Providing hope and nourishment to homeless and low-income populations
When I'm not riding my bike, skateboarding or playing video games, I'm doing homework or attending events for my nonprofit.
My non-profit is called 3B Brae's Brown Bags or 3B for short. A sub-project of this non-profit is called 3B Ripples and they are student chapters.
My ongoing mission is not only to feed people today, but to raise awareness about the problems of food insecurity and poverty, and empower and inspire youth across the nation to become part of the solution.
A huge shout out to my Gram and Pop Pop for going to the Emmanuel Dining Room on Sunday during our Memorial Day weekend break to bring 125 of our 3B bags to patrons of the soup kitchen. The children who were eating at the soup kitchen received books and we also had toiletry items available for many. My Pop Pop also helped to serve food from the kitchen during their visit.
We’re so grateful for the Emmanuel Dining Room and the Ministry of Caring. They provide many services to those in need! I love my friends there Tony, Miss Mary and Dorine to name a few. They believe the poor should not be treated poorly and we agree!
Also, did you know that June 2, 2016 is Do More 24 Day? It’s very exciting, it’s a day of giving and in this case I’m participating in Do More 24 in Delaware!
This is an initiative which the United Way of Delaware and several sponsors are helping with today so that organizations who provide services to the community can all raise money together. Brae’s Brown Bags is completely sustained on donations and small grants Braeden receives. Without the support of family, friends and many kind people we have met around the country we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. If you believe in our mission of increasing access to healthy food in low-income and homeless populations please consider donating today. Otherwise there are over 190 other nonprofits participating today and they are also worthy of a donation!
For $24 we can provide at least 30 bags of healthy snack options which also include water. This summer we will be providing 3B bags to schools who participate in the USDA Summer Meals Program. These schools help to provide meals to students who ordinarily depend on school during the school year for the nutritional meals. Our bags are given out after someone eats a meal, they can take it to go so they have healthy snack options to eat at home.
Last week I got to talk with two different groups of people about Brae’s Brown Bags, food insecurity and service. First I talked with a group from the University of Delaware. They were having a service retreat which I think is a really great idea. I think every company should have a service retreat where they spend time out of their office or out of their warehouse and they go and they do something good.
The group were people from Student Services and Enrollment Management and after I talked with them for a little bit they packed 250 bags of healthy food for people in need. Some of them took bags home with them in case they see someone in need during their travels. The rest I was able to take him so I can bring them to a shelter or soup kitchen who needs them. So thank you very much to this group, I had a great time and I am thankful you invited me.
The next day I got to visit Greenwood Elementary School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A group of their 4th graders decided to start a 3B Ripple Student Chapter. A student named Josh Bernberg heard me talk at one of his Boys Scout meetings. And then he shared information with his classmates. They decided to name their 3B Ripple “Greenwood Strong” which I think is pretty awesome. So they were my 8th official ripple! And oh my goodness! They were so impressive! After we talked we ended up packing 358 bags of healthy food! Can you believe it!? We had a couple tables lined up with the supplies and once the students got the hang of it they packed the bags so fast!
The principal at Greenwood even donated 100 books to the cause! I also got to meet some of their Girls on the Run team and they were very excited to meet me which I have to admit was pretty cool.
Then this week we got an email from one of the middle schoolers who was there with their younger sibling. And she was so inspired that she said she wants to start a 3B Ripple at her middle school in Kennett! The ripple effect of Brae’s Brown Bags is something really unbelievable. I really can’t thank all of you enough!
Also I want to share I got invited to be a member of the Junior National Honor Society at my school Gauger-Cobbs Middle School!
We can confirm our theme though AND show you our event artwork created by the art teacher I had when I was at Keene Elementary. All of our materials this year will feature Mr. Graham’s artwork. Check it out on our Eventbrite page, although tickets are not yet available but hopefully will be soon and we will let you know on our social media accounts!
Two years ago I created my own event it was a thank you event and it was for my foundation and even though it was a free event to attend we used Eventbrite to help plan and manage the event. The name of the event is 3B Summer Celebration and we will hold our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration on August 20, 2016. This year we do have a theme and it is a “Ripple Effect” because I have expanded my Brae’s Brown Bags to reach out into schools. By helping schools start their own 3B Ripple Student Chapters we are now activating youth to get involved in service while also expanding the reach of our program to low-income populations in communities outside or own. We will have a bag packing station at this event and we will give certificates to every student who attends as a representative of an official 3B chapter.
The 3B Summer Celebrations are awesome because everyone comes out to support a program which I started when I was 9 years old and I know the biggest reason Brae’s Brown Bags is successful is because we have so much encouragement from family, friends, schools, other non profits and legislators like Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative Paul Baumbach. We have used Eventbrite each year and will be again this year once we get our location confirmed. It’s great to get a big group of people together who are all interested in making a different and supporting a good cause. I think each year we get new people but we also get friends who first met at our first celebration in 2014 which is cool to see our guests reuniting.
Last year we tried a feature Eventbrite offers where even though our tickets are free we said if people donated any amount they would be guaranteed an event t-shirt. We are hoping this year that will be more successful for us especially since the artwork is one-of-a-kind and uniquely made for 3B. The past two events have been really fun. We had a silent auction and raffles which were fun but it’s definitely tricky figuring out things really far in advance because most places need at least three months to know if they can donate or sponsor you.
The best advice we can tell other people who are planning events is to not be shy about promoting it. Work with local radio stations and research event calendars that allow you to submit your event so that it shows up for people. We use social media and Eventbrite connects with our social media accounts to make this very easy. We can publish to our Facebook and Twitter accounts straight after we create the event on Eventbrite. This is very helpful so we don’t have to remember to do it in multiple locations.
And sooooo wow it is May 5th already. I’ll be done 6th grade in about a month. Time flies.
For those of you who do not follow me on social media (and you should!) then you might not know all of the details of my trip to Los Angeles. I did receive a Disney Hero for Change Award and I did talk in front of 7,000 people and I did learn to use a teleprompter which I really liked and I wish my Mom could have one with us all the time!
The Radio Disney Music Awards was a lot of fun and I know I will remember it forever. I made a new friend in Whitney Stewart who was the other award winner. She was very nice and I can tell she really enjoys being a leader with the Boys & Girls Club. I was able to meet Gwen Stefani and she is very nice. She kept saying that she didn’t think she did well when she received her award and I think she is crazy. Her speech was very nice and she spoke from her heart. So if Gwen ever reads this I hope she knows she is being too hard on herself.
I got to walk on the red carpet before the event. That was a lot different than I thought it would be. Some of the actors and actresses were being yelled at to look at different cameras. They must have been really important but I wouldn’t want to be yelled at. The red carpet is very long and even though you get announced at the beginning one at a time it still gets really crowded. There were A LOT OF cameras!
Backstage I got to talk with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight and have my picture take with a bunch of people. And a dog, a Pomeranian which really looked like a toy but it wasn’t a toy it was real. There was an after party where people did a lot of dancing and jumping and I ate not one but two cookies on a stick. That’s right. Cookies on a stick. It is a genius idea.
This award is a really big honor and I am very humbled to have been chosen.
I couldn’t do everything I am doing with 3B without all of the people who encourage me every day.
So in the last couple of weeks I have also had a chance to talk with two groups of students about 3B and food insecurity and how they can help. I went to MOT Charter and talked with all of their 2nd graders and then I went to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark to talk with their youth group. I think my favorite part is when I get asked questions. At MOT Charter I think every student wanted to ask questions. They were so excited. They have packed bags in the past for 3B to give out during the winter months which was very helpful. The youth group at Calvary Baptist packed 50 bags just last night and they seemed to really enjoy helping out. I hope I am able to work with both of these groups again.
My Gram and Pop Pop were at the Ag Day event for me. They said there were a lot of people and it was a great turn out. My Gram said a lot of people knew about 3B and other people were excited to learn more, especially about the 3B Ripple Student Chapters. She said everyone took something like a pen or a brochure. I am sorry I missed Ag Day because it is always a lot of fun and I like seeing people at the University of Delaware because a lot of the students have had events with me and they stop by to say hi.
There are a couple other events coming up which will be fun but I will talk about them later.
We also just announced our SAVE THE DATE for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. It will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Location to be announced. Mr. Graham, my art teacher from when I was in elementary school at Keene Elementary, he is designing the artwork for the event. That’s pretty cool. So please put it on your calendar and I hope to meet all of you there!
I am writing this in the Philadelphia airport. My mom and I are heading to Los Angeles to attend the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater.
It seems like most of my trips where I find myself waiting for a plane or a train are sort of like a dream. Am I really here? Are we really going to meet Gwen Stefani? Is this really happening?
Even though it takes a lot of time I really am happy about what I am doing with 3B. I really like helping people and knowing that people are being fed; healthy food.
And it’s an honor to be receiving the Disney Hero for Change Award but I would be doing what I do even without awards. That’s not why I’m doing it, that’s not how it started. It started because when I was 9 and we drove by an old homeless man and I was so sad and I knew I had to do something to help.
And then I realized everyone can help! Maybe they don’t realize it. So I’m getting lots of other people to volunteer with me. Recruiting other kids and now I’ve activated over 2,500 volunteers, maybe more! So sometimes near where I live we might see a homeless person and they already have a 3B bag. I can provide more and I do but I know other people in the community are giving, too.
You should watch Sunday, May 1 at 7pm on the Disney Channel.
Congrats to Whitney who is receiving a Disney Hero for Change Award with me this weekend at the Radio Disney Music Awards. It will be nice to meet you.
There is so much to tell you. I either have to remember to write smaller posts more frequently or hope you don’t mind these long ones.
So the first thing is that Delaware Today included me in their April Magazine which featured 20 under 20. That means 20 kids from across Delaware who are doing some cool things. They really are, too!
I met students who make their own clothes, even glowing shoes and students who have their own skin care line funded in part by people on Shark Tank. There was even a girl who is REALLY GOOD at several instruments and she is younger than me. So if you get a chance you should read the article, Emma Way wrote it, she is very nice.
Then I have talked with two different groups recently.
I went up to West Chester, Pennsylvania last week to talk with a group of Girl Scouts at Hillcrest Elementary and one of their brothers. They were all so excited to pack bags and hear about what I have been doing. They asked some good questions and then packed 75 bags of food for people in need. It went by very fast they were super focused! The principal for the school was also there and he said he hopes to launch an official 3B Ripple at the elementary school next year!
Yesterday I went to Wilson Elementary School to launch a 3B Ripple. There were about 80 kids there, all 4th graders and I am pretty sure almost all of them ended up raising their hands with questions. It made me feel good that they were interested in learning more. Their school counselor signed them and they are still figuring out what to name their chapter. She talked with them after my presentation and she said if they volunteer to participate in the chapter they will have to give up one recess period to take time to pack bags. I know how important recess is, I am still bummed recess doesn’t happen in 6th grade. But you know what, so many of the students raised their hands and asked if they would be allowed to give up 2 recess periods! WOW! I was very impressed with these students and their school. I am happy to be working with them.
PepsiCo just released information about what their brand is doing to help provide hunger relief across the world. Their article spoke about how young people play a big role in this initiative and they included me! So you can read about what they are doing on the Huffington Post and on a Sustainable Brands website.
So I just want to really quickly thank two companies for recently helping us out.
One is the Pencader Reybold Self Storage people because they are donating a storage unit for us to use. We have had our supplies split between my great-grandparents, grandparents and my house because we didn’t have room for everything. Now we have one place we can put everything. Our friends at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club of Delaware helped us connect with Reybold. This is a really big help to us. We were able to put a couple dozen cases of water in last week and this week we will be able to put in more supplies.
Which then leads me to thanking Mazda (North American Operations) because when my Mom emailed them to ask them who printed our 3B logo on the brown bags after I won the Mazda Drive 4 Good, they not only connected her to that company but they also decided to donate money to our foundation to help us cover the cost of ordering more bags in bulk. So in a couple of weeks a HUGE shipment of 3B brown bags will be delivered and now we have a place to put them thanks to Reybold.
See how it all worked out?
Thank you Reybold and thank you Mazda. You guys rock!
At first I didn’t think I would make it because I got really sick. But they were all so nice and they changed my flight and it ended up all working out. So thank you to Charleston|Orwig for your help with the travel stuff. I got to rest on the plane ride and our hotel room was very nice. The elevators were weird. The people at the Starbucks who gave me hot chocolate were awesome.
The room for the forum was filled with people all older than me, but we all had something in common. We were/are agvocates. To be honest at first I didn’t know why I was considered an agvocate because of Brae’s Brown Bags but then I realized what it means. I help feed people. I am an agovcate because I care about giving all people access to healthy food. I care about agriculture because without farmers I would have no food to give anybody.
I learned A LOT at this forum. I learned about fungus killing cocoa trees, which by the way we need to get on fixing that problem because I LOVE CHOCOLATE.
I learned about how what farmers are doing and what crop producers are doing is very much science, it’s looking at things for ways to make them work better. We know that the world is one size but the amount of people on it keeps growing. We can’t push a button and add extra miles of Earth. It’s not like the dining room table at my Gram’s house which we can make longer when there is a party so we can fit more food. So how can we make sure we are growing enough food to feed the planet? Who answers these questions and how is it done? It’s not easy. In fact I learned that a lot of people argue about this topic. I did not know this before going to New Orleans but Mom said she knew but she is a Mom and Moms know things.
When it was my turn to talk I decided to first show my presentation. I changed it a little bit because I wanted to share about the food insecurity levels in New Orleans which are VERY high. Data shows that 38.4 percent of families with children in New Orleans say that they couldn’t afford enough food. Doesn’t that make you feel sad? I wanted to encourage everyone at the forum to stop ignoring people in need. I wanted them to know they are already helping with the work they are doing with agriculture but as neighbors in their communities they can be doing more.
There were breaks in between the sessions of people talking and when that happened I was interviewed by media. All of those people were really nice, too. I didn’t know so many people would want to talk with me but I had a lot of fun answering their questions. Even though sometimes I didn’t know what to say, but I tried my best.
The Delaware Boys and Girls Club had a teen event in February about 3 weeks ago which they invited me to attend. The Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club is one of our 3B Ripple Student Chapters. There are really great kids at that club and I am happy to be working with them. But I found out about a lot of other clubs across the state of Delaware, too. And they all have teens who are really nice people and very helpful.
I was able to do a bag packing with hundreds of these teens through three different sessions. They rotated throughout the day. I cannot believe I am about to say this but they packed 1,000 bags! In just two hours these guys all just packed like crazy.
So far I know that 200 bags were handed out and the other 800 are in the queue. Some of the teens came up to be after the sessions to see how they can continue helping. I am very excited about this and I am thankful.
They also had time to ask me and my Mom some questions. I think they asked a lot of great questions. We gave out the black 3B bags that my Mom helped design as a way to say thank you to them. Later that night we all went to a Delaware 87ers game and I saw a lot of the teens wearing their bags. That made me happy.
Oh and there was a writer/rapper there who is really a writer/teacher Michael Cirelli of Urban Word NYC. He was doing sessions too and he was trying to help everyone to see they can really have a strong voice and make an impact with their views and their words. I think that is really important. I have learned for sure that I can be a voice of change and I think that is what he was trying to say, too.
I’m really happy about my partnership with the Boys & Girls Club. I think this is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to be able to do another event with them. I would like to thank Stu Sherman and Amber Hickman-Taylor for being such a big help for me and my Mom and for Brae’s Brown Bags. You guys are the best! And also to David M. M. Taffet who took pictures at the event and shared them with us!
I am honored I had an opportunity to talk and even more honored that Representative Paul Baumbach introduced me! He was very nice and made me feel important and special. He said he did not know whether to be impressed or intimidated by me which I thought was funny. My Mom has told me that Representative Baumbach does a lot in our community and I know that must be true because everybody knew him and because he remembered everybody’s name. I have a really hard time remembering everybody. He made me feel very important and I am sure that he and Mayor Sierer are working very hard to help fix the homeless situation in our state, especially in Newark.
When I talked with everyone I just tried to explain a little bit about how I feel like everyone in the room is already doing big things to help people but that together, working as a team, I know we can do even bigger things to help make a difference in our community.
I hope that I get to continue to be a part of the work happening to help the homeless in Newark. It would really mean a lot to me.
You can read more about this event in this very nice Newark Post article by Josh Shannon.