Meet Kids Who Help Kids Around the World and Here at Home

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Here at UNICEF Kid Power we don’t just believe … we know kids can change the world! By getting active with UNICEF Kid Power, kids have unlocked 8.2 million packets of therapeutic food to help bring severely malnourished children like Bhagwati back to life. You can read her story here then, below, meet some other kids who within the past couple weeks have done a lot to help kids both around the world and here at home.  

Super Bowl Kids:  On Jan. 18, eleven Minnesota Catholic schools gathered together at the Braemar Field Dome in Edina for the NFL’s Super Kids-Super Sharing project designed to benefit thousands of local children. Students donated tens of thousands of pieces of sports equipment, school supplies, video games, board games, phones, and accessories to help under-served Twin Cities children.

Becky Kennedy, Principal of participating school Our Lady of the Lake, was happy to have her students contribute. “It’s a great event because we were able to talk with our kids about how it’s great collecting things for kids across the ocean," Kennedy told Minnesota's Laker Pioneer, "but there are also kids in our own communities in need as well.” 

In a League of their Own: The Wellesley, Mass., Little League (WLL) team started 2018 off right by donating hundreds of bats, balls, helmets, gloves, and other baseball equipment to Roberto’s Kids – an international nonprofit organization that collects new and gently worn baseball equipment to give to disadvantaged youth throughout the world.

“Our mission is social responsibility through baseball,” said Steve Pindar, the founder and president of Roberto’s Kids. “We started with our first donation in 1999 and we are now distributing 50 tons of equipment per year to thousands of deserving youth.”

That mission answered a question that WLL equipment manager Todd Frampton had been asking himself for some time: what to do with older mitts, bats and balls that were no longer in play but still usable. When he found Roberto’s Kids, which funnels equipment to children in Latin America, he had no trouble convincing his players to contribute when they heard about the difference they could make. 

As Pindar told Wellesley Wicked Local, the donations aren't upgrades of equipment the Latin American kids already have: “It’s wearing a glove for the first time, instead of using a plastic milk carton. It’s holding a bat for the first time, instead of using a broomstick handle. It’s stepping on a base for the first time, rather than a rock.”

For Wellesley Little Leaguers like Danny, 10, it felt good to do the right thing: “Baseball is something everyone should get to play, not just the kids whose parents have good jobs. I’m glad we could share our stuff.”

Febru-BEARy Surprise: A connection between two teachers — one at Edna C. Stevens elementary school, in Cromwell, Conn., and another at a school in California affected by the California wildfires — has sparked a unique bicoastal empathy exchange.

When Connecticut teacher Karen Ambler heard that one of her former colleagues was now teaching students impacted by the fires, she wrote to see if there was something she and her class could do for the 200 children impacted. Yes, she wanted to help but she also saw a chance to give her students who’d been studying empathy a chance to practice what they’d learned.

When Ambler learned that her fellow teacher could definitely use the help, she put out a call for teddy bear donations and the school and town quickly responded. The stuffed animals came pouring in for the kids in California, and students began penning handwritten teddy-grams to go along with.  

“Dear friend, it will be OK,” “I’m sorry for what happened” and “I hope you feel better” are just some condolences expressed by students, who, like 7-year-old Jack, jumped at the chance to help:

“I like that we donated stuff for children in need. I brought in a brown [teddy bear], and my sister, Lucy, brought a light brown teddy bear. I feel so happy and I think they’re going to be really happy.”

Meals on Wheels: Third- through fifth-graders at Hellgate Elementary school in Missoula, Mont., have given up recess to give back to their peers. Part of a program designed to give kids struggling to find their place at school a greater purpose, 9-year-old Kharisma Vreeland delivers wagons of food donated by the Missoula Food Bank to various locations throughout the school. The provisions are then distributed to children whose families need help putting a healthy meal on the table.

“Hawk Helpers” as the program’s called is among those now proving effective in schools as a way to give students a meaningful break from both the frustrations and routine of the school day.  Judging from the interview a reporter from the Missoulian did with Kharisma, it seems to be working.

Kharisma, whose responsibilities also include giving student tours and helping out in the classroom, says it’s fun doing things for others and being able to set an example for younger students: “Before, I felt like a role model for my little brother, but now I feel it for a lot of people.”

Baseball photo by Shaun Fisher, from Flickr