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.

stannes
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

20160429_083641

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.

bloggerfriends
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!

spring break

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

 


From Delaware to DC my State of the Union trip

That's me at the State of the Union
That’s me at the State of the Union

I went back to school today after being in Washington, DC for the last three days. I need to write a paper about my experience but I thought I’d try and tell a little bit on my blog first.

As you probably know, I had the honor of going to President Obama’s last State of the Union address. Why? Well because the First Lady Michelle Obama asked me to be her guest. I know! It was a really big surprise and I was very excited, I’m still very excited. It all happened so fast and to be honest with you I’m still trying to really think about it all.

At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.
At the White House in the room with the big Abraham Lincoln painting.

There have been so many people who have started to follow me on social media and also here on my blog. I even got some emails from people. Most people have been so nice about everything. A lot of people have said they are inspired by what I am doing and they think I’m a special person. I have been called a hunger activist and a hunger warrior. Some people have said they felt bad because I looked so tired on TV at the State of the Union and I was, I mean I was very tired, but I was also very happy to be there. And what you didn’t get to see is that after the address I got to go in a different room and meet with the President. He shook my hand and he asked how the foundation is doing. The President and the First Lady both said they were inspired by me. I think that is very surprising. I mean I am proud of myself but I am really proud of them I really think they are great people and I am so happy I got to go to the White House again and got to go to the State of the Union.

I'm bottom right next to Mrs. Edith
I’m bottom right next to Mrs. Edith Childs

Some of the speech I didn’t really understand but there was also part where the President talked about how the US went to the moon. My Mom has said this to me before, she has said that people didn’t always believe they could go to the moon and they thought it was crazy. But then we did, we did go to the moon, we walked on the moon. I think he President was trying to say that impossible things are very possible. But I think he was also saying we need to believe in ourselves and in each other and work together. And I do that, all of us who volunteer with Brae’s Brown Bags or with other advocacy things we all do that every day. We just need more people to stand up for each other and be there for each other. We have to work together as a family and family doesn’t just have to be your Mom or your Dad it can be your friends and your neighbors. And I think he talked about equality. Because he says that everyone should be able to get a good education and have good health care and that everyone should feel they are heard.

Me with Senator Carper
Me with Senator Carper

Other really nice people I got to meet were Secretary Tom Vilsack who gave me his challenge coin and talked with me about Brae’s Brown Bags and told me about he started working with the USDA. Under Secretary Kevin Concannon who talked with me about the hunger conference I co-hosted. He had been a speaker at it but he never got to see the kid part of the conference so I filled him in. And also Senator Tom Carper who told me all about being in the Navy and his family and his favorite sandwich and even chickens. Did you know Sussex County in Delaware grows the most chickens in the whole country? He took me over to the Capitol Building and I got to eat lunch there. All of the staff at all of these places were super nice and welcoming.

Senator Kid Daily Show
Senator Kid Daily Show

And then a show called The Daily Show kind of made fun of the State of the Union because I guess that is what they do. I don’t really get it BUT they called me Senator Kid and when my Mom showed me a picture it was pretty funny. I admit it, I laughed. It was pretty funny to see him dance and sing Senator Kid with my tired face on the screen. Ohhhhh the stories I will be able to tell someday.

And I really like Washington, DC. It is fun. I like to walk places and you don’t really get a chance to do that in Delaware. I think I might move there someday.

For now, I’m going to finish playing an Xbox game with my brother and then go to bed, I have school in the morning.

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.

3b-christmaseve
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!

The season of hope and giving

The 2nd graders at MOT Charter wanted to pack 3B bags to give to people in need. They did! On Friday they packed 171 bags which were dispersed to Our Daily Bread in Middletown, Delaware.

I’m hoping to get to their school early next year to tall with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and service. Also to thank them for taking the time to pack and give, because they helped provide 171 bags of healthy food to homeless and low income people in their community. They deserve high fives and hugs for the hope they have given to me and to the people around them.

They even shared some photos thanks to friends at the Jefferson Awards, Ms. Michelle and Ms. Jayme. image1

And look they personalized their bags!!! With drawings and notes to cheer up whomever receives the bag. I just know they are giving people smiles!

Thank you MOT Charter, I am so appreciative of your heard work. I can’t wait to meet all 75 of you!