Mazda USA helps us DriveForGood

mazdabagshipmentWhen my Mom saw we were running low on the brown bags we use for 3B, the kind with the handles, because they are more sturdy, she reached out to Mazda. It has been a few years since I won the Mazda Drive for Good contest, but the great news is that all the wonderful people at Mazda still take time to help our nonprofit.

When our friends at Mazda heard that we needed additional bags, they delivered more, a lot more! They had twenty boxes of 3B stamped brown bags delivered to us! Thank you to my Pop Pop for receiving the bags and getting them to our storage unit!

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Mazda Drive for Good® is an annual charitable program that allows Mazda to give back by helping those in need. For every test drive taken between November 21, 2016 and January 3, 2017, we pledged one hour of our time to a worthy cause in your community. We are continuously grateful for all Mazda does to help communities nationwide!

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2018 Building a Healthier Future Summit #PHAsummit

It’s really awesome to be able to share information about this year’s “Building a Healthier Future Summit” and to let you know that myself and a few other amazing young people will be panelists during the event. I am honored and humbled to be part of a session with Amber Kelly of Cook with Amber, Haile Thomas of The Happy Organization and Braxton Young of Healthy Little Cooks. It’s even more awesome to know that our friend Tanya Steel will be moderating the panel.

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We will be discussing “Kids’ Secrets on Impacting Kids”, which I think will be a lot of fun, because I believe that age does not matter when it comes to making positive change in the world around you. And I have met a lot of young people who are doing just that! So I hope to see you in a couple months! Let’s help create a healthier future together!

See more about the speakers who will be attending and presenting at this event from May 2 through May 4 in Washington, DC by visiting the Summit Sessions page of their website.

Other speakers include:

and many, many more!summit-youtube

Feeding Better Futures with DoSomething.org and General Mills

To all my friends who are interested in hunger relief and food related issues. There are so many of us who want to help and have really awesome ideas, but maybe we’re not sure how to make them happen or who to tell. Which is okay, because with the Feeding Better Futures campaign you can become the changemaker you always knew that you were meant to be!

General Mills with the help of DoSomething.org is asking youth to give them their best ideas and let them know how you would like to implement them. They want to tackle hunger relief and sustainable agriculture. That means things like food deserts, food waste, water quality and conservation, pollinator health, and soil health and preservation.

square-crop-CYou’re probably learning about food waste, food supply and water conservation in school, so take that knowledge and apply it to a way you can help and then teach others to help. We have the power to make big changes in the world, so take the first step and apply.

To submit your idea to DoSomething.org for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship you have until February 28, 2018.

You can send in your submissions to General Mills, Feeding Better Futures through Monday, March 5, 2018.

In June, a grand prize winner will receive $50,000, be introduced to an industry mentor and get busy prepping for Aspen Ideas Festival.

Cold snaps can be death sentences for the homeless

We recently read an article “Cold comfort: U.S. homeless shelters overwhelmed in brutal weather,” which shared how overwhelmed shelters are and not just in the US. For example, homeless are dying in places typically known for their warmth, like Texas.

Homelessness is on the rise in the United States, according to federal survey data released last month, which said 553,742 people lacked homes on a given night in 2017.

What most people probably are not aware of is that homelessness is very, very undercounted. In Delaware, for example, there is only one night a year in which the number of people on the streets are counted. This one night is called Point In Time (PIT). I don’t know if this is true across the country, but it is quite unnerving. Many homeless are transient, many homeless are not necessarily roofless. Many homeless youth are trafficked, receiving shelter for sex, yes even here in little ol’ Delaware. They will not appear in the head count of homeless people in the state. Hearing the number has grown nationwide, and yet is still significantly lower than actuality, well I find that unnerving.

The 2015 PIT Count in Delaware was conducted January 29, 2015. These people can be in shelters, motels paid by voucher or wandering the streets. On that date, 950 people were homeless in Delaware. Now this is what I know, the school district in which we live has a homelessness advocate who reported that their schools were dealing with 840 homeless families. How can one school district have 840 homeless families and yet the state’s PIT says there are 950 people homeless?

snowstormBack to cold spells… if we’re under counting, it makes sense that our shelters have waiting lists and are overwhelmed, right? Something to give thought, I suppose. Nobody should be left in the cold. When we provide people on the street with our 3B bags we include the names, locations and numbers to multiple shelters. We also let them know if it is a “code purple” night which means emergency sanctuary shelters are open to help them.

I think more needs to be done to understand this issue. We are helping with nutritional security and spreading awareness, but while the data is inaccurate, the respources given to foundations assisting will continue to be very low.

Billions of dollars to be cut from nutrition assistance programs

HelpfeedToday Patricia Beebe, President and CEO, of the Food Bank of Delaware wrote an editorial piece for The News Journal which I think you should read.

She wrote about what we already know about looming budget cuts, but explained how it will actually impact real people who work hard. We know how important nutritional security is, it isn’t just about how much food someone has or doesn’t have, but also about the quality of the food they have access to and how consistently they have access to it. Healthy food really impacts our lives in so many ways. If you can’t eat healthy then you won’t feel good, you won’t be able to do your best in anything, not at school or at work.

“Congress has just passed a budget resolution that proposes cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $150 billion dollars, more than 20 percent, over the next 10 years. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that this will either end benefit eligibility for millions of families or drastically reduce the number of SNAP dollars available to the millions of families, seniors and people with disabilities who rely on the program to meet their nutritional needs.”

Please take the time to read Patricia Beebe’s full article here:

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/11/02/lets-work-future-without-hunger-dialogue-delaware/823026001/

Hurricane Help

texashelpRecently, we sent three big boxes of items down to Clear Lake Food Pantry at Clear Lake Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, to help them with their efforts in assisting those who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We sent 3B Brae’s Brown Bags with healthy food, clean water and messages of hope, but we also sent t-shirts, tooth brushes and things like that.

The letter in each bag included a message to express hope and let the receiver of the bag know that people all over the world are praying for Texas, even me and my family up in Delaware. Other places seeking to help Houston can be found in this NPR article: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/28/546745827/looking-to-help-those-affected-by-harvey-here-s-a-list

Soon after Harvey hit, as we all know, Irma then hit and destroyed whole islands in her path along with many many homes. We’re looking for places to assist in Florida and in the US Virgin Islands, but we realize there are many places still flooded, without power, and many down trees, so we’re playing it by ear and trying to figure out the best way to help.

In the meantime there are plenty of non-profits in Florida who are already there doing good work and helping people in need. It is suggested not to send things like clothing unless specifically asked especially since smaller places may not have a way to store things.

Here are some places currently helping aid people in Florida:

▪ The Miami Foundation

▪ The Greater Miami Jewish Federation

▪ The United Way of Miami

▪ The United Way of Broward

▪ Catholic Charities

▪ South Florida Muslim Federation

▪ Food for the Poor

▪ Hope South Florida

NPR also has an article about helping people  impacted by Hurricane Irma:
Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands has expressed that while they are getting help, they need more. He asked that people who’d like to help log onto USVIrecovery.org.
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Friendly Reminder
Also, just as a reminder to people local in Delaware, Brae’s Brown Bags will be at the Read House and Gardens Farm 2 Fork event hosted by the Delaware Historical Society on Saturday, September 16th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy a family friendly backyard expo that brings together several community organizations to explore urban gardening and food access through fun, educational hands on activities. Bring donations for the Food Bank of Delaware!

Social LEADia and Digital Leadership #SocialLEADia

We received a package in the mail from author Jennifer Casa-Todd who wrote the book “Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership” and we are super excited to share this for two reasons.

  1. She donated a signed copy for to raffle off at our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration.
  2. Braeden will also be signing this particular copy, because he is one of the leaders featured in her book!

Thank you to Principal Timm from Carrie Downie Elementary in the Colonial School District for sharing a photo and a shout out on Twitter about this book, that was very cool!

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It is true that with all of the information online it can be hard to know what is real. My Mom drills that into my head because she says I need to know the sources of my information. And I think that is important. There is a lot of information on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and it can be a really great resource. We can learn a lot with everything we have at our fingertips. We can also learn things that are not true and we can spread bad information when that happens.

So for kids like me, if I am going to have a blog and I am going to be on social media then I want to make sure I am being a leader. I have emailed and tweeted to legislators, it has helped me connect to policy makers who can make a difference. It is possible. Be a voice for positive change. #SocialLEADia

And grown ups like our parents and our teachers can show us the best way to use things like this, too. My Mom is my friend on all my social media networks. I don’t think she would let me use them otherwise, haha.

Thank you to Jennifer Casa-Todd for including me in your book, I was very excited to get it in the mail. I am so glad that there are books like this because we really do have a lot of ways to advocate and empower and inspire each other, so we should use them.

3B Summer Celebration Poster Contest

3B Summer Celebration Poster COntest

This year for our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration we want to host a poster contest!

In recognition of public service and food insecurity/hunger relief we invite children ages 5 to 12 to create a poster for us to display at our celebration!

The theme for our event is ‘Ohana so please try to incorporate the theme into your poster and make sure it reflects what 3B is all about which is helping those in need and empowering youth to get involved in service!

Contest Rules:

  • Your poster cannot be larger than 12 inches by 18 inches, not 3-Dimensional.
  • Students may use crayons, chalk, colored pencils, charcoal, water colors, oil pastels or markers. Projects should be completed by students only and be turned in with a completed entry form attached to the back of the art. Download the form here: 3B-Summer-Poster-Contest-2017
  • The contest is open to any child who lives or attends school in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania or New Jersey and who will be able to attend our 3B Summer Celebration on Saturday, August 19, 2017 from 1pm to 4pm.
  • Contest entries should be mailed to the following mailing address and postmarked no later than August 4, 2017:
    • 3B Brae’s Brown Bags
      950 Rue Madora Drive
      Bear, DE 19701

Voting:

  • All artwork will be scanned and posted on the 3B Brae’s Brown Bags Facebook page and we will be asking our fans to vote on the posters. Facebook albums will be created for ages 5 to 8 and then ages 9 to 12 during the first week of August. Fans will get 7 days to vote and the top 2 voted posters in each age group will be displayed at our celebration on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA between 1pm and 4pm.

Prizes

  • Top 2 voted posters in each age group will be displayed at our celebration
  • The top 2 winners in each age group will be recognized at the event during Brae’s speech and will be given event t-shirts as well as other special artsy goodies! So please make sure you are available to attend on August 19!

If you have questions please contact Brae’s Mom, Christy Mannering, at christy@braesbrownbags.org.

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!

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.