#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

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!

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.

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.

 

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.

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!

Bayer Crop Science, Agvocates & New Orleans

bayer16-braeFirst I have an exercise for you. Say the word “Agvocate” three times fast.

And go.

Earlier this month I traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana with my Mom.

I was invited to be a speaker at the Bayer Crop Science Agvocacy Forum.

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. 56d71a73ae223.image

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.

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My new blogger friends 🙂

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.

Thank you for reading my update and HAPPY SPRING BREAK AND EASTER!

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