To Do Something Much More Complicated;

By | Featured post

One thing that people wonder about our program is how can we possibly teach a young child to fly? A complicated process that takes many hours of study and practice, and Flight1 is able to achieve that in three short years? The answer is, we don’t.  A child learns to do something much more complicated; how to find confidence in the face of obstacles that life has placed before them.
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Flying can be a terrifying experience for some adults.  By the unavoidable circumstances of youth, most children have a naïve fearlessness.  We exploit this bravery, build upon it, and help these children see themselves as being able to do things that many adults cannot fathom.  But not every child is the same and some will be hesitant. We know this.
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Depending on the child’s age and their development, our staff and volunteers are able to tailor the experience and meet the child where they are. We have many volunteers and a process to ensure that the child feels confident when it is time for them to take flight. Some kids love the process of discussing the aviation map, some love the experience of learning about the flight simulator, and yet others are simply fascinated by the mechanics of the plane’s engine.
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The beauty is that while each child starts in a unique place, every child wishes to follow the path to self-confidence. We recognize and honor that by simply creating the avenue for that to happen.

Your Guidance, Your Talents, and Your Support

By | Featured post

“Six years ago, I wanted to give one child the opportunity to forget about her chemo treatments for one day and spend the afternoon flying freely in the sky. Because of your guidance, your talents, and your support, Flight1 was born and has grown to what it is today; building confidence one child at a time. My personal mission now is to help children and their families, but I’ve realized that I, myself have been given the most valuable gift; to be able to connect with so many inspiring and compassionate people. Thank you, to all that have given to me, and to Flight1. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” ~Marcus Strawhorn, Founder of Flight1

No One Plans to Die in Their Thirties

By | Featured post

No one plans to die in their thirties. Yet Marcus, Founder and Executive Director of Flight1, was forced to face that in 2010. He was told that he may have a rare form of cancer that had a prognosis of only 2-10 years. How does one move forward, knowing you may only have a few years left? What do you do with your remaining time?
With a wife and two young sons, his thoughts tumbled frantically, finding no reprieve from this harsh truth he was forced to face. When others were thinking about playdates and soccer games, he was thinking about what he could leave behind so that his sons remembered their father. His mind a whirlwind of thoughts, Marcus found comfort in a memory of his youth; flying in an airplane with his father. The first time he took the controls on his own, was an experience that gave him strength and brought him courage; the courage he tapped into to get through the possibility of leaving his sons fatherless.
Luckily, Marcus’s diagnosis was much less serious than initially expected. Yet those moments of fear, uncertainty, and doubt were real. A moment facing one’s own mortality brings a self-reflection that is life-altering. The courage that came from the time he took the controls of the plane carried him through a difficult, dark time of his life, yet with that darkness Marcus chose to create light for others. With a sense of purpose and direction, he knew that something had to be created out of this experience. And that, was the beginning of Flight1.
So, then what does a child feel when they are told they have a lifelong illness; a child who does not yet have a full grasp of the world? How does a child deal with the death of a parent? Or a child with a disability that will never go away? We can never know nor can we predict. All we know is that they go through a time where life is turned upside-down as they face unimaginable challenges. During his time of reflection, Marcus realized one thing – that something can be given to a child facing these challenges: Courage, Hope, Joy. Marcus’s life was changed when he flew on his own, and now with Flight1, he is changing lives by giving those wings to others.


By | Stories from the Blog

This month we have been telling you about our first three Courageous Flier mentors. Each of them had a serious health challenge affect their family. Each of these three happened to lose a parent. Not all of the children in Flight1 have lost a mother or father, but this can bring an added level of confidence loss for kids.

Shawn was a little older than the other two kids when he started with Flight1. He was referred to the program by another wonderful Indiana nonprofit called Brooke’s Place. This is a nonprofit that provides support for kids who have lost a family member, and they often refer kids to Flight1. Shawn had lost his mother to cancer, and Flight1 provided a valuable source of something exciting for Shawn to look forward to. Having a simulator session or an airplane flight gives kids like him a distraction from the sad parts of life, but also a sense of control and confidence that circumstance has hidden from him.

When you donate, your money goes towards outreach and partnerships with organizations like Brooke’s Place. It provides airplane fuel for Shawn’s flight. Your contribution buys the official logbook that all our Courageous Fliers sign. Support from you helps research the best possible curriculum to build confidence with flight. In short, when you click the “Donate” button above, you give Indiana kids a life-changing experience.




By | Stories from the Blog

Tommy is a kind, friendly, easy-going kid. He laughs and jokes, and you’d never guess that he has dealt with more in his life than many adults.  Tommy and his mom were making it on their own, after the sudden loss of his father.

One of Tommy’s anchors in life is participating in the Boy Scouts of America. He and his mom had a ready-made community and support network with the Scouts when Tommy’s dad died. Someone in their troop told them about a friend of theirs, a guy named Marcus Strawhorn, who had started a nonprofit for kids from families affected by health challenges. His mom signed him up, little knowing that in a few years, Tommy would have completed the entire Courageous Flier program, and that she herself would become a board member of Flight1.

Luckily for Tommy, our programming was provided free of charge. Many families, especially after their family has faced a health challenge, don’t have extra money for an activity like this. That is why we are counting on our community to help more kids like Tommy fly. Each year of their confidence building flights costs $1,000. Can you fund part or all of a life changing experience today?



By | Stories from the Blog

Grace knew flying was in her blood. She had grown up thinking of aviation in relation to her father, a professional pilot. Her mom took photos of her trying to wear her dad’s pilot gear. Of course, she was swimming in the adult size clothes, but she couldn’t have known what significance those trappings of flight would come to have.

When Grace was an infant, her father died.  At the age of four she had no memory of her father but she knew she wanted to fly like her dad.  Grace’s mother enrolled in Flight1 the first year the program was available. It must have been so bittersweet at first, to do an activity that her dad had loved so much. Grace completed her first year of flight simulator and airplane flight. Never timid, never afraid of the sensations of flight, her courage grew. Besides, it gave her a way to connect to her dad, and she was strengthened by that thought.

Now, she has completed all three years of Flight1 programming, and is eager to return to encourage a new Courageous Flier. She is ready to talk to a kid who may not feel so confident, and reassure them that they have the strength to do what she did.

All three years of Grace’s programming required about $3,000. That’s a lot of money, but with your help, another kid like her can regain his or her emotional footing. Grace and her mom Gayle already understand the meaning and confidence that flight programming can give a family. Tap the “Donate” button now to help more Indiana children get started in the Courageous Flier program.



National Organization Supports Flight1 in Enormous Way

By | Stories from the Blog

NATP Check Presentation - Caroline


“It was almost as fun as a room full of accountants.”  No, that’s not the start of a joke, it really was fun and they really were tax professionals.  The National Association of Tax Professionals, NATP, had their 2016 national conference in Indianapolis the week of Aug. 7th and we were invited to join them.

Back in March, the national board members for NATP wanted to select, and highlight, the work of a local charity while they were in Indianapolis.  Flight1 earned that recognition and was the partnered charity for the event.

During the week of the conference, attendees went from one lecture to the next.  In between lectures Flight1 staff, volunteers, and interns were on site to talk about the Flight1 program.  After long days of education the conference attendees let loose.  They had a silent auction, competitive contests between state chapters, along with direct and anonymous donations over three consecutive nights. The auction got especially animated, with a small stuffed animal getting bids to over a thousand dollars!

While we weren’t able to meet all of the 900+ attendees, I did meet many people from the thirty-six NATP state chapters that were present.  It was heartwarming to meet people personally, to hear their stories and to hear their beliefs in the mission of Flight1.

On the last day of the convention, there was a formal recognition dinner which included a check presentation to Flight1 in the amount of $23,931.

To all the members of NATP, it was great to meet all of you. You have made an enormous impact on our mission of building confidence in children affected by serious health challenges. And if anyone ever asks me what group of people have the most fun, tax professional will certainly be at the top of the list.

On behalf of Caroline, the Flight1 family and me, thank you.


Why I’m Here – Story From a Summer Intern

By | Stories from the Blog

Recently I had a conversation with my uncle, who has his own private flying license, about his experience learning to fly a plane. I asked him to explain what it felt like to fly and how it changed his life. My uncle’s face lit up with excitement as he started telling me about the first time that he flew solo. There were so many little details and feelings that he expressed to me because it was such an amazing memory in his life. “I could have taken that plane anywhere that I wanted,” he said “but I got it into the air and back on the ground safely just as I had been trained.” After hearing his story I was excited to talk to him about the internship with Flight1 that I would be starting soon. About what the organization does and who they are helping. We talked about this for almost an hour, how Flight1 is all about building the confidence of the kids in the Courageous Fliers program. His story made me feel so much more confident that I had made the right choice in helping Flight1 this summer.

Earlier this month I began my journey with Flight1. As the Communications Intern I am going to be doing a myriad of work for the organization. But the part that I am looking forward to the most is seeing the lives of kids being changed, seeing their faces light up as they get out of a plane or take off in a flight simulator. Courageous Fliers have one of the most unique opportunities, to learn to co-pilot a plane, to fly.

Only a month into working with Flight1 I have already witnessed the impact that it has on the kids, and it is only the beginning. I truly am blessed to have such an amazing experience in front of me, to watch kid’s faces light up with joy. That is why I am here, and even though my work might not directly affect the kids I know that I am making a difference. And the work that I am doing, while not making a direct impact, will still make the lives of the Courageous Fliers and their families better. Goes to show you that anyone, no matter how small the contribution, can make a difference and change a kid’s life.

-Henry Walter, Communications Intern

Second Annual Beer Tasting and Home Brew Competition to Support Flight1

By | Stories from the Blog

beerHello Everyone,


Come out and support Flight1 on Saturday, August 27th!


What is it? – The Black Swan Brewpub (2067 E Hadley Rd Plainfield, IN) will be hosting local home brewers who can provide a tasting of their unique beers. The event will start at 11 am, the perfect time to get a group of friends together on a Saturday for a good cause.

Now that you’ve read this, you’re probably dying to get a ticket! If you purchase a ticket before July 7th, you’ll get a discounted price of $15. After this date, the price will be going up. The ticket includes admission to the beer tasting and a commemorative tasting glass.

For information for Beer Brewers, tasting the delicious beers, prizes, rules, and to purchase your ticket click here.

We would love to see you all there!

Black Swan Brew Event buy ticket

Impact and Purpose

By | Stories from the Blog

A Chicago-based organization, The Telling Well, donated the resources to make this video.  It tells the story of Flight1, the impact that we have, and the purpose for the program.

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