As adults, we likely feel confused and overwhelmed imagining all of the various needs out there as we continue to be flooded with scary, upsetting, and worrisome news each day. Good news: there are kids around the country getting creative and taking action to help others during this COVID crisis, and their stories are just amazing.
It will come as no surprise that each of them has previously won an award this year for their work giving back to their communities—heroes are not one-and-done social good-doers. Take a look.
Horsing Around Nursing Homes
Jorja Bolla, 11, her little sister and their pony, Little Peanut are bringing smiles to the faces of elderly people living in nursing homes in Nebraska.
This team of three has been making socially distant visits at three nursing homes in her hometown by going window-to-window to keep lonely nursing home residents company. The Memory Care residents seemed to receive the greatest benefits and “couldn’t get enough” of Little Peanut.
Jorja is now developing an official program that would feature Peanut as a therapy horse, providing residents with an opportunity to snuggle with him and give treats to Little Peanut.
Kate Stagliano of South Carolina created “Katie’s Krops” and has shipped seeds to 275 kids over the past three weeks, encouraging them to share their eventual harvest with neighbors in need. Last week, she harvested and donated produce to a shelter, which has been placed on lockdown to keep residents safe from COVID-19.
Jasmine White created a “Make a Pet Toy” project to include a virtual education opportunity for the public focusing on the health benefits that playing with your pet has on both the pet and the owner. Jasmine created a website to teach others how to create a toy and produced Zoom teaching videos to keep people busy while at home. The Oregon based teenager’s goal is to teach someone in every state to make a pet toy and educate them on the benefits of playing with their pet. In her hometown, Jasmine has been delivering “Make a Pet Toy” kits to the doorsteps of anyone who has requested one.
(Big shout out to all of the Prudential Spirit of Community Award winners, not just the ones pictured here! There are a lot of awesome kids doing wonderful things out there, and you can nominate one you know at that link!)
Lucky Blaylock is making face masks for health care workers—a lot of them. People from Lucy’s Tennessee community and across the country have been donating supplies to make the masks. The family has completed over 500 masks since the COVID-19 crisis began. They are donating them to healthcare facilities within their community and shipping to facilities around the country.
Isabel Povey created the End 68 Hours of Hunger program to help children who rely on school lunch still get their meals during a time where food is more difficult to come by. When she first got word that school might be closing, Isabel gave up her lunch period for a few days to pack extra food for the kids on her weekend backpack program which provides kids who rely on school lunches with food for the weekends.
After the remote learning transition was officially announced, Isabel spent the day in the food pantry for the New Hampshire chapter of the End 68 Hours of Hunger program, taking inventory, stocking shelves and planning how the organization will help the children who rely on school lunches. After about a week of providing the children food, the End 68 Hours of Hunger program was in dire need.
Isabel initiated a food drive with donation boxes outside of her house and at a local business and turned to social media for help. Each day, the boxes would fill up multiple times, and after just four days, she was able to restock the shelves for local families in need.
In addition, she helped donate food for a Make-A-Wish benefit dinner and to a local transitional housing unit. Knowing many kids are stuck at home without much to do, Isabel also came up with the idea for virtual story time.
She then began a “Kindness Rocks” campaign simply to spread positivity. She decorated a few rocks with positive messages and left them along the trail of a local hike. She invited others to join in and get creative by spreading some Kindness Rocks.
Michaela Auyeung of California is offering online art classes for underserved students since schools are closed and there are no other resources available, including public libraries. She has also created and is donating 150 inspirational coloring storybook care packages to an elementary school to distribute to students and their families during meal distribution times during the school closure.
The coloring storybook care packages are designed to provide reading, arts, lower anxiety and improve mental health during this challenging time. She is also now using the $2500 she just received from the Community Awards to purchase internet service and laptops/computers for many students who have no access at this time. In addition, she is working with the school to provide free online academic tutoring, as well as arts and computer coding enrichment programs.
Akhila Boda, OH has been organizing STEAM (STEM with the Arts) workshops for girls in grades K-8 so that they can get an early start in the field. Since she is now not able to teach girls in person, Akhila decided to make a tutorial on YouTube so that kids don’t get bored at home with no school and social distancing.
Do you know a kid—or adult—doing amazing things to give back right now? Let me know so I can share!