience in marketing and graphic design, specifically in the banking and nonprofit sector. Katie was first introduced to Kate’s Kart after her daughter’s early arrival and NICU stay in 2013. She joined Kate’s Kart in 2016 providing graphic design support.
Director of Sales, Pro Products. 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.
Senior Audit Manager, Baden, Gage & Schroeder. Amanda is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Indiana CPA Society. She is a graduate of Manchester College with a Master of Accountancy and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting. She is a member of the Indiana Bankers' Association and the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Prior to leaving the professional world to become a full time mother, Karen worked as a Physical Therapist and holds a degree from Indiana University. Karen is a Kate’s Kart volunteer at Lutheran Hospital and also serves on several other area non-profit boards. Karen and her husband, Dr. Gary Gize, have three sons.
Resident Physician, Ft Wayne Medical Education. Dr. Menze graduated with a Bachelor's degree and Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Purdue University. She earned her medical degree from Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Menze is currently in her final year of residency serving at various Fort Wayne hospitals.
Registered Nurse (Retired). In her nursing career, Sharon worked in ICU, CCU and nursing administrator. She continues to fulfill her love of nursing by volunteering at local hospitals, including as a Kate's Kart volunteer at Parkview Regional Medical Center.
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.
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.
I love sharing books with families and seeing their joy when they get to keep a new book brightens my day!
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!
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!
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!"
"My favorite thing about doing Kate's Kart is the excitement both parents and children have when they get to pick out a book they get to keep."
"My favorite thing about pushing the kart is that I love to see the smiles on kids' faces when we arrive with the kart. These are usually faces that were sad, scared or unsure just seconds before! Hospitals can be scary places, and I love being part of bringing a little sunshine to a child's day!"
"Kate's Kart bought me books in the hospital when I was sick. As soon as I could become a volunteer I wanted to work with Kate's Kart and I love it. Seeing the kids smile when they get a book is truly priceless. I know how it feels to be sick in the hospital so I can relate to the kids too. I am so happy to be a part of this organization."
"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."