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!

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.

BraedenMannering-MikeCastle

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!

Please vote for 3B as a Lead 360 Challenge Finalist

lead360-challenge-finallogo-2-_439x224I was supposed to update my blog last night to let everyone know that 3B: Brae’s Brown Bags is one of 27 super awesome service projects around the nation. There is a voting contest happening right now to choose the top 5 and those 5 will go to Washington, DC for a national ceremony. But I had school and then I had football practice and I completely forgot to write.

This morning I had the fun of watching my Mom try to tie a tie. I have two concerts today, I’m part of chorus at Keene and we are doing our Spring concerts for different grades today and I dressed up. I wanted to wear my blue tie and I asked her and she looked at me like I was crazy. So then I walked into the kitchen and I saw her trying to tie the tie on herself by looking at an image she found on google. I have to say she ended up getting it so thank you Mom.

More on the 360 Challenge with the Jefferson Awards. Like I said there are 27 really great projects that do good things for people, lots of people. I am happy and humbled that Brae’s Brown Bags is part of it.

braedenmannering-headshot2 There is a voting challenge which began yesterday and you can vote for your favorite project and the top 5 will be invited to attend the national ceremony in Washington, DC.

Please vote for 3B today and every day through May 21st. https://lead360.jeffersonawards.org/challenge/3b-braes-brown-bags/

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.