Every day in classrooms, communities and homes across the U.S., kids step up to help other kids in need. Marshalling all that energy UNICEF Kid Power has saved 52,000 lives of severely malnourished children around the world, proving that though children may be young, they can make a huge difference. Here are a few more who just this week took meaningful action we wish to celebrate:
Raising funds and spirits: For 13 years, the kids who live at St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington, Wyoming, have had some very special champions looking out for them. For over a decade, students from Mitchell Elementary School have been helping the kids who live at St. Joseph’s through annual donations of clothing, books and food so they won't feel overlooked or forgotten.
“One year we took books; one year we took toys and clothes; another year we took coats,” teacher Paul Edens said in a recent interview with the Star Herald of the drives, which have yielded 45,000 canned goods to date. “We rotate through each year. They’ve gotten so many donations now that they said they don’t really need anything.”
Rufusing to give up on what's now become an annual tradition, the Mitchell Elementary School student council decided to raise money instead. Coffee cans were placed in each classroom, where students could drop spare change and cash donations brought from home.
“It’s just going to help them because they don’t have as many things as we might have,” sixth grade student council member Wailynn Hooton told the Star Herald. “We get to hang around with our friends and family and they don’t get to do that.”
Student council president Ashtyn Silverman chimed in saying she hopes that by sharing a little of what they have the students at Mitchell Elementary can give the kids at St. Joseph’s something everyone needs: “Joy.”
Dancing for kids: College students may not call themselves kids but we couldn’t resist a shout-out to the Boisie State University Students who danced the late afternoon — and night — away to raise funds for St. Luke's Children's hospital. In all participants in the Boisie State Dance Marathon raised nearly $204,000 for St. Lukes kids, many of whom stopped by to take their turn on the dance floor and inspire the 600 college students who turned out on their behalf.
The day of the marathon, BSU senior Elyssa Whight told Kivi TV what guaranteed she’d be there for the marathon’s last dance.
"At 3 am when I can't feel my feet and it's rave hour and I'm just so tired because I've been up for so many hours I’ll just think of their smiles and what they went through and it makes it worth it so I just keep on dancing."
To find out more about the annual Boisie State Dance Marathon, which has raised more than $370,000 over the past five years click here.
Birthday gifts for good: Children caught up in the Arapahoe County, Colo., legal system just got a new advocate. She doesn’t have a law degree or a Master’s in social work but she does have an idea for how to comfort a child experiencing a scary brush with the law.
To help children forced to witness the questioning or arrest of a parent or guardian, 9-year-old Rachael Burson asked her upcoming birthday party guests to bring stuffed animals for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's office to keep on hand to soothe kids whose, “parents are in jail, or they are a victim.”
“There are (a lot) of children out there who don’t have anything,” Rachael told the Denver CBS affiliate. “And there are other kids that have amounts of toys. Everybody should be helping them, I think.”
Piggy banks overflowing: These Montecito kids have found a creative way to help children whose lives have been disrupted by last month's mudslides. It's a grassroots group called Montecito Mud Piggies that's now raising funds to help families rebuild their lives.
"It's a little hard to be able to fully understand what it's like for people who have been affected," Estela Wilson told KEYT.com. "I got a closer glimpse of that because my cousins were affected by it and they lost their home in the disaster of the mudslide. So, they were with us for awhile and that helped me understand how bad the impact was."
To make things easier, Estela and others are creating DIY piggy banks using bleach and water bottles they find around the house, then filling them up with funds gathered through donations and chores.
Chloe, a El Montecito School 4th grader, told KEYT.com that she's got a fool-proof way to make sure she fills her 5-gallon Mud Piggy made from a water jug to the brim.
"People could put spare change or some of their money in here to help raise money for the kids that lost everything," said Chloe, who plans to contribute $200 of her own savings!