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…

Kirk Cougars Care – Our first 3B Ripples Student Chapter

kirk middle schoolWe have recruited our first 3B Ripples Student Chapter! Many, many thanks to Kirk Middle School of the Christina School District and to Jackie Kook who has applied as a mentor to start a 3B Ripple Student Chapter.

Their chapter will follow 3B guidelines, but their chapter, Kirk Cougars Care, will be able to choose where to deliver their 3B bags and how they will get students involved. They will report back to 3B a couple times throughout the school year to let us know how they are doing. We’re super excited!

This isn’t the first great thing Kirk has done for their community. Ms. Kook shared “We have started a school garden program to provide fresh produce for the Delaware Food Bank. We also have held supply donation drives and other activities across many disciplines to raise awareness of and benefit people in need.” She says 3B Ripples fits right in with helping to educate students about food security.

Braeden is hopeful he will be able to meet the students and talk with them. We have prepared a starter kit AND this chapter qualifies for financial assistance to help get them started. 3B will be granting the Kirk Cougars Care student chapter with a small seed fund, $50, to get the ball rolling.

Way to go, Kirk Middle School! We can’t wait to work with you.

Happy Friday, here’s a 3B update for you #the3bway

cnn-braedenI am officially a middle schooler. I started 6th grade at Gauger-Cobbs this week. Our mascot is a cobra. I am going to try out for soccer next week. I’m really excited about that, I’ve been wanting to play soccer. I have a locker and we change classes. I have four minutes in between each class. There are A LOT of people in school. So far all my teachers are really nice and I like it.

Yesterday, there was an article that went onto the CNN Health website about young chefs who are paying it forward. It talked about me and also my friend Haile Thomas. Haile started the HAPPY Organization. She travels to teach kids about living and eating healthy. She is a really great chef and she won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge in 2012.   She’s really cool and we even had her and her Mom come out to Delaware in May because I knew she would be the perfect person to show the kids at the hunger conference how simple it is for them to make healthy snacks all on their own.

3b-ripplesAlso this week my Mom finished up the application for the 3B Ripples Student Chapters program. I came up with this idea for a couple reasons. One because I really want to be able to reach more people in need and I know I can’t do it by myself. But I also really think that other kids probably like to help and to give just like me. And I think that maybe having something in school to help them get into volunteering will make them feel happier and make them look forward to something else in school.

I also found out that I am receiving a special Rising Star in Philanthropy award in November. My friend Caitlin Custer who works at the Food Bank of Delaware, she nominated me and I am so very happy that I was picked for this award. It’s exciting. It makes me feel good that she thought of me and that the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) also thinks that I am a rising star. I will also be on a panel to talk to people about philanthropy on November 17 at the Chase Center. You should come if you can. NATIONAL PHILANTHROPY DAY 2015

lindaprickett-braedenmannering-animalsThere’s a very nice lady named Linda Prickett she works at Waters (Alfred G.) Middle School in Middletown. She gave me bags of stuffed animals, Beanie Babies, to give to kids in need. I can add them to my 3B bags as an extra surprise for kids I meet at the soup kitchens. I think this will be perfect for the holiday season. I am very excited to be able to give out the animals.

And I would also like to thank Wells Fargo in Wilmington and Ms. Meredith for helping to collect school supplies for us to add to bags. Thanks to family and friends and Wells Fargo we were able to give out over 50 back packs with healthy snacks and school supplies to schools this Summer.

menuTwo more things, okay maybe three more things or four…

One is that the Big Fish Grill in Glenn Mills, PA is donating to 3B Brae’s Brown Bags this month as part of their Women & Wine night. We had a fundraiser with them last year, too. They make REALLY yummy food! Like really! And it’s not just for women, anyone can go and enjoy the menu. This year they are even including a really delicious sounding dessert with candy in it!

I’m going to visit the Sunday Breakfast Mission in a couple weeks because I want to be able to partner with them and give them 3B bags and stuff for them to use and give out. I am happy to be able to work with them and I have bags to bring with me, too.

MASVNHealthFairOn October 4, 2015 I’ll be at the Glasgow Park as a sponsor for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Vascular Nursing Health Fair which also has a 5K. You should come to the fair and even sign up for the 5K! All participants will receive a t-shirt and YAY the 3B logo will be on the back.

My Mom and I are flying to Florida on October 1st to meet the great people at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. They invited me to come talk to all the students about Brae’s Brown Bags and also about service and food insecurity. I’m pretty excited about it 🙂

So I think that is everything. I hope you all have a really great weekend. I’m pretty excited it’s a 3-day weekend. Happy Labor Day!

Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program National Winner

Braeden Mannering Kohls Cares National Scholarship WinnerThe Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program awards youth all over the country for caring. It kind of seems silly but in an awesome way. Shouldn’t everyone choose to care about everyone else no matter what? I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have been nominated for the scholarship by multiple people and also how great it feels to have been chosen as a national scholarship winner.

Kohl’s has this year awarded more than 2,500 winners nationwide with nearly $400,000 in scholarships for higher education and prizes. The winners were chosen from more than 32,000 nominees nationwide, and selected for the positive impact their volunteer efforts have on the community.

The scholarship is for $10,000 and it will go into a college savings plan that my Mom set up for me. They are also going to contribute $1,000 to Brae’s Brown Bags which is very generous.

Thank you to Kohl’s and thank you to the people who nominated me. This is an honor. I can’t wait to tell my friends when I go back to school. I’ll be in middle school this year at Gauger-Cobbs.

You can read about other Kohl’s Cares winners in these stories:

Thank you to all the media people who cover the good news!

A tidal wave of ripples

I’m home sick today. I started having a bad cough yesterday and then this morning I was just a coughing machine. But I wanted to be able to tell you some things.

Yesterday, I went to the Hotel DuPont and had lunch in their Gold Ballroom. It really is all gold colored inside and there are big lights and mirrors. I had three forks near my plate, two spoons and one knife. Can you believe it?

So I went there because I was invited to the lunch and I knew I was a finalist for the regional LEAD 360 Challenge award. They said at the lunch that a Jefferson Award is meant to be like a Nobel Prize for community service. The speakers all talked about really great people in Delaware who give back and who care about people and want to make a difference.

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Former Governor/State Representative, Mike Castle, shaking my hand

Mr. Mike Castle was the main speaker, he was very nice. But when the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Youth Service was announced they started out by saying, “This young man started his charity at the age of 9 years old, packing bags with healthy snacks to feed the hungry…” My Mom looked at me and I looked at her and she started to cry because we knew they were talking about me. I was so surprised!

My Mom was quoted when they were talking about Brae’s Brown Bags, “Christy says she sees the ripple effect that he has caused because of being one little pebble.” That was something she said that I really liked. When I started talking with Jefferson Awards people I told them about that quote. They remembered!

“He likes the idea that all kids can be pebbles. If they work together they can make ripples that can grow to tidal waves. One pebble at a time. One brown bag at a time.” (The he is me :D)

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Thank you to Emma Rider for this photo and for liking what I said

I got to go up on the stage and get a special medal. It’s really cool and very heavy, you wouldn’t think it would be so heavy, but it is.

I thanked everyone there for supporting and encouraging me. When I go to an event like this I think we are all really winners. Everyone in that room yesterday was part of a group, a school, a project doing good things, great things. I wouldn’t be where I am, 3B wouldn’t be what it is, without all of those people and their support.

Braeden with Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter
Braeden with Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter

Another thing that happened was on Sunday I had a bag packing event at the University of Delaware. The Omicron Alpha Upsilon (KON) Chapter donated TONS of healthy snacks. I brought the supplies for packing and the water. We packed 94 bags in RECORD time! They should help me every time I pack, they were really fast!

Conference-Save-the-Date-2015The Coming Together: Community Response to Hunger Conference is on May 4. We are still looking for volunteers but many, many thanks to the people who have already signed up. Weston Williams and Emma Rider are going to help me moderate the Public Town Hall which I’m excited about. Emma is a friend of mine who does a lot of public service all around the world. She is a National Jefferson Award winner! She has helped collect over 100,000 pairs of shoes to make money to donate to Water Step which is an organization that helps get countries clean water. She started working with Water Step at the age of 12 and she has collected over 5 tractor trailer loads of shoes!

Sharing good news, it’s all about heart

We had DCAS testing at Keene this week. I did well, I am happy with my score. But I won’t try to make it seem like I’m not feeling a little bit tired now. Plus I have a football game tomorrow and I had practice last night. There is a lot happening.

But today I got home from school to find that there was a really funny and very cool article written by a guy named Jeffrey Gentry at The News Journal. He posted it on delawareonline.com and a lot of people have shared it. It’s like they are all cheering me on and happy about what we’re doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. You can click on the image below or click here, “Delaware boy’s brown bags nourish body, soul.”

So maybe it’s not so bad testing and practicing and feeling tired sometimes. Because then you come home and you find out that someone thinks what you are doing is really good. And that feels good. Anybody can help, that’s what I say now, just one bag at a time can make a difference. It’s important to help others. My new friend Father Paul Mast who is writing a story about homelessness said it’s about compassion. You don’t really need someone to write about it. You don’t even need to know the person you help. You just do it, because you would want someone to do it for you, because we can build a better world together.

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Voting for the top finalists of the Jefferson Awards is still happening and you can vote one time per day every day until May 21st.

The Leadership 360 Challenge Jefferson Awards

Jefferson 360 Challenge Award On Saturday, May 3, my Mom and I went to the Leadership Summit in Newark, DE to meet other people who submitted projects to the 360 Leadership Challenge. Normally I have flag football on Saturday mornings but instead I got dressed up and went out to something called a “summit.” So I’m sure you know this wasn’t my first pick. But it ended up being fun.

There were a lot of college students there from a LEAD class at UD and they planned activities for us. I was part of Group 1 which ended up being because I’m in elementary school. Group 2 was middle schoolers and they joined our room, too. We did an activity where you are given dried spaghetti, I think maybe 20 pieces, and three strips of masking tape, some rope and a jumbo marshmallow. We were asked to build something that could hold the marshmallow on top. The grown ups were on one side of the room and the kids were on the other side. We were competing against each other, it was a timed activity.

So I’m sad to admit the kids lost. The grown ups built a tower taller than ours (which fell over) and it held the marshmallow. It wasn’t straight, it definitely leaned, but it didn’t fall.

We also did a magic carpet activity where we split into groups of three and we had to flip the carpet over without stepping off of it. This was tricky, but my group did a good job.

We made posters, too. I couldn’t think of anything to draw for my poster. I was tired.

There was an award ceremony. The Mayor of Newark, Polly Sierer, was there and so was Dr. Williams the superintendent of my school district. They handed out certificates to everyone who submitted a project. That was really nice. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get one because they didn’t call my name, but it ended up that I was in 1st place. When they called my named and started talking about Brae’s Brown Bags I was so surprised. My Mom looked at me and I looked at her and then she told me I should probably get up and go to the front of the room. We had no idea that I was winning anything. Really!

So they gave me a certificate and a heavy medal award thing that looks like a giant coin. It’s actually pretty cool, I like it, it came in a case to keep it safe.

I’m really proud that my project is doing good and helping people, but I’m also really proud of everyone else who was there on Saturday. I met new friends and learned about other projects happening near by that are really cool. Like the Zero Waste Team Delaware. I met three of the kids working on that project and they were pretty cool.