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!

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!

Radio Disney here I come #RDMA

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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.

The Greater Newark Resource Summit

About a month ago I had a chance to attend and talk at the 1st Annual Greater Newark Area Resource Summit which was held at Clayton Hall.

This event was put together by Mayor Polly Sierer, Paul Baumbach, State Representative, and the amazing staff with Delaware 2-1-1 incuding Donna Snyder-White, the director. With speakers including Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and Michelle Taylor, president and CEO of the United Way of Delaware.

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.

Summit highlights need for nonprofits to collaborate – February 15, 2016

Also I want to thank my friend Laura Nash again for taking the morning to volunteer with us and help us with our booth. She is a really great volunteer. I need to find a way to get her an award.

‪#‎211Day‬ ‪#‎211DE‬ ‪#‎gnars2016

 


Happy New Year – 2016 will be awesome

We’re almost a week into the New Year and things are already going well. We really have some of the best helpers and supporters. I hope all of you had a great holiday. We did. I got some new games for my computer that I really like and some new clothes. My Mom made some really yummy cookies, like a lot of chocolate chip cookies! And we got to see all our family even by Uncle Greg and Aunt Kristin came home from Texas and Michigan.

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Me with my brother, sister and Mom on Christmas Eve at Calvary Baptist

On Christmas Eve my family and I brought our 3B bags to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark. They opened their doors for the night so homeless patrons could spend the night there if needed. When we got there to drop off our bags and a generous supply of handmade warm winter clothing we were amazed by all the donations they had from other community members. You guys are all so awesome!

codepurpleThe temperatures have dropped now in January and two code purple nights were called so far. We were able to supply bags for the patrons who attended the code purples in Newark, Delaware. Along with the healthy snacks supplied we were also able to supply socks and handwarmers in every bag! We want to thank the Friendship House, the Newark United Methodist Church and the NewArk UCC and all of their selfless volunteers who were able to organize these nights when the temperatures dropped.

Everyone across the nation can call 2-1-1 if they ever need support or information about where they can seek shelter. Please if you see someone on the street in need, especially when it’s freezing out, call 2-1-1 for them and see where they can go for help.

circleoffriends

Circle of Friends home daycare packing bags

My Gram has a daycare called Circle of Friends and the kids who go there are like family. Their parents were happy to have their kids participate in an act of kindness service morning by packing bags. Each child had their own special job. This is really cool because you can be 2 years old and make BIG differences in helping to feed the hungry.

exceptionaldelawareOn December 31 a blog called Exceptional Delaware posted an article about me and Brae’s Brown Bags and named me “Exceptional Delaware’s 2015 Hero Of The Year.” The author, Mr. Kevin Ohlandt, said such great things about what we are doing. The article made my Mom AND my Gram cry. Happy tears.

Mr. Ohlandt wrote, “Braeden’s story is amazing.  I agree with his mother that he is an old soul.  But he is also a new soul.  He is a pre-teen, not even in high school yet, who has a passion for those less fortunate.  It is enough to make a huge difference.  Braeden is a unique soul in Delaware.  He gives and gives and expects nothing in return.  The fact that he can help those who have less is a comfort for him.”

We have big things coming up this year. More 3B Ripple student chapters will be launching, more bag packing events, conferences, leadership events with the Boys & Girls Club and more. It’s going to be a great 2016 thanks to all of you!

Thank you Sigma Alpha at UD

My Mom helped me out with a bag packing at the University of Delaware last week with the Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority. I was able to show them my presentation and talk with them about what I have been doing and what I hope to be doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. My Mom joined in and did a bit of talking, too. A lot actually, she was really chatty.

We brought the bags, water bottles and inserts the girls brought snacks and toiletries, we even were able to include socks and gloves!

We packed 96 bags on December 7, 2015 which means WE HELPED 96 people get access to healthy food!

Hooray! We took a few bags home to keep in our car and deliver and my new friends at Sigma Alpha brought the remainder of the bags to the Newark Empowerment Center for the Friendship House to use as needed for their patrons.

I am very thankful

So I’ve been meaning to write a blog post and I know I keep saying I will write more, but you know, it gets really busy!

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness WeekFirst thing is that this is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and I think that is important to mention. And I think that maybe as we are at the end of the week you can think about how you have reached out to help someone in need. Have you packed a brown bag lately and given it to someone on the street? Let us know! And share other acts of kindness you have been able to do. Because really every little thing helps, even a friendly smile.

There were two really cool events recently that I want to tell you about.

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Cara’s Dad, Miriam the Executive Director of K4C, Laya, Taylor and the amazing brother/sister cello players Noah and Sydney of From the Top and me, I’m sort of in the middle.

The Karma for Cara Foundation has a fundraiser in Owings Mill, Maryland at Cave’s Valley Golf Club on Friday, November 13, 2015. I went with my Mom and I was asked to talk a little bit about what I am doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. Because Karma for Cara gave me one of my first see grants and that will always make me very thankful.

Karma for Cara is in honor of 21-year-old Cara Becker. In 2012 Cara passed away with leukemia and because service was always important to her she has asked her family to find away to continue getting people involved in service to help others. I mean that is just really so nice!

We met other people there who are also going really inspiring things in their community. Laya who helps homeless in Baltimore County by give them trail mix and trying to encourage young kids to be more aware of the homelessness. She is awesome. We also met Taylor and she has a project called “For the Love of Erica” which she started when her friend Erica died of cancer. She donates toys to children in hospitals and throws them parties!

Then on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, it was National Philanthropy Day. And if you don’t know, philanthropy is this idea that you should be a giving person and not just like on one day but every single day. So it was really a great honor when I was asked to talk on a panel called “Youth Transforming our Global Community.”

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Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck, Anegliz Merroro, Braeden Mannering (me) and our moderator Sarah Driscoll.

The panel also had Grace Firestone, Nik Toocheck and Anegliz Merroro on it. So Grace has a program called “Let the Kids Play” and it’s just really, really cool.  She raises money to help inner city kids get sports and be involved in sports programs at their school. And then Nik, he has a program called “Running the World for Children” and he literally RUNS THE WORLD, he has done marathons on seven different continents. He is going to run a race in every single state in the US too and you can help him accomplish this goal, so check out his website. Last but not least is Anegliz Merroro and she has taken over Instgram with her anti-bullying ideas. She shared a very sad story about a mentally challenged person being beaten up and she said people didn’t talk about it and that people need to talk about it and know it is happening so we can make it stop.

 

22752810797_5a8a446c19_kSo not only did I enjoy talking and presenting, but I also made new friends and I think they are doing really good things.

And then to make it even more awesome they gave me an award! Caitlin Custer at the Food Bank of Delaware nominated me for a Rising Star in Youth Philanthropy and they picked me! So they showed a little clip about me and they gave me a really heavy award and it is very nice! I am so thankful for all of this, for the new friends and the new inspiration and the award, it’s really so cool and I feel very thankful and lucky!

And just in case I don’t get to write again before next week, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for my family and friends, and I consider all of you who read this my extended set of family and friends!

Quick update: Please read our post on Facebook about homeless funding being at risk in Delaware. And let us know your ideas on how we can fix this situation.

Small Town Big Deal and then even more big deals

Well friends, I turned 12! We got to go to an arcade for my birthday. I played laser tag and games, it was fun. I also got to go on a haunted hay ride and shoot paint balls at zombies which I thought was really fun. And I had red velvet cupcakes.

I’ve been really busy and have not been writing a lot like I said I would, but being busy is good.

smalltownbigdealLast week I got to spend time with the hosts and film crew for a show called “Small Town Big Deal” which was really fun. I mean it was a long day but they were really nice. The hosts of the show are Rodney Miller and Jann Carl. They were both really nice and they seem to like diving into projects because by the end of the day they could pack a Brae’s Brown Bag in their sleep I think.

They were interviewed on the radio on WJBR and you can hear their interview here, it’s very nice and they say nice things about me and also about Delaware. Thank you!

I think that the show will air sometime soon and I will let you know when it does.

You can find out more about Small Town Big Deal here:

STBD on YouTube
STBD on Facebook
STBD on Twitter

Also Mr. Jeff Gentry included a line about Brae’s Brown Bags is his most recent “Only in Delaware” column which was very nice of him.

I posted on Facebook this week asking people to pack a brown bag and bring it with them during their weekend travels. 19 people shared it! That means a lot of people might have packed a bag and kept it with them to give to someone in need. Did you? newsomatic-braedenPlease tell us about it!

World Food Day was on October 16, 2015. I didn’t get to really be a part of it too much by doing something out in the community but I did have my story featured on News-O-Matic to promote World Food Day which is pretty cool.

We got to be sponsors for the Waffle Cone Run which Caffe Gelato hosted to raise money for the Newark Empowerment Center. But then we couldn’t go to it because my brother and sister were sick, but it was still a really good cause and I am sure it was a great event!

And we got a digital copy of an article that the Charlotte Sun wrote after our trip to Florida earlier this month. If you want to read it I think it’s a really great article.

CharlotteSun-Braedenarticle

And then other big news is that my Mom, she helps me run 3B, she was named a top 10 Mover & Shaker in Delaware. I think that is really cool because I nominated her and she didn’t know. And I also think it is really cool because I was named one of the top 10 last year.

Roundtrip in less than 48 hours

Braeden Mannering speaking to school in Port Charlotte, FloridaBraeden and I went to Port Charlotte, Florida a few days ago after being invited to come down and talk. Well, I should specify, Braeden was invited, I’m just his official PR and well, his Mom.

St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School reached out last year to see if Braeden could come out to talk to their students. We were finally able to make it down there for a talk on October 2nd. The staff and students at the school are wonderful people. Their hospitality and generosity were over the top and I am so grateful to have been able to meet them.

Principal Tonya Peters and Father John Fitch were very welcoming along with many other school and mission staff members including the lovely Rosemary and Elma. The teachers and students surprised us with a donation to 3B AND a birthday cake for Braeden since he will be having a birthday soon. Braeden was able to tour the school and he ultimately said he wished he could move there and attend the school after only spending a few hours with them.

We had dinner with a family on the harbor at Laishley Crab House. Oliver, Louisa and their son, 7th grader Lowell, were so wonderful. We had a great time walking around with them after dinner. They showed up some attractions and then took us for ice cream laser tag and go-carts. Braeden and Lowell had a great time together. I enjoyed taking it all in and getting to know our new friends.

We are excited to be able to extend the 3B Ripples Student Chapter program down to this school. Knowing that food insecurity is a major issue in Florida we know that Brae’s Brown Bags can definitely be of service to their community in Port Charlotte and the surrounding area.

DSC_0164We flew back to Delaware Saturday afternoon and were able to rest for the evening. Then we went to the 5K / Health Fair hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Vascular Nursing. Brae’s Brown Bags was a sponsor for the event. Braeden, my Mom (Gram) and Finnegan decided to participate in the 5K. My Mom and Braeden both received 2nd place in their age groups.

Our intern Gabby, and her boyfriend Felix, joined us for the event and helped spread the word about 3B among the other vendors. The weather was blustery to say the least but we still made the best of it.

Coming up, Brae will be speaking at Kirk Middle School on October 19th for something that could end up being pretty awesome involving a film crew. Kirk Middle School was our first official 3B Ripple so we’re pretty excited about being able to join them and talk with their students.

More photos to come…