Champions for Kids Makes Summer More Fun for the Kids! #OdwallaCFK

On Friday morning, I knew I had a busy day of ahead of me. I was scheduled to take our foster kitten, Mary Poppins, back to the Humane Society so that she should be spayed and adopted out. After that, I had an appointment at the Miami Rescue Mission’s Youth Center to donate some sporting and outdoor fun items for the upcoming summer programs.

My daughter came with me – yes, I am one of those parents that allows her daughter to miss school when big things are happening…saying goodbye to our foster kitten and meeting the people behind the Youth Center were things I wanted her to be involved in.

I had boxed up all of my goodies for the Miami Rescue Mission after speaking with an employee about their summer supplies wish list.

Some items on their list were:

  • basketballs
  • footballs
  • jump ropes
  • board games
  • video games
  • kid friendly movies
  • books

Now, we didn’t have any video games that we could spare, but I did have a few Disney dvds that I was given to review, and quite a bit of children’s books around the house. I gathered together those gently used items, as well as all of the supplies I purchased at Walmart and started getting those boxes packed up!

In addition to the goodies I already had at home, I packed up:

  • 2 boxes of sidewalk chalk
  • a case of bubbles
  • 4 jump ropes
  • foot ball
  • soccer ball
  • basket ball
  • 7 kites
  • 2 super balls
  • cracker snacks
  • juice boxes
  • fruit snacks
  • raisins
  • granola bars

And…those bottles of Odwalla that I bought at Walmart to bring to the Youth Center?

Well, I was supposed to include them in the goodies I brought to the Youth Center as part of my Champions for Kids Simple Service project…but when Angeline and I got out of the car in front of the shelter across the street, there were a few men laying on the sidewalk…and I gave them the Odwalla.

When we arrived, I gave the employees at the Youth Center my donations and then I was given a little tour of the facilities. Because there is a small private school program run out of the center during school hours, I was only able to take photos of the parts of the building where there were no students.

An interesting thing we learned was that the Miami Heat sponsors the entire building! I thought that was fantastic. I love that our hometown team gives back to the community!

The kids who are enrolled in the after school and summer programs have this awesome computer lab at their disposal, where they can surf the internet and work on school work!

This is the Youth Center’s game room, complete with comfy sofas, air hockey, Foosball, and a pool table.

The Youth Center has a great reading room for the kids! I’m going to have to keep my eyes out for more kid friendly books to bring in the next time I come!

My daughter and I spoke with the director a little while we were there about the programs and I am so glad that she was able to come with me. It’s so important for children to understand how easy it is to help others – just a few fun things from the local Walmart, and these inner city kids will have more fun this summer!

After we left the Miami Rescue Mission, I took my daughter down one of the side streets in the neighborhood to see some of the incredible street art that Overtown is so famous for. This is my favorite piece!

You can find out more about Champions for kids on their website or by following them on Twitter or Facebook. They always have new Simple Service Projects that make it easy for everyone to do some good in their towns.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. All opinions are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

Helping Kids at Miami Rescue Mission’s Youth Center Get Active #OdwallaCFK #Cbias

A few days ago, I asked around to see who would be able to help me gather together sporting equipment for the Youth Center at the Miami Rescue Mission. Since I wasn’t able to get any items donated, I decided to take a trip to my local Walmart to purchase some items myself. I had a strict budget for my project, and I knew that Walmart was my best bet for getting the most for my money!

I am working on gathering this sports equipment for the Miami Rescue Mission’s Youth Center as a Simple Service Project organized by  Champions for Kids, and sponsored by Odwalla.

The goal of this Simple Service Project is to supply sporting equipment to those who need them, because with childhood obesity on the rise, playing sports is a sure fire way to get kids active and healthier!

I chose the Miami Rescue Mission Youth Center for my Champions for Kids Simple Service Project because I feel that this organization is extremely important to our community. Not only does the Miami Rescue Mission provide excellent services to our community in general, but they go above and beyond to help the children who need it most. The Youth Center offers amazing programs to the children in the area, offering them a safe place to go and have fun, receive tutoring and also provides necessities for school!

I first came into contact with the Miami Rescue Mission as a teen, and now that I am older and more able to help a bit here and there, I have been keeping up with their needs by just checking their website every now and then. The Miami Rescue Mission is always working on something new, whether it be a toiletries drive for the homeless like their Hope Totes project, or their Thanksgiving in April project, which they just did last week. They provided food, baths and supplies for the homeless as well as tons of Easter baskets for the neighborhood kids! I love being able to help in any way I can, whether it be by donating clothing, food supplies and hygiene supplies for the homeless, or participating in Simple Service Projects like this sporting equipment drive being sponsored by Odwalla!

You can learn more about Champions for Kids Simple Service Projects and how participants are helping their communities on their Facebook page or by following them on Twitter.

When I arrived at Walmart this morning, I found a ton of sports equipment in their Sporting Goods isles. Walmart had balls for each sport starting at just $5.96, with the most expensive being just about $25.00. I bought a basketball, soccer ball and football for the kids, because I know that sports play a huge part of the summer program at the Youth Center.

After I filled by cart with goodies for the kids to play with outside, I headed to the refrigerated isle for Odwalla drinks. Being healthy isn’t just about exercise – it’s also about eating right and getting lots of nutrition, which you can be sure you are getting when drinking Odwalla!

I also grabbed the Odwalla Mixed Berry Smoothie for myself. I was hungry! It was so good, and it was only 150 calories! I love when healthy things actually taste good, don’t you?

This was by far one of my favorite things that I bought today – it’s a long jump rope so that they kids can play fun games like double dutch! We always played games like that with the jump rope in recess at school and I have many fond memories of that, so I wanted the kids to have one too! You can check out my entire shopping trip at Walmart in this Google+ story to find out what other cool stuff I bought for the kids at the Miami Rescue Mission Youth Center!

Now I just have to figure out how to fit all of this stuff in the box so that I can take it to the Youth Center!

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. All opinions are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

Creating a Light Up a Life Gift Basket for Miami Rescue Mission #EnergizerCFK #CBias

Last week, I went shopping at my local Walmart Super Center for supplies to create an Energizer Light Up a Life gift basket for our local homeless shelter, as part of a simple service project for Champions for Kids. I wanted to create a gift basket full of emergency supplies for a child to keep them safe during You can read all about my shopping trip in this Google+ story I created.

While there are many worthwhile organizations in the greater Miami area, I chose Miami Rescue Mission located in Overtown, an organization that helps the needy, the homeless, and the recovering. With programs ranging from after school tutoring, to summer camps, to providing food and shelter for those in need, I felt that they would benefit the most from my gift basket.

I have been there once before, eons ago. My church youth group went on a little trip to feed the homeless in the area and to pass out literature on salvation. That was a long time ago – maybe 20 years? I barely remembered what the area looked like! As I got out of my car to bring the gift basket in to the Miami Rescue Mission, I was struck by what I saw. I felt it would be inappropriate to take photos, as there were many homeless in front of the building, but I did take this photo of an incredible piece of street art across the street.

When I went shopping for the items for my Energizer Light Up a Life gift basket, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to provide. Unlike the Northern states, Florida doesn’t get the cold winters that create emergencies – but we do have Hurricane season, which presents the same emergency circumstances.

My tentative list included:

  • Energizer flashlight
  • Energizer batteries
  • non-perishable snacks
  • bottled water
  • bandages
  • ointment
  • first aid kit
  • toys of some sort
I found a ton of great items at Walmart and even added extras to my shopping cart that I thought the children would enjoy! I ended up finding the perfect stuffed animal in the Valentine’s Day section – and they were only $4.99! I plan to go back after their Valentine’s Day sale begins to buy a few more for future gift baskets!

I also found these cute little rain ponchos, which are perfect for any emergency kit in Miami – no one wants their children getting soaked in the rain, and it’s always raining in Miami!

I ended up purchasing a ton of different items for my emergency supply gift basket; with everything from coconut water, raisins, bandages and toothbrush to a stuffed animal, bubbles, activity kits and hair bands – and of course, an Energizer flash light and batteries!

I think that my Energizer Light Up a Life gift basket full of emergency supplies came out really cute – what do you think? I even added a little Nutella-to-go snack pack, I couldn’t resist! Everyone loves Nutella!

When I arrived at the Miami Rescue Mission on Friday, I wasn’t sure which building to take my basket to – there were four different buildings because they have so many outreach centers!

I ended up taking my gift basket to the main center, and a director came out to meet me. As we talked a little about my simple service project and why I was bringing them this gift basket, he expressed his gratitude and told me he would be taking the basket to the women’s center down the street, next door to the Community Activity Center, where the youth program is ran.

Participating in the Champions For Kids Energizer Light Up a Life simple service project was the first charitable activity I have done – hands on – in many years. The smile on the face of the director I spoke to made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And driving around Overtown (I got lost twice) that afternoon – it made me want to do more.

I live a good life. Through a combination of hard work and flat out good luck, the life I lead is a great one, and I want for nothing…and I know how lucky I am. When I asked the director if there was anything in particular that the center needed in the future, do you know what he told me?

ANYTHING.

We are talking about a part of Miami that needs anything and everything – nothing is too little or insignificant that they do not want it. He told me to check out their volunteers section of the Miami Rescue Mission website, or to come back and talk to someone in the administrative offices when I had a chance to see about their programs.

When I got home, I looked over their website and felt compelled to do something – anything – to help more. For now, I’m going to concentrate on helping with their Hope Totes drive; it’s a drive to collect purple tote bags full of personal hygiene supplies for the homeless in the area.

Do you want to learn more about Champions for Kids and the simple service projects that you can take part in? Follow @Champions4Kids on Twitter to see more stories like my own and to find out about other projects, or check out the Champions for Kids website.

 

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, but all opinions are my own. #cbias

Light Up a Life with Champions for Kids Care Kits! #EnergizerCFK #CBias

Here in Miami, we are often unprepared when Winter arrives. We don’t always get really cold weather, so when we do, many people are without heating systems, warm clothes and the proper supplies to get them through the cold spells! We always make emergency preparedness kits for summers because of Hurricane season, so I know the importance of having emergency supplies on hand for little ones!

The Center of Disease Control recommends having a kit ready in preparation for any emergency that may arise. They recommend the kit include food, water, flash light, extra batteries, medications, first aid kit, sanitation and personal hygiene items, copies of personal documents, and other necessities.

This is why I am preparing an emergency preparedness kit (wow, it feels weird to say that outside of Hurricane season) in conjunction with Champions for Kids Simple Service Projects for my local homeless shelter that provides assistance to women and children in Miami. I recently read that over 9 million children suffer from non-fatal injuries each year, and accidents are the leading cause of death for children. Additionally, dangerous weather events cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year!

I’ll be going shopping at Walmart this weekend with my daughter to pick up supplies and a pretty basket to deliver my supplies in when I visit Miami Rescue Mission next week. When I called the shelter yesterday, they told me what would be best to include in my emergency kit:

  • bandages
  • ointment
  • first aid kits
  • flashlights
  • extra batteries
  • bottled water
  • non-perishables like granola bars and dried fruits
We will also be including some fun activity kits and perhaps stuffed animals – because children need to keep occupied during storms!

Have you heard about Champions for Kids yet? Champions for Kids works to mobilize MILLIONS of people by providing training and resources to improve the lives of children in communities across America and beyond. Our goal is to mobilize 20 Million people by 2020.

How To Get Involved

It’s easy to make a difference when you do a Simple Service Project with Champions For Kids. Gather your friends, family, and co-workers to help children stay safe and be prepared by putting together Care Kits for kids! Include items like band-aids, hand wipes, tissues, flashlights, extra batteries, and bottled water! Give the Care Kits to an organization in your community that serves children (like a school, shelter, religious organization, or nonprofit).

The Simple Service Project that I am doing is the Energizer Light Up A Life Simple Service Project! After I gather my supplies at Walmart this weekend, I will come back and share photos of my Care Kit! I feel really good about this and I am really excited to be working on this Simple Service Project with Energizer!

There will be a Twitter party on February 9th at 9 pm eastern time to talk more about this project with Champions for Kids and Energizer, and there will be prizes!

RSVP here because there will be prizes given out during the Twitter party! A few lucky participants of the Twitter party will receive (2) $25, (1) $50, and (1) $100 Walmart Gift Cards!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own!