End of the school year, nonprofit advocacy and #WeAreYoungHeroes

Hi everybody! I know my Mom has been doing a lot of the writing on the site these days. But I thought I would put up a few things real quick.

One is that I am now finished with the 7th grade at Gauger-Cobbs. I am very happy to be starting summer break!

Another thing is that we have had some really cool things happening. Like the Caravel Cares Club packed 100 bags on their last day of school as part of being a 3B Ripple Student Chapter which is really awesome. They were able to give the bags to a church who was able to use them. I’m really glad to know they plan on continuing to be an active chapter with our 3B Ripples program.

Me, my mom and Representative Longhurst

Last week I attended Nonprofit Advocacy Day at Legislative Hall with my Mom. Governor Carney talked for a little bit and then my friend Senator Bryan Townsend and also Representative Valerie Longhurst. Both of them said very nice things about me and 3B, but more importantly they talked about how important nonprofits are to the State of Delaware. Nonprofits are at the heart of many important social issues and can help to be the bridge the state needs to make sure people get the right services to help them. I thought that was good to hear and I am glad I was able to go. Especially since Senator Townsend then ended up scheduling a time for us to play minigolf, which we did over the weekend. I want a rematch, haha. No, it was a good game, VERY HOT THOUGH, and Senator Townsend won. But like he says, we had fun and we’re both winners!

So I am thankful to the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement for setting up the advocacy day and thankful to my Mom for letting me go even though it was on a school day. I think I learned a lot and I think it was a good experience.

So then on Saturday my Mom and my Gram went with be to Girard College in Philadelphia for the National Liberty Museum’s Young Hero Outreach Program Celebration. I was the keynote speaker for the event which was really cool, I liked being able to talk to everyone. But I also think it was great to meet all the kids who participated in the young heroes training program. They worked very hard on their projects and I got to see all the research they did and hear from them on their ideas.

 

Elbert-Palmer Elementary School created a Homeless Bill of Rights and that is a concept I think is very much needed and very important. I am very proud of them! My project and my story is in the young hero training curriculum. So the kids all learned about what I am doing. When they saw me at their event they seemed really happy which made me feel good. A lot of them wanted to take selfies with me and I have to admit that was kind of cool! I’m really grateful to the National Liberty Museum for staying in touch with me and for including me in this event. I had a great time!

We’re planning for the 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration. I hope all of you reading this will be able to join us for our event. It is always a lot of fun and this year will be awesome!

Mom’s going to add in information about sponsorship to the end of this post. If you or your company wants to help sponsor the event I really hope  you’ll think about it.

Thank you!

There are three levels of sponsorship available, they each some with their own perks. You can download our sponsorship form here, please email christy@braesbrownbags.org if you have any questions! Sponsorship packets are DUE BY AUGUST 4, 2017! 

DOWNLOAD – 3B Brae Sponsorship-2017 Summer Celebration [pdf]

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

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

 

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.

Ever wonder how far a ripple can reach?

udLast 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.

greenwood2The 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!

I also want to let you know we are less than three months away from our 2016 3B Summer Celebration. You can find out more here! We are looking for sponsors!

Young people being awesome across Delaware

brae20under20There 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!

Devon Ragolia, Dhruv Mohnot, Jenaya Vann, Elias Randall, Blair Isken, Ariel Friedlander, Hope Abbott, Jonathan Scurato and Braeden Mannering at the 20 Under 20 photo shoot

Devon Ragolia, Dhruv Mohnot, Jenaya Vann, Elias Randall, Blair Isken, Ariel Friedlander, Hope Abbott, Jonathan Scurato and Braeden Mannering at the 20 Under 20 photo shoot

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.

brae-hillcrestI 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!

brae-wilsonYesterday 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.

More news coming soon so stay tuned!

Teen Scene Boys & Girls Club Leadership

12741885_1059120410798358_6583856652718992167_nThe 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!

Penn Culinary is our 5th 3B Ripple

12654496_1046771198699946_4219513241783017837_nI’m sorry, I have been wanting to write about the 3B Ripple student chapter at William Penn for weeks now and it keeps getting away from me.

I spoke with two of Mr. Poole’s culinary classes at William Penn on January 29. I told them about what I have been doing with Brae’s Brown Bags and why it is important to be involved not only in hunger relief but also just to be involved in service in general. My mom and me were given a tour of the kitchen attached to their classroom and it is like something you would see on the Food Network. The culinary program at William Penn is really just pretty amazing and I’m very impressed. I’m also impressed because Mr. Poole wants his students to be involved in philathropy which is how I met him. I met Mr. Poole on National Philanthropy Day. He sat and offered his help to me and my Mom right away. He told us about The Crop Foundation and he right away offered to help with delivering bags to those in need. I mean it really could not have gone any better.

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Oh and every school should have a Penn Bistro. YUM!