BY JOELLAN MUYSKENS-CHANG
“Eager philanthropists” may not be the first words that come to mind when thinking about 5- to 12-year-olds, but for the children of ten local families, this description seems accurate. Blooming Kids for Kindness began in 2007 when a group of moms decided they wanted their children to understand that “no matter how young they were, they could make a difference,” says Tavy Aherne, one of the founding mothers of the group.
“We want our children to be aware of issues specific to their community, the environment, and the world,” says Aherne. “When planning projects, we look to the children and the kinds of issues they are interested in learning about and engaging in.” For example, when the children discovered that not all kids in the world have access to books, they held a bounce-a-thon—bouncing on trampolines, large exercise balls, and pogo sticks—to raise money to help the nonprofit organization Room to Read build a library in Zambia. Not only did the kids raise more than $7,000, they experienced fundraising and event planning and increased their understanding of another country and culture.
Last year the children selected “Hunger and Homelessness” as their central theme. One of the half-dozen projects they focused on included a food drive for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. The children also created recipes for healthy meals using pantry staples; they cooked one of the meals and handed out samples and recipe cards to patrons at Mother Hubbard’s. For Lemonade Day, a nationwide experiential-learning program that teaches children to operate their own businesses, the children spent hours brainstorming names for lemonade stands, calculating costs, estimating sales, creating flyers, choosing local charities to receive the donations, and squeezing 336 lemons. Alexandre, 12, led a delegation of four children from business to business, seeking permission to “set up shop” in their parking lot. (Bloomingfoods allowed it.)
“There are lots of things we are trying to do in each of the experiences,” explains Sara Beggs, another founder of Blooming Kids for Kindness. “Central to all is the children learning to advocate for something other than what could benefit themselves, while keeping it fun and doing it with friends.”