Were you there, did you celebrate with us? #the3bway

On Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Bear-Glasgow YMCA we held our 4th Annual 3B Summer Celebration.

Our theme was “Ohana” and while Braeden was giving his talk to all those in attendance he said, “Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family. In the movie Lilo says that Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.”

He continued, “Ohana means family. All of you are my family. Because if you needed something I would not leave you behind. I would not choose to forget about you. And this isn’t just about the people here for this very awesome event. This extends to any person. To all people.”

Running a non-profit is not easy. Planning a big event, also not easy, but when it all came together and everyone was celebrating, there was an ease about it, because EVERYONE helped, worked together, celebrated with each other. We had so many volunteers decorating, putting pieces of games together, hanging banners, organizing raffles, providing food and entertainment. I am so grateful to every single person. Drew Taylor with 93.7 WSTW was an amazing DJ for the event. He entertained our guests, got involved, came down off the stage and became a part of our 3B family. Jim Berman with the Grain on Main delivered a delicious menu using fresh produce from the University of Delaware farm (UD Fresh to You thank you Mike Popovich and all of your farm interns), complimented by fruit cut up and served by m parents and cookies made by my Aunt Bobbie. The YMCA let us use their outdoor space! All of these people gave their time, their service and their heart to helping make our event the best one yet!

To Laura Nash, Cathy Kinney, the Kim Family, Monica Moriak, the Cerasoli girls, my parents, my in-laws, and to my family who not only helped the day of but also had to put up with me while I planned and stressed and ran around for the last three months. I thank all of you, every single one of you. We couldn’t have done this without your support.

I’ll end with some of Brae’s final words.

“Take your hand and put it on your heart.

Okay. Now close your eyes. Breathe. And feeling it beating.

Maybe mine is beating faster than yours and maybe yours skips a beat sometimes. Now open your eyes. What I want you to do is to live your life in a way that let’s everyone else know that your heart is indeed beating.”

Please enjoy our full Flickr photo gallery, photos by the very awesome Monica Moriak!
https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6Won7g

And also, one last thanks to the event sponsors!

A huge shout out to our sponsors! Armstrong Relocation Company reached out to say they feel what Braeden is doing is amazing, they signed on at the Champion Sponsorship Level! So if you are going to be moving anytime soon please make sure you use their services! Terri, Todd and Kristin Stephan also sponsored the event at the Champion Sponsorship Level. Many, many thanks for their continued support!

Additionally, we would like to thank the National Liberty Museum, Bob and Rose Willey and Greg and Margie Mannering for signing on at the Supporter Level of sponsorship.

Meeting UD resident advisors, and our younger student ripples, plus #givingtuesday

A couple weeks ago Braeden had an opportunity to meet several resident advisors from Residence Life and Housing at the University of Delaware. He was given the chance to talk with them about Brae’s Brown Bags and about how he thinks we can all really make big positive changes in the world if we work together. We had a bunch of technical glitches and my other two kids, Finn and Amelia, joined us for the outing which is not our typical program. However, I think the unusual moments made the evening all the more amazing.

This group of UD students were all incredibly kind people who treated all of us like we belonged. Which made it no surprise to hear Braeden tell them he hopes to go to the University of Delaware for college someday. We’ll see, as I know when he gets older he might start thinking about going somewhere not so close to home. Although as a Blue Hen alum myself of course I want him to go to UD.

The group packed 120 bags of healthy food for the Newark community. Many of the bags included new socks thanks to youth at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware who donated several bags of socks to 3B in late October.

Earlier in November Braeden also made a trip to The College School at the University of Delaware. He was able to talk with two sessions of kids who were a little bit younger than him, but he told them he started 3B when he was just 9 years old and they seemed pretty excited to hear that information. The kids asked a lot of great questions and wanted to know more about where Braeden has visited over the last few years. He let them know that aside from the Radio Disney Music Awards his other favorite visits have been at the White House.

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The College School kids are an official 3B Ripple. Last year they packed hundreds of bags for those in need in Newark and this year they plan to do more!

15138578_1273541539356243_8901357944699802637_oAnother one of our 3B Ripples with the Circle of Friends Daycare packed 70 bags of healthy food prior to their Thanksgiving break. This is our youngest group which just goes to show that you can make a difference even in diapers! Thank you so much to “Small Hands, Big Hearts” your ripple makes us very proud!

One more thing to let you know is that today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a day to take a a break from the searching out the best deals for holiday shopping to support causes that means the most to you. With your support Brae’s Brown Bags has been able to grow a great deal since 2013 and we are so grateful! [ Donate to 3B ]

We have been able to visit dozens of schools and attend various forums and conferences so Braeden can share his ideas about nutritional security and what can be done to fix it. We have also been able to provide over 8,000 bags of healthy food to those in need in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Florida and Louisiana. We even were able to send 20 cases of clean water to Flint, Michigan during their water crisis.

With your help we will be able to continue supporting other hunger relief programs and organizations as well as do our best to educate youth about what they can do to make a difference. Thank you! #GivingTuesday

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https://www.facebook.com/donate/10154041557221570/?fundraiser_source=feed

Have a blessed day filled with light and laughter!

  • Christy, Brae’s Mom

 

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!

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!

Thank you Sigma Alpha at UD

My Mom helped me out with a bag packing at the University of Delaware last week with the Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority. I was able to show them my presentation and talk with them about what I have been doing and what I hope to be doing with Brae’s Brown Bags. My Mom joined in and did a bit of talking, too. A lot actually, she was really chatty.

We brought the bags, water bottles and inserts the girls brought snacks and toiletries, we even were able to include socks and gloves!

We packed 96 bags on December 7, 2015 which means WE HELPED 96 people get access to healthy food!

Hooray! We took a few bags home to keep in our car and deliver and my new friends at Sigma Alpha brought the remainder of the bags to the Newark Empowerment Center for the Friendship House to use as needed for their patrons.

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.

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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!

The weather has been SUBZERO cold

My mom told me this morning that if I didn’t wear layers and dress properly the cold weather would hurt my skin. Of course I didn’t believe her because when I went outside I wasn’t cold. But then she told me it was because I was dressed right. Moms!

imagesIt’s really cold. Like, really, really cold. The app on my phone said it was 2 degrees but with the wind it felt like -18 degrees.

We have been packing up 3B bags for the emergency shelters. I wish there was more I could do. I put hand warmers in the bags but that won’t help when it is this cold, at least not a lot. The Friendship House says, “Over the last two winters, the number of people seeking sanctuary on bitterly cold nights has dramatically grown and become more diverse.” You can donate to the Friendship House to help or you can volunteer.  For a current list and donation drop off options call 302-652-8133 for the Friendship House. You can also donate to 3B, we’ve been running out of hand warmers and food and buying them multiple times each week.

So a couple things to talk about. I don’t have school today because it is President’s Day but that doesn’t mean I won’t be busy.

This is me with Danielle Gletow

This is me with Danielle Gletow

Last weekend, my Mom and me, we went to Atlanta, Georgia for the Kids Are Heroes Youth Leadership Summit. I had a good time. I met a lot of people. Even a boy from India. There were hundreds of kids there all doing cool things. Some of them are business type things, like this boy who has an ice cream cart and sells ice cream. A lot of the people I talked with all do things like help to fight against bullying or helping to raise money for malaria or cancer or down syndrome. Oh and Danielle Gletow who is a CNN Hero and she helps grant wishes to foster kids with her foundation called One Simple Wish.

The airport lost my presentation. Luckily our hotel was near an Office Max. My Mom and me worked on creating a new tri-fold until 10pm the night before I was to present. I got green glitter everywhere. Really.

I gave a talk during the summit and I think I did well. My Mom recorded some of it. You can watch or listen on my YouTube page. There are some pictures too at the bottom of this post.

Also my project is one of the top 15 up for a national #LEAD360 Jefferson Award. Very exciting! There has been social voting where you can support Brae’s Brown Bags and the voting ends tonight at 8pm. Please vote for Brae’s Brown Bags 🙂

Then tonight I’m giving a presentation at the University of Delaware to the Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society. My Mom has class so she won’t be there but she’ll be in the same building. I think I’ll do good though. I like the students at UD they are always really nice.

We have a meeting with the Food Bank of Delaware on Wednesday about the upcoming regional hunger conference. We’re going to talk about the kid track. My friend Tanya Steel will be on the call. I am happy about that.

Food recovery, hunger conferences and summits

Conference-Save-the-Date-2015My Mom and me met with people from the Food Bank on Thursday to talk a little bit more about the conference we’re all planning together. We have some more ideas on how to move forward and who to to invite. I would really like to invite Mario Batali and Gabby Douglas. I’m also going to work on creating a video invitation to send to the Kid President. I’ll let you know when I get it put together.

Then on Friday we met with Richard Rind, Director of Auxiliary Services at the University of Delaware and Sue Bogan who is the Director of Dining Services. My friend Jessica Stump joined us and so did Senator Bethany Hall-Long. We were meeting again to talk about how the University of Delaware should try and recover some food around campus to give to people in need. It isn’t really the dining halls, it’s the other food locations like Einstein Bagels or Starbucks who might have leftover food at the end of the day which, if not recovered, would be wasted. I’m hoping we can get the food to places who will be able to use it. It sounds like UD will be willing to work with me and my Mom, but we need a place to accept the food on a regular basis, and that seems to be the problem right now.

My Mom and me are flying to Atlanta, Georgia on Friday. I just know I will have a lot to share about the Kids Are Heroes Young Leaders’ Summit I’m attending. I am happy I’ll get to meet new people and share with them what I am doing with Brae’s Brown Bags and learn what they are doing in their communities. I can’t wait to meet the other “kid heroes.”

Fusion_LOGOOoooo and Fusion Fitness in Newark, DE is doing a fundraiser for Brae’s Brown Bags. I’m so happy they want to help out and also encourage people to not only be change makers in life but also to live healthy! They have held fundraisers for several different community organizations. Thank you Fusion Fitness!

And it has been SO COLD here in Delaware. I think it was 18 degrees this morning when we woke up for school and that wasn’t with the wind chill. There have been 15 or 16 code purples which means the nights are below 20 degrees. Really nice people volunteer to host sanctuary at their churches to allow people to come in out of the cold. I have been trying to get my 3B bags to these hosting sites as often as I can. It’s hard though sometimes I don’t have bags packed in time. I hope people like them when they get them and that they are helpful. Which reminds me, I need to tell my Mom we’re out of hand warmers. Again.

Kernels of Kindness

University of Delaware 3B Lecture

University of Delaware lecture

Yesterday, I got to be a guest lecturer for an undergraduate course at the University of Delaware. The course is called HDFS 347 Program Development and Evaluation. I am not sure how many people were in the classroom but it was pretty full. Everyone was very nice and they clapped for me and I felt happy. They asked me a lot of questions and some of them I couldn’t answer but my Mom was there to help. I told them about how 3B got started and how we raise funds and where I would like to see 3B go which was fun to talk about. A lot of the students asked for our contact information and they want to help us and I am very happy about that.

Speaking at the College School

Talking at the College School

And then last week I was able to talk at the College School. These students were all younger, they ranged from 1st grade to 8th grade I think. They also were very nice. and asked a lot of questions. I think the best part of it was that a lot of them seemed to be inspired to do things to help the community also. I am happy when I can empower other kids. I think that is one of the best things about spreading awareness about not only 3B Brae’s Brown Bags but also about food insecurity and hunger relief.

For both of the times I talked I tried to really let everyone know that little acts of kindness can go a very long way. I hope they know that it is true!

Jolly Time Kernel of Kindness

Thank you Jolly Time

I also got a great big package in the mail from Jolly Time and they gave me lots of free popcorn coupons and a really cool popcorn bowl and some bags. Plus they gave me a $1,000 Kernels of Kindness Awards. I mean it was all very generous. Jolly Time was celebrating their 100 year anniversary and to celebrate they gave away 100 awards they called Kernels of Kindness for people who were doing good things in their communities. I read a lot of the other winners profiles and they were all pretty great.

Me and my brother at the voting place

Me and my crazy brother Finnegan

Then on Tuesday my Mom took me and my brother and sister to vote on Tuesday. This is the 3rd time I have gotten to go in a voting booth and help her push buttons for the people she wanted to vote for and I liked doing that. I have my sticker from the first time we voted for President Obama! I have it on the wall in my room. It’s super cool! I can’t wait until I can vote, I can’t believe you have to be 18 years old!

More things are coming up in the next few weeks. I’m meeting with Senator Bryan Townsend and the Food Bank of Delaware next week to discuss their 2015 Hunger Conference. And then I have the Top 10 Movers and Shakers award ceremony! It should be a fun week!

An Evening in the Garden

Garden for the CommunityLast night I went to the Evening in the Garden at the University of Delaware. There is a garden for the community that the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources maintains and they donate produce to the Food Bank of Delaware. So all my Food Bank friends were there. I got to see Chad and Kim and everybody who went to Dover for the Food Bank Legislative day, even Pat Beebe. They are all so nice.

I also got to see the big garden and I was impressed. It was nice and I took a picture to show you. I tweeted it last night but I didn’t have time to write a blog post last night so you might have already seen it.

We had food made by the culinary students who are learning how to be chefs thanks to the Food Bank Culinary School. I had two slices of pound cake with a caramel sauce which isn’t very healthy but they were small slices and they were VERY good and I was standing when I ate them so I was working off the not so healthy parts.

At the GardenThen my Mom bought raffle tickets and we actually won something! We won four tickets to see the football game tomorrow at UD against Delaware State and they gave us a parking pass, too! I can’t believe it and I am very excited that I will be able to go see a football game!BwuxzhICQAA2VNJ

I talked with Chad Robinson for a little bit about the work I’d like to do at the University of Delaware with food recovery. He said he has heard about it and that UD has mentioned me in meetings recently which is really cool even if they aren’t so happy to be pushed by a 10-year-old.