Original article can be found on https://www.oakland.edu/oumagazine/2017/spring/alumni/blanket-bonanza
“OU Alumnus Nicholas Kristock, executive director of Fleece and Thank You, invites you to make a blanket Aug. 5, 2017.
Since his days as a soccer superstar at Oakland University, Nicholas Kristock, SBA’13, and ’14, has turned his attention to helping others as the executive director of Fleece & Thank You. The nonprofit, dedicated to providing a fleece blanket to every sick child on extended-stay in a hospital, will celebrate Make A Blanket Day on Aug. 5, 2017. And Kristock wants fellow Golden Grizzilies to get involved.
“Saturday, Aug. 5 will be an awesome event with lots of info about our greater mission and goal to provide a blanket and video message to 30,000 kids in the state of Michigan,” says Kristock. “It will be a fun, family-friendly event with games, inflatables for kids, and many other cool attractions.”
The Make A Blanket Day event takes place 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at High Velocity Sports in Canton, Michigan. But before the big blanket bonanza, Kristock shares how his degrees from OU’s School of Business Administration prepared him to be a passionate nonprofit leader.
What is the significance of a blanket for Fleece & Thank You? Why not scarves or socks? What do the blankets signify?
Nearly everyone has their go-to blanket. For some of us, we’ve had it since childhood. For others, it’s just that extra comfy blanket we keep at home. It’s a form of protection and comfort from the struggles of a bad day or stressful time.
For kids in the hospital, the blanket is more than just fabric. During a time when they are not in their room at home, don’t have their sheets or their pillows, out of their routine, our blanket is a piece of hope that brightens their day. We like to call it armor for their battle.
Is there anything you learned in OU’s School of Business Administration that you still carry with you today?
I am very thankful to OU’s business program for giving me the nuts and bolts of business knowledge. I usually equate my degree to learning the mechanics of a car. Once I learned the mechanics, I had the tools necessary to solve any car problem I encountered.
Did you always envision yourself going into nonprofit work or did you envision being a CEO of a large company? How have you been pleasantly surprised by what you’ve been able to use your degree?
I am a big believer that things in life have to be a fit. In just the same way that a computer science guy really loves computers and goes into the computer field, I just really like getting in other people’s lives, figuring out what they need, and solving a problem for them. The nonprofit world was such a good fit for that. I really think that was how it was born; it was just a good fit for me.
Honestly, if I could be a doctor and find a cure for the world’s most terrible illnesses, I would. I am not a doctor, but I do have a business mind. I am thrilled I am using my business degree to still have an impact on children in the hospital.
Describe the type of personal growth you experienced over your OU education? What did you learn about yourself?
Oakland taught me the power of community, and I have the University to thank for some of my greatest friends and relationships in this life. These are the people that shape me daily, and I met them during my time at OU. These people have taught me to believe in myself, to trust the process, and to work really hard to accomplish my goals.”