Incredible Kids, Kids in Service Clubs

Kids in Service was on TV!!

www.kidsinservice.net-3

Watch the interview below to see what some of the kids love about Kids in Service & to learn more about our local Kids in Service program!  Thank you so much to Cheryl Haas for inviting us to be her first guests on her new show, Community Connection!

Empathy, Kindness

Project Seeds of Kindness

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A few years ago my Kids in Service group made Seeds of Kindness.  After reading the book, Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson, I was inspired to find a simple way for the kids in my group to start their own Pay it Forward project.  

Each family was given this cute little smile bag that I found on Oriental Trading and some emoji magnets (also from Oriental Trading).  The kids made happy pictures with uplifting messages on them, “You are Special!”Thanks for Being YOU!” and enclosed the magnet inside of their folded up picture.  They were then encouraged to pass out their Seeds of Kindness to the people that they encountered over the summer.

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Will you and your family accept this mission of KINDNESS?

Your Mission:  Create simple Seeds of Kindness to help brighten the day of the people you meet when you are out and about in the world.

Supplies:  paper, drawing materials, a bag to hold the Seeds of Kindness so you can take them on the go (a ziplock works great).

Optional Supplies: fun magnets, a dollar scratch ticket, single stemmed flowers, a happy eraser, a pretty stone, $5 gift card for a coffee (the possibilities are endless).

Procedure: Work as a family to create happy and uplifting drawings.  Everyone who can hold a crayon without eating it can participate in this part! Write uplifting messages on the drawings (You are Special, You are One of a Kind, Thanks for Being You, You are going a Great Job, Thanks for Being a Light in this World, Thanks for your Smiles etc.).  Fold up the drawings into small squares (“seeds”) and put them in a bag of your choice so you can take them with you on the go.

Optional:  Add a fun magnet, a dollar scratch ticket, a flower a happy eraser, a pretty stone or a $5 gift card for coffee or lunch to the seeds.

Keep the Seeds of Kindness with you in the car or while you are on the go and when you see someone who has gone above and beyond or someone who looks like they could use a pick me up, give them a Seed of Kindness.  Perhaps the mailman looks a little blue, the woman at the checkout was extra friendly or a mom with screaming children looks like she could use some kindness.  These Seeds of Kindness are meant to be spread around and given to EVERYONE.  My family loves to give them to the toll attendants (along with a $5 gift card at the Holidays) and their reactions are alway priceless.

featured, Kindness, Making a Difference, Pay it Forward Summer, Service Projects for Families

Art for Hospice

Make a Difference May

It is hard not to smile when you look at the children’s artwork on this page.  In January, our Kids in Service NH group painted cheerful paintings for the patients at a hospice house. Volunteers visit the residents and ask if they would like to choose one of our paintings to cheer up their room.  The painting of their choice gets hung on their bulletin board and it is our hope that everyone who visits their room is brought a little joy in a very difficult situation.

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This spring, we partnered with the hospice house again and painted small terra cotta pots.  I sealed each one with glaze and then we planted a flower in each pot.  The 20 pots were delivered to the patients staying at the hospice house and other hospice patients around the community.

Make a Difference May-11

Creating artwork to cheer up hospice patients is a WONDERFUL service project for all ages.  You could paint uplifting paintings, make blank greeting cards with the children’s drawings on the front or paint pots like we did.  I recommend that you reach out to the volunteer coordinator at your local hospice house and see if they would like children’s art donations.

Hospice is a very difficult and sad concept for young children.  I suggest that you tell your children that you are painting happy art for people who are sick in the hospital.  That is all they need to know to be invested in this project.  I am sure that their art donation will not only bring a little joy into the patient’s heart but the hearts of their family as well.

Blog, Incredible Kids, Making a Difference

My Two Incredible Kids

pay it forward summer (3)

For the past few months, Kids in Service has been celebrating all of the WONDERFUL service work that children around the country have been doing.  I love that we are able to highlight their accomplishments and hope that their work inspires other children around the globe.  Today, I wanted to take a minute to celebrate the two most important INCREDIBLE Kids in my life…my son Zach and my daughter Caroline.

We are a homeschooling family and as part of their portfolios, I write up an End of Year Assessment.  Over the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon what the kids have accomplished during this school year.  Looking back, it is easy to see that this has been a Year of Service for our family.  Service learning is a valuable tool for all kids, no matter their age or where they go to school.  Learning to think about others, embracing diversity, learning about the bigger world and finding a way to help make a difference are important life-long lessons that they will carry with them into adulthood.

One of Zach and Caroline’s big service projects, happens right here in our home.  For the past 6 years my children have produced a community newspaper for friends and family.  They have over 40 subscribers, many contributors and put out 3 issues a year.  They charge a nominal fee for their paper but because of their generous subscribers, they have raised over $1200 in 6 years.  ALL of that money has been donated to 12 different charities.  This newspaper has evolved over the years and has become a community project.  I am so proud of how hard Z and C work and how careful they are to pick the charities that will be receiving the funds after each issue.

Outside of the home, Zach and Caroline have spent many hours this year serving our community.  It is not always fun for them but they show up and work hard until the job is done.  They have learned first hand about homelessness, compassion, drug addictions, diversity, poverty, empathy, hunger and gratitude.  I am so proud of them, the work they are doing and look forward to serving along side them, for many years to come.  They are INCREDIBLE Kids!

Book Corner, Making a Difference

Books to Inspire Action and Service

The books below are meant to inspire your children to make a difference in their community.  These books are filled with characters (many of them real) who looked at problems in their own homes, communities and in the greater world and decided to take action and serve.  We hope that you will enjoy these stories and that they will lead you to your own service projects this month (this post contains affiliate links, see info below).

CLICK HERE for our FREE Kids in Service Printable Booklist.  Happy Reading!

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Grandpa’s Corner Store by Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan is a story about the struggle that small businesses have with larger box stores coming in to town.  The box stores have cheaper prices and more variety and this makes it hard for the smaller stores to compete. In this story, Lucy is determined to help her grandpa’s store to survive once the big new grocery store comes to town.  She rallies the neighborhood in this feel-good story.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

 

 

 

 

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena is one of my favorite stories!  The little boy is not happy about having to make the long weekly journey on the bus with his grandmother and spends his time looking out the window thinking about all of the things that he doesn’t have.  Grandma helps him to see all that he does have during there ride.  In the end he is grateful that they made the long journey to to the soup kitchen to help others!  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

 

 

 

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Can a Cookie Change the World? by Rhonda Boiling –This is a new book to me and I absolutely LOVED it.  What a great message for children that they CAN make a big difference in their community (and the world).  Tessa at age 7, wanted to help the local homeless population and decided to raise money at the local Christmas Bazaar by baking cookies.  This small idea turned into a cause that the community has rallied behind and Kids Cookie’s for a Cause has raised thousands of dollars for many different charities and causes. Tessa is an INCREDIBLE kid!  This book would be perfect or ages 5 and up and 70% of the proceeds of this book, go to charity!

 

 

 

 

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Shaking Things Up by Susan Hood–This book of poems highlights 14 women of history who shook things up and helped to make a difference in this world.  Each page has a beautiful illustration, a different type of poem about a little blurb of history about the woman’s contribution to our world.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

 

 

 

 

 

Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner is the story of a real-life hero, Cornelius Washington.  Cornelius was a street sweeper in New Orleans and was always spreading joy wherever he worked with his fun tricks and large smile.  When Hurricane Katrina hit, Cornelius was determined to clean up his beautiful city.  He quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done.  That is when the neighborhood rallies together and volunteers come from around the globe to help him clean up New Orleans.  This book is a heartwarming story about a man who made the world a better place by not only keeping the streets clean but also with his loving heart and kind soul.  I would recommend this book to ages 4 and up.

 

 

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams is a great example that you can make a BIG difference right in your own home if you work hard and make sacrifices.  The main character does come home with her mother to a house fire.  This may be scary for some young children but is done in a gentle way and shows the love of the community and neighborhood and how they rallied around the family after they lost everything.  This book is about family, love, kindness and hard work.  I would recommend this book to ages 5 and up.

 

 

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Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee–The world can be a scary place and the news is filled with sad and upsetting stories.  This simple book is about how one family chooses to put aside their fears, live their life and spread kindness along the way.  This book would be good for children ages 5 and up.

 

 

 

 

If You’re Going to a March by Martha Freeman is a sweet and simple book to introduce young children to the idea of being part of a march/protest.  This book will not only explain what it means to protest peacefully but will answer any questions they may have about the process (where do we park? where do we go to the bathroom etc.).  Best of all this book will put aside any worries or fears that they may have about being part of the event. I would recommend this book to budding activists age 5 and up 🙂

 

 

 

 

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As I have said before, we are HUGE Brad Meltzer fans in our house.  We love the Ordinary People series and we have read almost all of them.  I am Jane Goodall is a kid friendly biography of scientist and environmental activist Jane Goodall.  Jane did not follow a straight and narrow path to becoming a scientist.  She followed her passion and love of animals and learned so much about the importance of patience and perseverance in her work with chimpanzees.  Jane has made a big difference in this world and she continues to inspire generations to take care of our planet and the creatures that share the earth with us.   I recommend this book to children ages 5+.

 

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The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind picture book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer is the true story of 14 year old William Kamkwamba and his effort to help his village during a terrible drought.  William spent all of his free time trying to figure out how to bring electricity to his village and using junk scraps, built a windmill.  This book would be great for ages 6 and up.

 

 

 

 

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One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul  is the true story of a woman named Isatou Ceesay who took on the growing problem of trash in her village in Gambia.  The trash littering the streets was killing goats (who ate plastic bags), caused malaria outbreaks and created a terrible smell.  Isatou decided she could no longer ignore this problem and gathered a group of women to recycle the trash and turn it into treasure. I love the beautiful illustrations in this book and the powerful message is one that all people over age 3 should hear.  You can learn how to make your own plastic bag purse by clicking HERE.

 

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Love by Matt De La Pena—This BEAUTIFUL book is on my list of FAVORITE  CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF ALL TIME.  This story illustrates the many versions of love found through out this world.  Love knows no boundaries and can be found all around us.  The beautiful text and illustrations in this book show just that.  This would be a great book for ages 3 and up.

 

 

 

 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

 

 

Incredible Kids, Kindness, Making a Difference, Quick Service Projects

Bags for the Homeless

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Recently our Kids in Service NH group came together to make Homeless Bags and Dignity Bags for a local homeless shelter.  All of the bags included necessary items to help with hygiene and comfort.  The children made cards with uplifting messages and drawings for each bag so that the recipient would know that they are special.

The Dignity Bags that we packed (I did this project with older children) were so appreciated. I spoke with one woman who said that being homeless is tough enough but being a homeless woman is really challenging.  Homeless shelters do not always have feminine products available.  These are not items that are donated often and there is such a demand for them.

Making bags for the homeless is one of my favorite service projects to do with a group.  We were able to make 32 bags when we did this project.  Each family was in charge of bringing a group of items (32 granola bars etc.) and we split up the more expensive items.  Below you will find some suggestions for items for your bags.  Many of these items can be collected on hotel stays (shampoo, soap, lotion etc.).  You need not include all of the items below, these are just some ideas.

Item Ideas for a Homeless Bag

large plastic bag (gallon size)

pair of socks

bar of soap (with a small plastic bag so they can store the used soap for future showers)

travel bottle of shampoo

toothbrush and toothpaste

granola or cereal bars

chapstick

wash cloth

hand wipes

travel bottle of hand lotion

comb

a sweet treat (be careful to include items that won’t melt if it is summer)

A Note or Drawing of Encouragement

 

Item Ideas for a Dignity Bag

All of the Items Above

women’s underwear

feminine products

razor and shaving cream

 

Things not to Include

Anything that Includes Alcohol (hand sanitizer, mouthwash, perfume etc.)

Anything that is expired or that will spoil quickly

Make a Difference May-4

Makayla Waters (age 12) and Lily Levesque (age 11) of Salem, NH spent one evening putting together dignity bags for homeless women in Lawrence, MA.  They were inspired after reading an article called, The Homeless Period.  Many homeless women have to choose between sanitary products and food each month with the little money that they have.  These INCREDIBLE pre-teens decided to take action and put together dozens of bags during a weekend sleepover.  Makayla and Lily, thank you so much for being such thoughtful and INCREDIBLE kids!!

Incredible Kids, Kindness, Making a Difference, Service Projects for Families

Kid Knits-Started by a 9 Year-Old!

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“You’re never too young to change a life on the other side of the world”–www.kidknits.org

My daughter discovered Kid Knits a few years ago and we have purchased many of their hat making kits and yarn since.  Kid Knits was started by Ellie when she was just nine years old.  She wanted to help people on the other side of the world by using the yarn that they made to knit hats.  With family support, Ellie started a non-profit organization.  Kid Knits now supports woman in Chile, Rwanda and Kenya by giving them a channel to sell their yarn.

In our home we have made adult hats, child hats and doll hats (lots of doll hats).  The kits come with a round loom, directions and beautiful wool yarn in a variety of colors.  Making hats is super easy to do with the loom and the perfect thing to do while watching TV or listening to an audio book.  The kits range in price from $14-$24 or you can buy the yarn separately.  All kits come in beautiful handmade bag from Chile and they make wonderful gifts.

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From my 9 year old daughter: “The kit helps to make knitting hats easier.  The yarn is soft and bright. It is cool that a 9 year old started Kid Knits.”

Ellie is another example that you are never too young to make a difference in this world. From her home in Illinois, she is helping women on the other side of the world to have an income source.  Check out this video about Kid Knits below, Ellie is an INCREDIBLE Kid!!

Incredible Kids, Kindness, Making a Difference, Service Projects for Families

Organizing a Food Drive

Make a Difference May-2

A few years ago, our Kids in Service NH group organized a Food Drive.  Our goal was to collect 1,000 items for the local food bank and the kids worked so hard and surpassed that goal!

The food drive was organized in the spring and many went to door to door collecting food from neighbors.  The children emailed friends and family and asked for donations, many sent money.  My children sent a box with their dad to work and sent out a company wide email.  This experience was hands-on and I was so proud of the kids and all that they accomplished!

You do not need to set such a high goal but organizing a food drive with friends and family is a great way to give back to your local community.  This is a GREAT time of year to organize a food drive.  Food banks get the bulk of their donations in November and December and thus the spring and summer months can be pretty sparse.

Food Banks are looking for items that are non-perishable and that are within expiration date.  The best items to donate to food banks are:

FOOD

Peanut Butter (or Nut FREE versions)

Rice

Beans

Pasta and Sauce

Canned Meat (chicken, tuna, salmon, SPAM, ham)

Applesauce

Cooking Oils

Instant Mashed Potatoes

Canned Vegetables and Fruit

 

Hygiene Items

Soap and Shampoo

toothpaste and toothbrushes

Feminie Products

Diapers and Wipes

Meet Joshua, when he was 4 1/2 he started organizing food drives with the help of his parents in Miami where he is from.  This led to the start of his youth-led foundation, Joshua’s Heart.  Since starting his foundation, he has raised over 1 million dollars, distributed 2.2 million pounds of food, distributed 100 thousand toys, clothes and toiletries and has over 25 thousand youth volunteers.  The video above was filmed 4 years ago when he was just 11, it is both inspiring and heart warming.  Joshua is truly an INCREDIBLE kid!

Kindness, Making a Difference

Fundraising for a Cause

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Hosting a fundraiser for charity is a WONDERFUL way to help your children make a difference in their community or in the greater world.   Lemonade stands and bake sales (or a combination) are great ways for children to work and raise money for a charity they believe in.

The lemonade and cookie stand above was run by my children and their cousins on a hot spring day.  We had permission to set up the stand and all of their ingredients were donated.  They helped to bake the cookies, make the lemonade, create the signs and set up the stand. They had set prices but asked each customer if they would like their change (most said “NO”) and the kids raised over $60 for the NH Food Bank.

Our local animal shelter (Nevins Farm) will allow families to host a lemonade stand on their property, if you sign up for a date and donate all of the funds to their organization.  See if your shelter or another local charity will allow you to do the same.

Tips to have a successful fundraiser:

  1. Get the ingredients donated (have your parents, grandparents or neighbors donate your ingredients so that all money raised can be donated to charity)
  2. Advertise
  3. Make sure to wash your hands when handling all food and drink!!
  4. Post any allergens in your baked goods (nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs etc.)
  5. Make sure your city or town does not require a permit for hosting a charitable lemonade stand or bake sale.
  6. Set up in a high traffic area (but make sure you have permission to be there if it is not private property).
  7. Make sure you have adult supervision!
  8. Have a box with change.
  9. Make signs with your prices and the charity you will be donating to.
  10. Make sure you have plenty of cups, napkins and ice in a cooler to keep your lemonade cold.

 

Tessa Has Changed Her Community Through Baking Cookies

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Can a Cookie Change the World? by Rhonda Boiling –This is a new book to me and I absolutely LOVED it.  What a great message for children that they CAN make a big difference in their community (and the world).  Tessa at age 7, wanted to help the local homeless population and decided to raise money at the local Christmas Bazaar by baking cookies.  This small idea turned into an annual cause that the community has rallied behind.  Kids Cookie’s for a Cause has raised thousands of dollars for many different charities and causes. Tessa is an INCREDIBLE kid!  This book would be perfect or ages 5 and up and 70% of the proceeds of this book, go to charity!

Children Who Have Made a Difference with Lemonade Stands

There are countless stories on the internet of children organizing successful lemonade stands for charity.  Here are four sweet stories of four INCREDIBLE kids.

Alex’s Lemonade is an organization that was started by Alex Scott while she was fighting childhood cancer.  She hosted a lemonade stand at age 4 in her yard to raise money for childhood cancer research and raised over $2,000.  Before her death in 2004, Alex had raised over $1,000,000 for charity.  Alex’s parents set up a non-profit in her memory and children all over the world hold lemonade stands in the month of June to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  If you would like to sign up to participate in this fundraiser, please click HERE.  Alex was an INCREDIBLE Kid!

 

Ella, who was born with a cleft lip, raised over $19,000 for the charity Smile Train with her first lemonade stand.  Smile Train provides the funds for children with cleft lips, to have surgery to correct their lips.  Ella had cleft lip surgery when she was a baby and wanted to organize the stand to help children just like her who couldn’t afford the surgery.  She now holds a lemonade stand every year on her birthday and it is believed she has raised over $120,000.

 

This young boy heard that the family of one of his classmates was struggling to put food on the table and he knew he wanted to help.  He set up a local lemonade stand and raised over $500 for his local food bank.  This donation purchased over 2,000 pounds of food for the food bank shelves.  Logan is an INCREDIBLE kid!

 

Meet Mikaila, she was 4 years old and when she was stung by 2 bees in one week.  She decided to take that experience and learn something about the insects that scared her.  After learning all about bees and the danger they face, she started a lemonade stand to raise money to help save the bees.  Fast forward to today and she has turned that little stand into a profitable business with a non-profit organization to help educate and save the honeybees.  She was even on Shark Tank and you can find her Me and the Bees Lemonade at Whole Foods and other small grocery stores!  This little entrepreneur is an INCREDIBLE kid.

Kindness, Making a Difference, Quick Service Projects

Birthday Boxes

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Birthday’s come but once a year and are a great reason to celebrate another trip around the sun.  Unfortunately for some, birthdays are an added expense that can not be afforded.  With a few simple items and a shoebox, you can create a birthday box to bless someone in need with a grand celebration.

What do you need for a birthday box?

1 box of cake mix

1 tub of frosting

birthday candles (no matches)

1-2 decorations (balloons, banner, streamers and/or party hat etc.)

small unisex toys or favors (stickers, crayons, markers, toy ball, small LEGO etc.)

a shoebox or small plastic rectangular box

We donated the birthday boxes we made to our local food bank and they distributed them out to families in need.  This is an easy project for all ages and can make a big difference in the life of a child.  You could even make this a tradition to put birthday boxes together on your children’s birthday.  Everyone deserves the chance to celebrate their birthday.

Meet Bella, a third grader from Kentucky who builds birthday boxes to ensure that the children in her school are all able to celebrate their birthdays!  What an INCREDIBLE kid!!

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“The Birthday Box  is a “party in a box” that is anonymously delivered to children
who may not otherwise have a celebration on their special day.”