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.

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.”

Holiday, Seasonal, Service Projects for Families

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is the 7 day festival that begins on December 26th and goes until New Years Day. Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga and is a beautiful celebration of faith, community and creativity. This festival originates from African harvest festivals and was created so that African Americans and Pan Americans could celebrate their heritage and come together in unity.

Each day of Kwanzaa focuses on a different principle and each night a new candle on the kinara is lit. Kinara’s can be expensive so if you wanted to celebrate Kwanzaa with your family, you could always make a paper kinara and add a paper flame to the appropriate candle each night.  Some examples of paper kinara’s are HERE and HERE.

The 7 principles or pillars of Kwanzaa are things that EVERYONE can strive for all year long.  Below I have included the 7 principles, some ideas for activities that you and your family can do for each and some of our favorite Kwanzaa books.

  1. Umoja or Unity–This pillar is there to remind people of the importance of unity in their families, their communities and their race.  The center black candle is lit on this night. To celebrate Umoja, it might be a great time to have a family game night, a special family dinner or go on a Gratitude Walk as a family.  Click HERE to learn more.1
  2. Kujichagulia or Self-DeterminationKujichagulia is all about defining who you are and what you stand for.  The far left red candle is lit on this night.  Kujichagulia would be a great day to set some goals with your children.  Maybe you could do a New Year Interview or create a vision board together of their hopes and dreams.  This could be done with old magazine photos, drawings and you could even make a big family vision board.1
  3. Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility-Ujima is about working as a community to solve problems. The far right green candle is lit on this night.  Ujima would be a great day to volunteer your time.  Perhaps you could donate food to the local food bank, visit a nursing home, bring animal supplies to a shelter or clean up a local park.4
  4. Ujamaa or Coopertive EconomicsUjamaa is all about supporting local businesses to help them to thrive and grow in your community.  The second red candle is lit on this night.  Small businesses are vital to our local economies and Ujamaa is a great day to show them your appreciation.  Perhaps today you make cards for the local businesses in your community and deliver them with a “Thank You” for all they do.3
  5. Nia or Purpose-Nia is all about building community and remembering our traditions. The second green candle is lit on this night. To celebrate Nia you could visit or call the elders in your family and ask them to share stories of the past (I know they’d love to hear from you).  Make sure to record these precious conversations so that you can play them back again and again. It might be fun to look through old photo albums to see how traditions have been passed down in your family from generation to generation.6
  6. Kuumba or Creativity-Kuumba encourages us to do as much as we can to leave our world and surroundings better off than when we came. The last red candle is lit on this night. Kuumba would be a great day to clean up your street, your local park or help a neighbor with an outdoor chore.  If your world is covered in snow, perhaps you make hot cocoa for the town plow drivers or give them gift cards to a local coffee shop.  You could make some artwork for the local nursing home to brighten up the residents rooms and leave the world a little brighter. The sixth night of Kwanzaa is also time for the Karamu or the big feast of Kwanzaa.  4
  7. Imani or FaithImani is there to remind us to believe in the people around us (parents, teachers and leaders) and to remember the struggle of the African Americans in this nation.  The last green candle is lit this night.  You can celebrate Imani by thanking all those people in your life who help you out.  Maybe you could write thank you notes for the gifts you received during the holidays or call someone special to let them know how much they mean to you.5

Favorite Books for Kwanzaa

517EVTWGW5L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This book is no longer in print but you may be able to get it at your local library. This is a sweet story of kindness is all about Imani learning about Kwanzaa and her family traditions from her grandmother.  In this story it is the sixth night of Kwanzaa and time for the Karamu (the big feast of Kwanzaa) on New Year’s Eve.  It is Imani’s turn to light the Kinara on this special night and she is nervous.  What will the gift for Imani be?

 

 

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This is a nice alphabet book that helps to understand all of the Swahili words and customs associated with Kwanzaa.  This is a great book for your family if you have never celebrated Kwanzaa before and would like to learn more about this festival of light and family. From the publisher: “A unique alphabet book for children and a wonderful introduction to Kwanzaa, the holiday that celebrates African American heritage.
 For example:A is for Africa — Africa is the second largest continent. It has many countries. African Americans’ ancestors came from Africa. Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates the rich heritage of Africa.”

 

 

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From the publisher: “Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.”

 

 

From the Publisher: “Li’l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won’t celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu. Li’l Rabbit knows what to do! He’ll find Granna Rabbit a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway. Inspired by Brer Rabbit, a trickster character from the African-American folklore tradition, the story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa—coming together to help others.”