We will be discussing “Kids’ Secrets on Impacting Kids”, which I think will be a lot of fun, because I believe that age does not matter when it comes to making positive change in the world around you. And I have met a lot of young people who are doing just that! So I hope to see you in a couple months! Let’s help create a healthier future together!
My blog readers, I’m sorry, I have been waiting too long to write to you. I will work on this. I get busy. Many of you have asked if I am feeling better and I would like to say that I am. My cough is all gone and I’m back in school catching up on things.
Since I wrote a lot has happened. The Jefferson Awards dinner award ceremony in Newark was held on April 30 at Home Grown. I couldn’t stay long because I still didn’t feel well but I did get to see a lot of other young people who live in the Newark area and who are doing really awesome things. I am very impressed by what everyone is doing and I would like to offer a very special thank you to the Mayor of Newark, Polly Sierer for choosing Brae’s Brown Bags as her top project. It really means a lot to me and I hope I can do more in Newark to help people in need.
“Everyone deserves someone who cares. Everyone deserves a friend and that’s easy to do. So pack up a brown bag before you go to work. That way if you see someone in need you will have something you can give them. One brown bag can make you a champion.” – Braeden Mannering
I had a Skype interview with STOP Hunger on May 1st. I think it went well. It was hard to remember to look into the web cam instead of into the computer monitor and the monitor kept showing up in my glasses. I had to take them off. I’ll tell you more about that soon. You’ll be getting a super awesome fun update about STOP Hunger and the Stephen J. Brady Foundation 🙂
But now the update you have all been waiting for…
The Coming Together: Community Response to Hunger Conference update!
To say that they event was a success is an understatement. (Okay that’s my Mom talking, but it’s true). We had nearly 200 kids attend from all across Delaware. There were 500 people at the conference and for the morning we all were in the same room learning together. One of the most eye opening moments of the group during the morning was when a student spoke during the town hall session and asked the legislators on the panel what they could do to help her family. She explained that she and her brothers and sisters don’t have food to eat every day.
We know that 1 in 5 kids are hungry. We know those numbers. We talk about that statistic. The morning of the hunger conference the number turned into the face of a real little girl right there in the room. It made a lot of people stop and think. It made me stop and think. To the panelists who answered questions from all of the kids, I thank you very much. I know it meant a lot to all of them and I wish we had more time to answer everyone’s questions. State Senator Bryan Townsend, State Senator Colin Bonini and Charlie Copeland, State Committee Chairman Delaware GOP many thanks.
We had many of the Multimedia Design Challenge winners in attendance. We hung up their posters and essay on a wall for everyone to see. They were very good and covered a bunch of different ideas about food waste, food insecurity and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Please check out the complete list of winners here.
We had a special video message from none other than the amazingly gifted Food Network Iron Chef and TV Host on The Chew, MARIO BATALI.
He said he was sad he couldn’t attend the conference but encouraged all the kids to continue raising awareness about food insecurity. He even congratulated me for coming up with the idea. Thank YOU Mario for sending us a video message, how cool is that!?
Most of the day was spent in a great big room called the Wilmington Room and this was the “Kid Track” of the conference. We had eight different activities which groups of students rotated through and participated in together. Most of the activities required a group effort. The Bear-Glasgow YMCA was there with their “Born to Move” program for youth fitness. The exercises were super fun! Even two Wilmington Police Officers joined in on the fun!
The Delaware Cooperative Extension Master Gardener’s taught kids about planting their own food, every kid left with a plant. Tanya Steel and Haile Thomas cooked healthy snacks for the kids at a healthy eating demo and taught them about how important it is for everyone to be able to eat healthy. My Gram and Pop took care of the 3B bag packing table and handed out shirts. My Grandmom Stephan and my friend Suzy from North DelaWHERE Happening worked with a Food Bank volunteer on the Money Pit activity. My Mom and me came up with that idea. Here’s our description of the game. “In a timed, interactive game designed by Braeden Mannering, himself, students will team up to dive into a money pit (ball pit) finding index cards with food items on them and then racing back to their table to create a nutritional meal out of their cards for under $1.25. As of 2015 (2011 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were just over 1 billion poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.”
We also had volunteers Linda and Mike Jarrell facilitate a “Power of Words” activity where the kids wrote how they felt about certain hunger themed quotes. They wrote such cool things that we are going to turn it into a book and send it to the volunteer, legislators and schools who participated in the event. It’s going to be awesome! My Uncle Greg and volunteer Katie Hegedus worked on a “Rice Bowl” activity which taught kids about the 1 in 5 children are hungry statistic. Then my friend Jada Littman and two legislative aides from the State Senate helped kids draw pictures or write letters to share their feelings about food insecurity. The letters will be sent to the students representative in Dover, Delaware. We are still working on matching up the zipcodes of the kids to their representative.
I’d like to thank Juan Castellanos, our photographer, the Food Bank of Delaware, the Food Research Action Center and Bank of America along with Senator Townsend and Jessica Stump for all their hard work in helping to plan this great event.
What a roller coaster of a month July has been! I feel like I say something like that every time I begin writing a new post. I guess it’s good to be keeping busy though, right?
My last post let you all know that I was going to be giving a speech at the White House and I did on July 18th.
I also took my first plane ride and I really liked looking out the window and seeing how the cars got smaller and then seeing how I was above the clouds. It was really cool!
But about the trip, my Mom and I flew into Washington, DC Thursday morning and we stayed at the Westin in Georgetown. It was a really nice room and I got to go swimming, too. My Mom took a lot of pictures and she has them on Flickr if you want to see.
I also got to go with all the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners to the National Museum of American History and I really like that. I got to meet everyone and talk with them. It was funny because everyone kept asking me what my recipe was because they all got to Washington because they were winners for their recipes. So I tried explaining that I was a 2013 winner but that the new Delaware winner was Roisin Liew and she was very nice. I met her in the airport before we got to Washington.
I think people were surprised when they got to the White House and I was already there. I got to go early with Tanya Steel and my Mom. They let me walk in the ballroom and practice a line of my speech and make sure I would be tall enough at the podium. They had to cut down the stool to be just my size which was pretty funny. We were joking it was like Goldilocks the three bears.
When it came time for the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner I stayed with First Lady Michelle Obama and with Tanya Steel and then we were introduced in the room and I was on stage with them. My Mom was in the front at a table. Tanya gave a speech and she introduced me, she said she is proud of me and that she hopes my story will inspire other kids. I hope it will, too. And then I gave my speech. I was nervous, but I just did like I practiced before and when people in the audience started clapping and laughing during funny moments I knew I was doing good and so then I wasn’t nervous anymore. The First Lady gave me a big hug which was an awesome feeling and then she told everyone that I did a great job but that I’m not supposed to make the First Lady cry. Of course she meant happy, proud tears, so it was okay. She seemed really, really proud of me.
I got to talk about Brae’s Brown Bags, but what was more important was to be able to talk about how everyone no matter their age or no matter if they are rich or poor that they should all have the opportunity to eat healthy. I think a lot of people agreed and seemed to understand. I think it is important that people think about it. Food insecurity is an injustice.
I know my Mom and really my whole family and all my friends were also very proud. Everyone watched and said I did good. And then I got like 100 tweets on my phone. Really, every time I cleared the screen I was getting more. I am still responding to people even now!
One thing I have learned about Tanya Steel and about First Lady Michelle Obama is that they are more than just inspiring leaders, they are Moms. I think people forget about that sometimes. They both talked about their kids and about how they love their families. But you can tell they love all kids and they want all of us to be happy and healthy.
So then after the trip to Washington, which was a crazy whirl wind, roller coaster ride, then my family went to the beach. We went to Fenwick Island, that is where we go every summer. It is always a lot of fun. It was nice to just be able to dig in the sand, watch Disney on TV and also swim in the ocean. I went out in the waves this year even without my boogie board. We all had a lot of fun and it was good to be able to unwind.