Happy First Day of Spring

Before we get into the highlights of what has happened since our last update we want to make sure you have all registered for the Coming Together Hunger Conference. We are co-hosting with the Food Bank of Delaware and are SUPER excited about this year’s event! We are anticipating nearly 200 students to attend for the Kid Track, but we are hoping all of you will attend on the adult side. Don’t worry, even the adults will have a chance to see what the kids are doing throughout the day.

Coming Together will feature both an adult track and kids’ track, with opportunities for both groups to come together to identify solutions to issues related to hunger.

I promise you that you will leave feeling inspired and you will learn something. Plus I would like to see you out, because you know we can only end hunger if we do it together.

Okay so what have we been up to since our last post. A LOT! You know we say that every time. Haha.

There have been a few code purples called in Delaware. We thought our winter had been mild and really it has been but the last couple weeks of winter went out in style bringing us frigid temperatures snow and even an ice storm! It was beautiful, but it was also really bad news for my friends without addresses.

We had a table at the 1st Annual Christina School District Family Resource Fair which was a big success. Many people came out to see what the community has to offer and we heard that the New Castle County library exhibit handed out over 100 new library cards to people! That is VERY COOL! I couldn’t be there for the event so my family helped out. My brother and sister, Finn and Amelia, they set up the table and they were happy to be able to support 3B. Plus they got to eat pretzels and have their face painted!

Town Square Delaware wrote an article about me. Ms. Christy Fleming came to visit me at my house and she interviewed me. It was nice to meet her and I appreciate that she wanted to know more about Brae’s Brown Bags. Ms. Fleming’s article shares how 3B has grown, “3B Brae’s Brown Bags helps get healthy snacks to the homeless and the needy. But it takes lots of time and coordination, and Brae now also counts on donations by schoolmates and others who read his blog because the charity has gotten so big.”

I was able to be a speaker at the annual Delaware FFA Convention earlier this month. It was nice to see a room full of students who care about agriculture and who realize that food insecurity is a solvable problem. They packed almost 500 bags of healthy food for people in need. We brought some home and the rest remained in the Kent County area to help any shelters who might needs extra supplies.

I found out that I am  a recipient of a 2017 Sodexo Foundation – STOP Hunger Youth Grant! This makes me very happy because it helps to keep 3B sustainable, but it also helps to show other kids that there are organizations out there who believe in them and believe that we are change makers. The Sodexo Foundation and STOP Hunger are empowering, they not only want to help end hunger but they also want to get kids involved and I am glad I can be one of those champions.

Last but definitely not least. I took a trip with my Mom up to New York to attend the Jefferson Awards Foundation annual gala at Gotham Hall. Yes, it sounds like something right out of Batman and yes I do think that is really cool. It was super fancy. There were a lot of incredible people there and all of them believe in public service, it was super inspiring to be a part of the event. I feel very honored that I was able to receive an activation award (Newark Post) on the same stage as Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez and the great musician/social activist Harry Belafonte. Plus, I encourage all of you to look into the national LEAD360 winner for 2017! Her name is Emma Stumpf and she creates art kits to give to patients in children’s hospitals. She knows what it is like to be stuck in the walls of a hospital for long periods of time as she is fighting cancer and has been for many years. I didn’t get to meet her at the event because she was in the hospital having just come through her 17th brain surgery. She is definitely a huge inspiration! I hope you are willing to help her activate this project and help it to put smiles on the faces of kids across the country. I think it will be fun to help her with this project!

Public service, polar bears and music #LEAD360

The past few days have been so busy that I don’t know where to start so I’m just going to go in order of when it all happened.

So last week I found out that I was selected for the 2017 Christina School District Middle School Band. I play percussion. I’ll be playing the Timpani. So that’s really cool and my family is really proud of me and excited for me. A few of my friends also made it, like Milan, he plays trumpet.

brae-voteSo I found out that I am in the top 5 projects across the nation for the Jefferson Awards LEAD360 Challenge. The winning project gets activated nationwide which means we will be able to launch 3B Ripples across the country and help provide people in need everywhere with healthy food while also activating the service project in schools across the US. The winner is picked based on voting. You can vote on the LEAD360 Web Page and also on the Jefferson Awards Facebook page.

indyAnd then the Jefferson Awards Foundation has Students in Action projects over the weekend. And it was really cool because Central Indiana packed Brae’s Brown Bags! They even did an awesome #mannequinchallenge while packing and I’m definitely going to plan on doing that during our hunger conference in April. So even though I couldn’t be there they still included me on everything because they were tweeting to me and sharing the process. I was able to record a quick message for them, too. So I was able to let them know that I am grateful for their service.

braeseafordThen on Saturday in Seaford, Delaware, my Mom and I visited their Students in Action and I was able to talk to some of the students. They packed about 80 bags of healthy food which was then donated to Jim Martin at the ACE Peer Resource Center in Seaford.

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Please take time to watch a video about the ACE Peer Resource Center. Jim Martin has been alone, he has been there, he has been homeless, he knows what that feels like on a personal level. He talked to us to try and help us understand. When someone comes in off the street they are exhausted, they are alone, they are hungry and sometimes all the need is a warm place to sit, to get something to eat and put on a pair of new socks. He is a very good man and he is helping a lot of people. I’m proud of the Students in Action for their service and I’m happy the ACE Peer Resource Center received the bags.

c36o9okvyaauqv3Then on Sunday the 3B team went to Rehoboth Beach to do the Polar Bear Plunge! We raised over $1,000 for the Special Olympics! My stepdad took this picture with me, mom Mom, my brother Finn and my sister Amelia. Before we jumped into the 41 degree water. Well, me, my Mom and my Gram went in the water. I still can’t believe my Mom and my Gram went in the water. But they did! My Dad and Mom Mom and brother Michael and my Grandmom and Grandpop and Aunt Kristin were all there to watch us be crazy! The radio said over $900,000 was raised all together by the plungers yesterday!

So please vote for me in the LEAD360 Challenge! You can vote once per day it ends on Tuesday, February 14 at midnight.

Thank you in advance!

It’s almost Summer, so much to smile about #TEDxWilmington

It’s not that I don’t like school. I mean I do like some school. But this week is my last week of 6th grade and I’m ready, I’m so ready for summer vacation! I was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School which is cool. Middle school wasn’t super easy but I made a lot of great new friends. There’s a couple people I play Minecraft online with sometimes and that’s a lot of fun for me. I’m ready for a break from school, for time to swim and have fun.

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.

 

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!

Kirk Cougars Care 3B Ripple Update

3b-thankyouWe received word yesterday that our first 3B Ripple Student Chapter, Kirk Cougars Care, has been busy working to collect food for families for Thanksgiving!

In an email from the club mentor, Mrs. Jackie Kook, she let us know this about their 3B Ripple chapter, “On Wednesday the Food Bank picked up their first donation, which totaled 218 pounds of food items, including 3 frozen turkeys! Then on Thursday, Mr. Trego’s Technology classes made a donation that totaled 530 pounds, giving us a grand total of 748 pounds of food items donated!!”

We are so very thankful for Kirk Cougars Care at Kirk Middle School!!! Hooray! *Round of applause*

To apply to start your own 3B Ripple Student Chapter click here.

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.

It’s been a long month in this last week

You might be thinking I haven’t been too busy since my last post was over a week ago. Also, I haven’t written to say that 3B Brae’s Brown Bags did not make the top 5 for the LEAD 360 Challenge Jefferson Awards. But like my Mom said, all 27 finalists deserved to win the trip to Washington, DC for the national ceremony. So it’s not a bad thing and it’s still really cool that 3B was in the top 27 across the whole country.

Last Monday I participated in the University of Delaware’s Day of Service. It was on the part of campus called the South Green. I talked to people about Brae’s Brown Bags and what the bags do and why I am involved in the project. But I also got to learn about other projects. One of the things I did was to paint a tote bag for a placed called Supporting KIDDS. It’s a center for grieving children and families. So to cheer up the kids we made tote bags to give to them. People drew smiley faces and used bright colors to make the kids happy.

14244102712_15ed590954_zI also wrote my name on a petition to stop the use of the “R” word. The poster said “R-word | Spread the Word to End the Word.” My Mom explained to me what it means and why it should not be used anymore. It makes sense. If a word hurts people then why would you say it? I don’t know why we even need to sign a petition. She also told me what LGBTQ means, because I made keychains with a group called Haven. Haven is a student organization that is geared towards members of the LGBTQ community which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer. I didn’t know what that meant. I mean, I know what it means to be gay, but I didn’t know why you would need an organization to raise awareness and my Mom said it is because a lot of them time people treat you different if they think you are not normal. And she said sometimes people think you are not normal if you are gay or that people might think you are weird. I said that was really silly. I mean, you are what you are. It would be like if someone treated me different for having brown hair. Well, maybe that is not the same, but still, I liked making key chains with those students. They talked to me and asked me questions and it was fun. We also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which were to be delivered to the Newark Empowerment Center. My table was in between the PB&J table and the Haven table.

14079561710_81a50b0911_zA lot of people really liked my project and they were all very nice. I think the University of Delaware must be a good place to go to school.

So then on Tuesday I went to the Christina School District Board Meeting. I was given an Honor Roll award for my service and for having gotten the Governor’s Award. It was nice. Senator Bryan Townsend was there and he got an award, too. He even sat next to me AND he let me have his cheesecake. They gave him a slice because it was his birthday the day before. There were a lot of people at the board meeting. More than the last one I went to earlier in the school year. The woman who talked about me before I got my award, she said a lot of nice things, I felt really proud of myself.

And then on Thursday, Girl Scout Troop #34 donated a bunch of items and snacks and bags for Brae’s Brown Bags. In fact, I should be able to make a delivery to Family Promise, because they have taken work force bags from me before and thanks to Troop #34 I now have over 50 bags I can deliver that all have toiletry items in them. Thank you Troop #34 you girls are so nice and I really appreciate all you did.

Spring has sprung and there’s much going on

First group of runners RACE AGAINST HUNGER

First group of runners RACE AGAINST HUNGER

I’m trying to remember everything I have been doing so I can tell you all about it. I hosted something called a Race Against Hunger for the 4th graders at Keene Elementary School in the Christina School District on Friday, April 11, 2014. One of the enrichment teachers, Mrs. Utterson, helped me with it, thank goodness for her being so supportive. My art teacher, Mr. Graham provided supplies so I could make posters with some of my friends for the race. I wish more of the grown ups at the school had helped out or come out to see us run. It really did end up being a perfect day. No rain and very warm. My Mom said she did a reverse rain dance. It worked!

We’re closing fundraising for the Race Against Hunger this week but so far we have raised $500 and the money will go to Action Against Hunger USA.

5kSo one thing I forgot to talk about was that I had another bag packing event with my friends in Alpha Phi Omega at the University of Delaware. It was the same weekend as my Mom’s birthday back in March. We packed something like 300 bags! I took 100 of them home to give out and they kept the remaining bags for the upcoming 5K they are hosting to benefit Brae’s Brown Bags. Definitely sign up to race with me for 3B on Sunday, April 27th.

Handed out 3B bags at the Emmanuel Dining Room

Handed out 3B bags at the Emmanuel Dining Room

This past Sunday my Mom and my Dad took me to the Emmanuel Dining Room and we handed out 100 bags to the people who came to eat lunch at the soup kitchen. We decided to have 10 of those bags be for kids and the kids really liked the Spring activity booklet. I got those booklets from Mrs. Christine Sweeney as a donation. Thank you!

Today my 3B Facebook page went over 1,000 fans! It’s crazy! Thank you to everyone who encourages and supports me and the work I’m doing with 3B. I couldn’t do it without Y-O-U!

Plus tonight Reverend Paul Mast is coming to my house to interview me for a book he is writing. He said he was impressed with what I am doing and heard about me through the 2014 Governor’s Award for Youth Service. I’ve done interviews before but never for a book!

On top of the stuff I’m going with 3B I also started playing flag football at the YMCA in Bear. We haven’t done too much yet but I really like it. It’s fun to play and also fun to make new friends.

 

It’s that magical time of year

photo 2Today I brought 40 Brae’s Brown Bags to my school. They will be given to the Christina School District for families in need. I wanted to do something special because it’s the holiday season so I added holiday themed pencils and silver glittery snowflake ornaments to all of the bags. There is glitter all over our floor at home now. It is everywhere! Each bag also had a children’s book in it for different ages. So that meant we put a small sticker on the outside of each bag so that you know what age group the book would be best for before giving out the bag.

This morning I also opened a piece of mail that was addressed to me from The White House!

Can you guess what was inside it!?

077A CHRISTMAS CARD. Yes, a Christmas card from the President of the United States. When I opened it there was a super cool pop-up of the White House and it was signed by the President and his whole family; even the dogs.

I put the card in a ziploc bag and brought it to school. The ladies in the office took a picture of me with it. My Mom tried to take a picture with her phone but it is hard to see the card. Once we get a good photo I will post it for you. It’s really cool!

whitehousecard

Oh and tonight was also my winter concert at school. I decided to join chorus this year and I am having fun. We made “Let Is Snow” sound jazzy! We even sang the song from the Home Alone movie and at the end we all put are hands on our faces like Kevin did in the movie and screamed. It was funny.

Thanksgiving Bags for the Christina School District

brae-3b-schoolThis morning my Mom and I brought 3B bags to Keene Elementary School to be picked up by a member of the Christina School District. We brought 32 bags and they all had healthy snacks and water but they were also the first children bags we have made and delivered. Each bag had a book and a message to the person to let them know how important it is to read. I mean what kid doesn’t like to snack and read, right?

Thankfully Mr. Jack was in the parking lot when we pulled in and so he carried a box and my Mom and I also carried a box. We left them in the main office. My principal was there and thought it was a really great idea. She said when Mrs. Lavina Smith comes to pick them up that they would call me to the office to meet her and show her the bags.

We will be delivering bags before the December holidays as well. I hope to be able to bring 40 or more bags at that time.

Knowing that I am helping kids in my school district is a really good feeling. I hope they all have a very happy Thanksgiving.