Jen and Curt Sidden are a “normal” couple doing extraordinary things for our community. When their friend, Melanie Bradle, contacted us, she described them as a “family who recognizes the richness of God’s blessings and strives to serve others well.”

Well, after that description, we just had to meet them for ourselves!

The Siddens are in the midst of organizing a golf tournament for A Child’s Place, a Charlotte nonprofit that works to erase the impact of homelessness on children and their education. Swing Fore A Child’s Place Golf Tournament will be Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at River Run Country Club in Davidson, NC.

You can register for the tournament through their web site swingfore.eventbrite.com either as an individual or as a foursome. If golf isn’t your thing, you can make a donation through the “phantom foursome” spot on the registration web page. And if you want a paper registration, email Jen at jennifersidden@me.com.

All tournament players will receive a box lunch. The Siddens are organizing a cookout dinner that evening for the players with hamburgers, BBQ, and desserts (yum!). There will also be a silent auction with several great prizes such as Duke basketball tickets (at Cameron Indoor Stadium) or a round at the exclusive Merion Golf Club in Philadelphia. And, of course there will be prizes for various golf contests.

All proceeds will go directly to A Child’s Place. They hope to raise $70,000, which will enable an additional 50 homeless kids to go to ACP’s My Place summer camp this summer.

Smarties, we are so honored to introduce you to Jen and Curt Sidden!

Smarty Couple Stats

Parents of: Abraham, 7, Mack, 5, Isaac, 2

Years married: 10

Years in Charlotte: Jen, 16 years, Curt, 18 years

Occupations: Jen, writer and stay-at-home mom, Curt, CEO of American Credit Acceptance

College Alma Maters: Jen, Wheaton College, Curt, Duke University

Hood: Davidson

Tell us a little about the golf tournament and why you and your husband decided to organize it.

We think it’s heartbreaking that 4,700 children are homeless in Mecklenburg County, so we’ve been involved with A Child’s Place for several years.  Last year we went as a family to their Our Place summer camp to read to the kids and thought it was such a great program. With the academic instruction the camp provides, many of the kids are able to improve their reading and math skills by as much as two grade levels. Plus, they are served breakfast and lunch and offered opportunities to do things we take for granted with our children, like swimming lessons. It bothered us though that A Child’s Place was only able to offer the 8-week camp to 100 kids, so we decided to try to raise enough money to send an additional 50 kids to the camp. That’s $70,000, which is a lot of money, but we think it’s so worth it. Curt is an avid golfer, so he came up with the idea of a golf tournament. Our friends Melanie and Chris Bradle and Jay and Emily Brinkley loved the idea too and immediately jumped in to help.

Do you all do a lot of volunteer work as a couple/family? If so, what are some of your family’s favorite organizations?

We support a lot of great organizations as a family and have tried to get our kids involved when we can. A Child’s Place is one of our favorite local organizations, and we have volunteered with our children at Second Harvest Food Bank as well. Jen’s brother works for a foundation that builds homes for street children and children rescued from slavery around the world and we love that organization too.

What are some tips for other families to get their kids involved in philanthropy?

It’s hard for our kids to truly understand poverty and things like being homeless, but if serving others is ingrained on them early on then hopefully it will become part of who they are. As we’ve had each of our children, we’ve sponsored a child similar in age through World Vision and we encourage the kids to write short notes to those children and to pray for them. We also try to pick children their age and gender when we do Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and we make it a big family trip to pick out items for those kids’ shoeboxes. Packing backpacks of food for kids to take home from school over the weekends at Second Harvest Food back is something we started doing last year, and the kids ask to go back. They love seeing how many backpacks they can fill, and we plan on spending just about an hour so they are still having fun when we finish.

Favorite place to eat out as a family?

We’ve been having lunch on Sundays after church at 131 Main in Cornelius for 3 to 4 years and we always request our favorite waiter, Austin. He talks Star Wars, Mario Brothers and college sports with our kids and never minds their boundless energy at the table. We go as much for his company as for the great food.

Favorite date night spot?

It’s always somewhere we wouldn’t go with the kids, like Dresslers, Mickey and Mooch, Vivace or somewhere we’ve never been before.

Best weekend getaway as a couple?

We just spent a weekend in the Bahamas celebrating our 10th anniversary in the fall.

Favorite movie of all time (his and hers)?

Curt – “A Few Good Men” or “The Empire Strikes Back”

Jen – “Say Anything”

Favorite book you’ve read lately (his and hers)?

Jen – Cutting for Stone

Curt – Atlas Shrugged

Best phone app (his and hers)?

Curt is a Blackberry guy and plays a lot of Word Mole

Jen has an iPhone and recently discovered  the convenience of the Redbox app.

Finish this sentence: “We couldn’t live without….”

Our favorite babysitters Rhonda Bowman and Brittany MacLeod! And our supportive friends and family.

Thanks so much, Jen and Curt! Good luck with the golf tournament and thank you for making a huge difference in our community!

CharlotteSmartyPants.com

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