Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you for joining us for another interview in our ongoing honoree interview series! For this interview, we had the honor of talking with Kimberly Cabral, the founder and CEO of MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids), and the Publisher MASK The Magazine, the MCA award-winning parenting manual offering solutions to the modern-day challenges families face. Each issue of the quarterly award-winning MASK The Magazine is an amazing toolkit for parents and caregivers that tackles a specific topic in-depth and examines how it can affect kids from pre-kindergarten to college. Keep reading to find out more about Kimberly and her award-winning publication, MASK The Magazine!
MCA: Hi Kimberly, thank you for sitting down with us today to talk about MASK The Magazine! Can I first start the interview off by finding out a little bit about yourself and your background?
Kimberly: I am the founder and CEO of MASK (Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids), and the Publisher of MASK The Magazine. MASK, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, was established in 2007.
I am the mother of a blended family of five children. I was inspired to create MASK after a conversation in the car with my son who was about to enter middle school. Realizing that issues relating to drug use, drinking, bullying, and technology safety are affecting children much younger than the then established prevention programs were being delivered, I approached two other moms who shared her concern about the safety and well-being of children. Together, after receiving training by experts such as police detectives and psychologists in areas that included drugs, bullying, self-esteem, and internet safety, we formed MASK, offering age-appropriate prevention programs for children from kindergarten to college and accompanying parent programs.
The MASK mission is to engage and educate parents, children, and the community about issues facing youth today and to empower children to make safe, healthy choices. My vision for MASK’s school-based program, the MASK E3 Institute, is to build and strengthen social and emotional skills in children while helping the school create a positive climate and atmosphere in a manner that helps teachers and school administrators meet educational standards.
In 2011, my passion for reaching families led me to create MASK The Magazine, a quarterly publication that provides parenting solutions for today’s families. It is the parenting manual offering solutions to the modern-day challenges families face. I recognized that parents want the latest information affecting youth however they are time-deprived and often unable to make one more commitment to attend a parent meeting. MASK The Magazine is a resource for busy moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers, and professionals to stay up-to-date on the important issues affecting school-age children. I have a steadfast ability to accomplish anything I put my mind to and my vision and passion to help families is unwavering. I believe my team is created of individuals with specific talents and gifts who when working together have the ability to create long-lasting, effective change among today’s youth and families. Most importantly, I believe in helping school-age children make better decisions because they are our most precious resource.
I love being a mom and love my passion and purpose of MASK, and other than that love cooking, and decorating. You can find me in hot yoga classes and always listening to my son’s music, KOA.
MCA: I’m sure there are many grateful teachers, parents, and caregivers out there that are thankful for MASK and MASK The Magazine! Tell us about the creation of your company and how your kids inspired you to create it!
Kimberly: I started MASK based on a conversation I had with my son driving in the car. Growing up my family did not talk about the tough stuff and when I became a parent I wanted to talk about the tough stuff, and teach them about it. I think once you become a parent you either parent how you were parented or you see things that need to be changed. Communication was something that I wanted to have with my kids. So driving in the car I brought up a conversation to my son basically saying “when I was a kid, kids were talking about sex” have you heard anything?”. It started an hour and a half conversation about what kids were doing; from bullying to substance abuse and everything in between. and we were in elementary school. My son hadn’t done anything, it was just the fact that this was his world and he was waiting to talk about it. From that moment my blinders were taken off and I started doing the research talking to professionals talking to police departments and really unraveling this world that our kids are living in and that was back in 2007. I started to research other nonprofits because I wanted to learn more selfishly so I could teach my kids and after the research, I found that the organizations out there were very topic-specific and they didn’t start the education process until really high school. After learning everything that I did, and understanding that all the topics are interconnected and the behaviors actually start during the elementary years I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t something out there talking about everything age appropriately as well as ongoing. So MASK was started from that moment.
MCA: That is truly amazing. Resources such as MASL The Magazine are so important for parents and caregivers, especially as their children reach adolescents. Tell us more about the needs you were trying to address when you created MASK The Magazine!
Kimberly: MASK The Magazine was created because of the programming that we do in schools for students. Our philosophy is you have to educate the kid, the climate, and the reinforcement meaning parent or grandparent whoever they go home to. In order to build life skills and create change, it has to be ongoing and the same messages have to be reinforced. We would go and educate a thousand kids in a school and offer a parent version to that and we would have five or ten parents show up to learn about these issues. Understanding that families are busy and sometimes adding another thing is just too much. Master magazine was created literally to be a program on paper and provide parenting solutions for today’s families.
MCA: Each quarterly issue tackles a specific topic in-depth. Can you tell us about some of the in-depth topics the magazine has tackled in the past?
Kimberly: We have covered a lot of everything. Our first issue was the bullying issue, we have covered all substance-related issues, technology, and overall health and wellness. The thing about our magazines is that they are evergreen. We develop it on the core issues of every topic and from cover to cover provide solutions, strategies, tools, and knowledge so when families may be dealing with one of these topics it gives them the roadmap on what to do. It breaks down from pre-k through college what all of these issues look like and resources to help. We encourage families to build their MASK Library so when life happens they know what to turn to. We have back stock from the very first issue for that reason.
MCA: In what ways does the Magazine help foster parent-child relationships and provide solutions to common parenting problems?
Kimberly: In every issue of MASK The Magazine we have a section called Making the Grade. Every issue is based on one topic, and in the Making the Grade section, it breaks down what that topic looks like, the warning signs, what you can do, conversation starters to have with your child in relation to it, as well as additional reading materials and resources. It breaks it down from pre-k through college
MCA: What a great resource to have at your fingertips! What kind of feedback have you received about MASK The Magazine?
Kimberly: Here is one response we have received from our readers:
I was just sitting here at my desk reviewing and reading your magazine and I am absolutely blown away. [MASK The Magazine] is a tremendous piece of work on a variety of subjects and perspectives that school age children’s parents will find so meaningful and important.
MCA: What is next for MASK The Magazine?
Kimberly: We continue to strive to bring the content that families want and need today. We want more families to learn about us so, in the end, more children can thrive because of it.
MCA: We wish you and MASK all the success, thank you for a wonderful interview, Kimberly!
You can learn more about Kimberly Cabral and her award-winning publication, MASK The Magazine, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.