Public service, polar bears and music #LEAD360

The past few days have been so busy that I don’t know where to start so I’m just going to go in order of when it all happened.

So last week I found out that I was selected for the 2017 Christina School District Middle School Band. I play percussion. I’ll be playing the Timpani. So that’s really cool and my family is really proud of me and excited for me. A few of my friends also made it, like Milan, he plays trumpet.

brae-voteSo I found out that I am in the top 5 projects across the nation for the Jefferson Awards LEAD360 Challenge. The winning project gets activated nationwide which means we will be able to launch 3B Ripples across the country and help provide people in need everywhere with healthy food while also activating the service project in schools across the US. The winner is picked based on voting. You can vote on the LEAD360 Web Page and also on the Jefferson Awards Facebook page.

indyAnd then the Jefferson Awards Foundation has Students in Action projects over the weekend. And it was really cool because Central Indiana packed Brae’s Brown Bags! They even did an awesome #mannequinchallenge while packing and I’m definitely going to plan on doing that during our hunger conference in April. So even though I couldn’t be there they still included me on everything because they were tweeting to me and sharing the process. I was able to record a quick message for them, too. So I was able to let them know that I am grateful for their service.

braeseafordThen on Saturday in Seaford, Delaware, my Mom and I visited their Students in Action and I was able to talk to some of the students. They packed about 80 bags of healthy food which was then donated to Jim Martin at the ACE Peer Resource Center in Seaford.

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Please take time to watch a video about the ACE Peer Resource Center. Jim Martin has been alone, he has been there, he has been homeless, he knows what that feels like on a personal level. He talked to us to try and help us understand. When someone comes in off the street they are exhausted, they are alone, they are hungry and sometimes all the need is a warm place to sit, to get something to eat and put on a pair of new socks. He is a very good man and he is helping a lot of people. I’m proud of the Students in Action for their service and I’m happy the ACE Peer Resource Center received the bags.

c36o9okvyaauqv3Then on Sunday the 3B team went to Rehoboth Beach to do the Polar Bear Plunge! We raised over $1,000 for the Special Olympics! My stepdad took this picture with me, mom Mom, my brother Finn and my sister Amelia. Before we jumped into the 41 degree water. Well, me, my Mom and my Gram went in the water. I still can’t believe my Mom and my Gram went in the water. But they did! My Dad and Mom Mom and brother Michael and my Grandmom and Grandpop and Aunt Kristin were all there to watch us be crazy! The radio said over $900,000 was raised all together by the plungers yesterday!

So please vote for me in the LEAD360 Challenge! You can vote once per day it ends on Tuesday, February 14 at midnight.

Thank you in advance!

#Hello2017

hello2017While Braeden and I ended 2016 with the flu and pneumonia, we were able to begin 2017 feeling MUCH better and hopeful for a bright new year. Braeden tweeted on New Years saying, “This year let your light shine! Make the choice to believe that 2017 is going to be amazing.” I absolutely love that sentiment. Way to go, Brae!

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Finn, Amelia and Tom Parkins from Calvary Baptist

My other two kids, Finn and Amelia, were able to help me deliver 3B bags to Calvary Baptist Church on Christmas Eve which has become an annual Christmas tradition for us since we started 3B. We provided bags for all of the homeless guests who partook in their Christmas Eve festivities. Thanks to my Aunt Mares we were also able to provide hats, scarves and gloves.

While Brae was sick my sweet Finn really stepped up. At first he didn’t want to leave his Google Santa Tracker, but when I explained that tracking the houses Santa stops at is fun to do. but not everyone has a house. So for those people we get to be Santa! He put on his Santa hat immediately and was ready to go!

It feels so good to be able to play Santa every now and then.

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One of the photos of some fantastic kids at MOT Charter (other photos are on our Facebook page)

MOT Charter invited Braeden to speak to the 2nd and 3rd graders a few days before Christmas (when he was still healthy). We are absolutely amazed and humbled to report they packed 426 bags! They also donated a car load of books and healthy snacks for us to use in making additional bags.

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The Power Of One

When we initially walked into the school one of the first things we saw was a showcase that featured Braeden! Of course I had him stand near it so I could take a picture, but honestly, normally you see trophies in cases like this and to see 3B featured felt pretty incredible. The showcase was titled “The Power of One” and it inside were pictures of Brae’s last visit to MOT Charter as well as quotes printed out from Brae’s talk. It definitely helped both of us to feel even more inspired that day. And to see  all the great work MOT Charter has done in helping to provide healthy food to those in need in their community via Our Daily Bread and with help from the Jefferson Awards Foundation.

Less than a week prior to the MOT Charter visit we received word that our 3B Ripple at Caravel Academy packed 131 bags! We were able to use some of those bags on Christmas Eve for those in need!

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3B Ripple – Caravel Cares Club (3C)

The generosity and compassion I see in these young students overwhelms me with joy. I know it means a great deal to Braeden as well. When he is invited to speak at a school he is always very excited to hear that the kids will ask him after his talk. And as his Mom, I love being able to see him interact with youth and empower them to be involved in what he is doing, but also to dream big with their own ideas on how they can help their community.

So we hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We also wish you a new year filled with happiness, love and laughter. Be the light in the world, be the change!

– Christy, Brae’s Mom

Helping people in Tennessee

15317992_1294447660598964_8130073004947340107_nWhen Braeden heard about the wildfires in Tennessee which left so many people homeless and heartbroken he immediately told me that he wanted to help them like we did with folks in Flint, Michigan and in Louisiana. So we created a care package which includes special 3B bags and sent it to Sevier County, Tennessee! We hope when it arrives that the bags will be given to people in need and that those people will find hope in them. Each bag has a note letting the recipient know there are people in Delaware praying for them.

Brae reached out to make sure the package was received. Three people from the University of Tennessee responded to let us know they were received and very much needed due to the extensive damage caused by the fires.

One of the emails said, “Braeden,

Thank you for thinking of those affected by the fires in Tennessee and sending the gift bags.  As Mr. Bruhin said, they were received and in fact we will be distributing them tomorrow to 4-H members and their families who have lost everything in the fires.  They arrived on Tuesday [last week], so the timing is perfect.  They are a great fit with some of the other gifts we are sharing with Sevier County 4-H members.

Thank you again for thinking of us and thank you for serving others in this way.

Glenn”

For those of you wondering how you can help please check out this CNN page:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/us/iyw-tennessee-wildfires-how-to-help/

Meeting UD resident advisors, and our younger student ripples, plus #givingtuesday

A couple weeks ago Braeden had an opportunity to meet several resident advisors from Residence Life and Housing at the University of Delaware. He was given the chance to talk with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and about how he thinks we can all really make big positive changes in the world if we work together. We had a bunch of technical glitches and my other two kids, Finn and Amelia, joined us for the outing which is not our typical program. However, I think the unusual moments made the evening all the more amazing.

This group of UD students were all incredibly kind people who treated all of us like we belonged. Which made it no surprise to hear Braeden tell them he hopes to go to the University of Delaware for college someday. We’ll see, as I know when he gets older he might start thinking about going somewhere not so close to home. Although as a Blue Hen alum myself of course I want him to go to UD.

The group packed 120 bags of healthy food for the Newark community. Many of the bags included new socks thanks to youth at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware who donated several bags of socks to 3B in late October.

Earlier in November Braeden also made a trip to The College School at the University of Delaware. He was able to talk with two sessions of kids who were a little bit younger than him, but he told them he started 3B when he was just 9 years old and they seemed pretty excited to hear that information. The kids asked a lot of great questions and wanted to know more about where Braeden has visited over the last few years. He let them know that aside from the Radio Disney Music Awards his other favorite visits have been at the White House.

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The College School kids are an official 3B Ripple. Last year they packed hundreds of bags for those in need in Newark and this year they plan to do more!

15138578_1273541539356243_8901357944699802637_oAnother one of our 3B Ripples with the Circle of Friends Daycare packed 70 bags of healthy food prior to their Thanksgiving break. This is our youngest group which just goes to show that you can make a difference even in diapers! Thank you so much to “Small Hands, Big Hearts” your ripple makes us very proud!

One more thing to let you know is that today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day to take a a break from the searching out the best deals for holiday shopping to support causes that means the most to you. With your support Brae’s Brown Bags has been able to grow a great deal since 2013 and we are so grateful! [ Donate to 3B ]

We have been able to visit dozens of schools and attend various forums and conferences so Braeden can share his ideas about nutritional security and what can be done to fix it. We have also been able to provide over 8,000 bags of healthy food to those in need in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Louisiana. We even were able to send 20 cases of clean water to Flint, Michigan during their water crisis.

With your help we will be able to continue supporting other hunger relief programs and organizations as well as do our best to educate youth about what they can do to make a difference. Thank you! #GivingTuesday

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https://www.facebook.com/donate/10154041557221570/?fundraiser_source=feed

Have a blessed day filled with light and laughter!

  • Christy, Brae’s Mom

 

3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration Follow-Up #betterlatethannever

brae-celebrationMy apologies for taking so long to write this post. Things get away from me and from Braeden sometimes.

During the celebration, Brae said something that I would like to share for those who were unable to attend.

“Some days it seems like all you hear is bad news. It doesn’t have to be that way. I have learned this over the last couple years. Because even when something bad happens it is up to us to turn it around, to shine the light in the darkness and step out of the shadow. … imagine all the good news we can create, imagine all the people we can help.” – Braeden Mannering, August 20, 2016

We had our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration the end of August and even though it was super hot out we had a pretty great turn out. Thank you to all who came out to the Bear-Glasgow YMCA for the event.

A big thanks to our sponsors this year: Bear-Glasgow YMCA, 93.7 WSTW, Crop Foundation (food and amazing culinary instructor Kip Poole and his talented students), UD Fresh to You (Michael Popovich and farm interns for providing veggies and fruit), UDairy Creamery, R.T. Graham (Keene art teacher from the Christina School District), Speakman, Inflatables R’ Fun, Love What You Boo, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover Federal Credit Union, Gerri and Bill Irish, Greg and Margie Mannering, Circle of Friends Daycare, Terri, Todd and Kristin Stephan, Transportation Communications Union IAM Unit #86, Stampin’ Up, Picaboo, Food for Thought Cards and Lynda Pusey with her Jamberry basket.

ladder12A very special thanks to Ladder 12 of the Christiana Fire Company for surprising us and bringing two trucks out to the event. The kids, and us grown ups, really loved seeing all of the firefighters and being able to climb up on the trucks to check out all the gadgets. All of you are so awesome. We thank you for your service each and every day!

Check out 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration by Kristin Stephan!

During this event I always have an opportunity to share Brae’s adventures through my eyes. Whereas he is always busy inspiring and encouraging other people to get involved, I’m sitting back and watching this amazing young person be a leader for our community. Brae is often called a young hero. He doesn’t look at himself that way, but I definitely do. Whereas some people spent their afternoon at a movie which could potentially gross millions of dollars, our friends, family and 3B supporters came out to a pavilion for delicious food, awesome giveaways and many of them packed bags for those in need.  Thank you to Sodexo employee Toni Ciccone for helping with the 3B bag packing station! And all of these things, hearing Brae talk, seeing people selflessly pack bags for those in need, being able to interact with the community and raise money for hunger relief, all of those things are absolutely priceless to me.

Seeing him up on stage addressing a group of people who came out to support him and our 3B cause is something I can’t accurately put into words for you. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to all of you for helping 3B grow and for encouraging Braeden to be the very special kid that he is. We truly live in such an amazing state!

Again, please do Check out 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration by Kristin Stephan!

Yes, she even snapped when I went down the water slide, which was super fun!

Once again, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your continued support!

August didn’t wind down, but Summer did

My Mom always says she wishes she had a 25th hour in the day. I know she would fill it with more things to do and then she would need a 26th and 27th hour. But I kinda understand what she is saying now. How do we fit everything in that we want to do? Have you ever played Minecraft? I could play it for four hours straight and not even know it. There should always be hours in the day when you can do something fun. But then I forget to do things like update my blog.

14124317_1191179457592452_5093569072657943110_oLOTS has happened.

August was busy!

Did I tell you I was able to talk to a class of high schoolers who were taking college level courses at UD over the Summer? I did. It was cool. Three of the students were from Africa. They asked great questions. They all helped me pack bags and I actually just got to send some of those 3B bags down to Louisiana so that is really cool. My Mom told me about the flooding in Louisiana and I wasn’t sure the bags would help, but they can’t hurt. She and my brother and sister also went out and bought a bunch of baby food and baby formula to send down to Louisiana with the bags, we sent 140 bags. I saw some of the picture of communities who lost everything because of the flooding and I just can’t believe it.

TedxWilmington_group_speakers-e1472135517934So I had been practicing and preparing for the Tedx Talk Wilmington Conference for months! And the day finally happened. I was nervous. Senator Coons was supposed to be the final speaker but his plans changed and so then I was the final speaker. And Mr. George, he was the host, he said he thinks Senator Coons changed his plans on purpose so he wouldn’t have to follow my talk. But it is really not easy to do those talks. I never used a power point before and I didn’t remember when to click. I forgot what I wanted to say and then I got really nervous and then the people listening started clapping for me. I felt so much better after that.

14066253_1187834541260277_6357352395584793986_oI feel like I made some new friends at the Tedx Talk. I really liked this guy they call Real Gumption. He is from the Virgin Islands. He talked with me at the rehearsal too and then I got to go talk to him after his talk because I think he did a really good job and I really like the idea of his glass bottom boat. He had a big dream and he made it happen and I think that is what I like the most.

I liked the wiggle woman. Her name is Janine Driver. But she talked about how to help yourself from going nuts, like if someone is driving you nuts what can you do to keep your cool. It was so funny! She was a really great speaker.

Kaamilah Diabate was also really awesome with her poem and the Twin Poets with their poem, they really made me think and it was very sad because they talked about racism and it is something that my Mom and my stepdad have talked to me about a lot and it was good to hear from a younger person especially from her perspective. Kind of like that I also liked hearing from Ian Khan because he had a really crazy childhood compared to mine and the things he went through seemed pretty scary and I think about my life and how lucky I am. So I liked hearing about other people’s lives and their ideas. All of the speakers were really just really good. And even though it was a long day I am happy I was there.

Also this month was our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. We have a lot of photos to share and people to thank but I think my Mom is going to handle that post so make sure to check back soon because I am sure she will have a zillion pictures to share.

Oh and I started 7th grade on August 30, yesterday! Yes, back to school, no homework yet though!

How are you making history NOW? #historyNOW

Brae’s Brown Bags isn’t about fame and glory, but I have to admit, being able to go to The White House a few times and the Radio Disney Music Awards in the Spring and now having my story shown with the History Channel’s HistoryNOW is pretty awesome.

Hopefully though this means that a lot of other kids will see that it really doesn’t matter how old you are, that you can really make a big difference in the world. I’m not the only kid doing amazing things.

This world is a pretty awesome place filled with great people and we need to be happy to share our story and their story. Be the good, be the change, MAKE HISTORY NOW!

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Summer time high fives

13640783_860560587421752_4553159800088006036_oIt is hard to believe that Summer break from school is already halfway over. Let’s not think about that right now though. It’s still Summer time and we have a lot of fun things happening.

I have been to schools and a summer camp as well as my Gram and Pop and friend Laura. We have been giving out bags as part of the #SummerMeals program. For this I just really want youth to know how important it is for them to eat healthy, too. So they come to schools for lunch or dinner and they get a healthy meal, but taking a bag with them gives them a chance to reach for something healthy to eat at home, too.

13640922_1152379174805814_2165661344635176608_oAlso the Christiana Fire Company invited me over for hamburgers and hot dogs off the grill. They showed me around their station and I even learned that it is haunted! Maybe not, but it’s a cool story and it has been around for a long time. I am sure the walls could tell many stories. Chief Perillo and Captain Semonelle were very nice to me and my family. 13603277_1152379521472446_2500457531476419471_oThe fire company participated in a WaWa Hoagie Challenge recently and they raised money for a charity. Captain Semonelle decided he wanted to donate the money to Brae’s Brown Bags!!! That is so exciting! Also I decided I want to be a volunteer firefighter when I am older. I think I would really like to do that. They said I can start helping out after I turn 13 years old!

The Middletown Jazzercise Summer Camp and the Circle of Friends Daycare Ripple “Small Hands, Big Hearts” both helped pack and deliver LOTS of bags over the past couple of weeks. It is so much fun when I get to work with other kids. They are really good helpers and I like how excited they are to know they will be giving to people in need13690944_1158009850909413_6107354723130820813_o. 13615299_1153580788018986_1781115289723400908_nI couldn’t do all I do with Brae’s Brown Bags without the help of my family, friends and NEW friends I have been making a long the way. There were even girls who baked breads and cookies to raise money to buy the healthy snacks at the Jazzercise place. Isn’t that so nice!?

Also we are still planning for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. We’ve been getting sponsors but would still benefit from some raffle items. If anyone knows any local companies who can provide gift baskets or gift certificates it would be very helpful and appreciated. Check out our 3B Summer Celebration page for more information.

Thank you to WSTW, Bear-Glasgow YMCA, UDairy Creamery, The Crop Foundation, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover Federal Credit Union, Gerri and Bill Irish, Transportation Communications Union IAM Unit #86, Terri, Kristin and Todd Stephan and Greg and Margie Mannering for their donations and sponsorships thus far.

Summer camps and Summer meals #SummerMealsDE

stpaulsUMC-VBSLast week I was invited to talk at a vacation bible school at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware. They had a surf shack theme and so it was decorated pretty cool. My Mom and my sister came with me and my sister really liked singing and dancing with them. They are already doing a lot of great mission work at that Church and I am grateful they chose to work with Brae’s Brown Bags to do some more.

After talking with the whole group I was able to pack bags with them. They had collected a lot of different snack items before I even got there and I was shocked by all the bags we were able to pack. In total we packed 365 bags, it would have been 366 but one of the water bottles started leaking. Oops!

So that is a lot of bags! And we know they will be going to hundreds of people in need this Summer. They even said they are going to look into becoming an official 3B Ripple Student Chapter!

My Mom and me are still working very hard to plan the 3B Summer Celebration event. I’m coming up with cool ways to decorate and my Mom is figuring out what to do as giveaways and helping to get us sponsors. The event is less than 2 months away now! We have a lot of fun things planned and I hope to see all of you there.

We are starting to bring our bags to schools that are open for lunch over the Summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program, too. This week my Mom will be bringing bags to two elementary schools in Wilmington, Delaware during her lunch break. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under. You can find a summer meals site near where you live by going to their website Find Summer Meal Sites.

macysshopcauseAlso I am really happy about the summer camp I am attending which is teaching me steel drums. It’s a music camp at the University of Delaware. I started taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory a couple months ago and I have decided I really like drumming.

One more thing, our organization is part of Macy’s Shop for a Cause weekend event happening the last week of August. You can purchase a $5 shopping pass from us which raises money for 3B Brae’s Brown Bags and then the pass gives you 25% off at Macy’s all weekend long including on sale and clearance items! Please let us know if you would like one and we will find a way to give it to you.

It’s almost Summer, so much to smile about #TEDxWilmington

It’s not that I don’t like school. I mean I do like some school. But this week is my last week of 6th grade and I’m ready, I’m so ready for summer vacation! I was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School which is cool. Middle school wasn’t super easy but I made a lot of great new friends. There’s a couple people I play Minecraft online with sometimes and that’s a lot of fun for me. I’m ready for a break from school, for time to swim and have fun.

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2nd graders and me at St. Anne’s Episcopal School

So I wanted to share with you about the 2nd graders at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware. They held a used book sale and made a profit of $1,500. They chose to donate this money to Brae’s Brown Bags! They worked together as a team. They did marketing, sales, accounting, communications, etc. They worked VERY hard and it shows in how much they were able to raise. I had a chance to quickly visit with some of them and hear what they did. They presented me with a check and I sat with them and we had a quick Q& A. They are some pretty incredible students and I’m honored they chose 3B as a cause they wanted to support.

tedxwilmingtonAlso, I’ll be giving a Tedx Talk in Wilmington this Summer and I’m feeling nervous. Over 100 people applied and they chose me to be one of the speakers. I will be talking about Brae’s Brown Bags but also just about some things I notice now that I am out and about and learning. I think it should be a really good talk, it’s called “A Boy, A Brown Bag and a Tidal Wave of Change.” I hope you can come see me and the other people who will be there speaking. There are some really great topics. You can get tickets on eventbrite.

In a couple weeks I’m going to a music camp at the University of Delaware. It’s a Steel Drum and Afro-Caribbean Drumming Camp. I’ve been taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory so I’m excited!

93.7 WSTW has confirmed they will be attending our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration and I’m so happy about that news!

As of this date we  have not yet received any sponsor applications for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Please consider joining forces with 3B for what is our biggest and only annual  event to help share our mission with our community and raise funds to help keep us as self-sustained as possible.