Okay, there technically is a "Day of Service" and November 8th was not necessarily that day. In our household, though, it sure ended up being a full day chock full of giving back in small ways.
The girls are all off for the NJ Teacher's Convention Thursday through Monday. (Even though the actual convention itself was cancelled due to the hurricane, our district continued to be off). I drove CB to Maryland for a long weekend with her Dad, so it's just me and the three little sprites. The days off were good because our first official snow fall came on Wednesday.
Not quite enough to do much with. This was our snowman.
What I love about kids is that they get so flippin' excited over anything - even 1 centimeter of snow!
So, on the first morning of our long weekend we hosted a 2-hour Kids Care Club meeting.
I just started this Club in late August in conjunction with another organization I am part of. It is a little group of 'young philanthropists' who meet once a month and work on a service project. Our first couple of meetings have had modest attendance but this meeting had 19 children! It was so encouraging and rewarding to see many of my friends bringing their kids out to discuss our month's philanthropy project and get prepared. We made signs, read a story, talked about Thanksgiving food and those who go without, made cards for the soldiers, and collected donated halloween candy for Operation Gratitude.
After the morning meeting my girls and I grabbed a quick lunch and ran to the VFW to sort clothing donations that will go to Brick Township on an 18-wheeler for those in shelters from Hurricane Sandy. My kids and I helped sort, fold and pack mounds of clothing for almost 4 hours. They had fun with some friends who were also volunteering their time and got all jacked up on soda (which I never let them have) so they actually really hung in there!
We then went directly to the dentist's office to drop off our 25 pounds of donated candy from the members of the Kids Care Club! Turner-Wood Dentistry did such a nice job with this event by providing free grilled hotdogs, warm soft pretzels, lemonade, and a letter writing station for kids to make cards for the soldiers. This was a "buy back" program which paid out $1.00/pound (up to 5 pounds) for donated candy.
The staff was super friendly with the kids and it really felt like a party complete with little goodie bags. All of the collected candy gets sent to an organization called Operation Gratitude who use the treats in care packages for the U.S. Soldiers overseas. They do great things to help support deployed soldiers all year long. Visit their website to see what Operation Gratitude does and bookmark them to find a participating dentist NEXT year and start your own candy drive!! We put the five bucks we made on our candy in the Kids Care "Kitty" and are saving up for a project later on to benefit those in need.
It was a really, really busy day. The kind of day that makes you feel really tired... especially if you are four feet and under. I know I was draggin' ass by 5:00... tired, thirsty, hungry and a bit mentally fried from all those hours surrounded by my own kids and their usual shenanigans. But, it was the kind of "tired" that made you feel good. Like it was a day well spent. A day that mattered. A day that benefited others more than it benefited yourself. I want my kids - who are rather over-priveledged I must confess - to understand that it is important to take time to be there for others and make a difference wherever and whenever you can. I hope they get it.
I cooked some vegetarian chili after arriving home and then headed out to a friend's house to participate on a committee which is raising awareness for Mental Illness in 2013 by sponsoring educational workshops and other fundraising events. I'm really excited about this great opportunity to be involved.
I have to say though, that from 10 am to 10 pm I was going non-stop with no break. So, I think the girls and I deserve a little R&R for today. I'm planning to take them to see Wreck It Ralph this afternoon, and then I have a birthday dinner in Philly with my sister which will be awesome. But for now, we're loungin' around recouping...
To start your own Kids Care Club:
Visit The Kids Care Club program at generationOn and sign up.
Or, browse the free lesson plans and creative ideas at generationOn and create your own club or just use the ideas for your own family!