Summer time high fives

13640783_860560587421752_4553159800088006036_oIt is hard to believe that Summer break from school is already halfway over. Let’s not think about that right now though. It’s still Summer time and we have a lot of fun things happening.

I have been to schools and a summer camp as well as my Gram and Pop and friend Laura. We have been giving out bags as part of the #SummerMeals program. For this I just really want youth to know how important it is for them to eat healthy, too. So they come to schools for lunch or dinner and they get a healthy meal, but taking a bag with them gives them a chance to reach for something healthy to eat at home, too.

13640922_1152379174805814_2165661344635176608_oAlso the Christiana Fire Company invited me over for hamburgers and hot dogs off the grill. They showed me around their station and I even learned that it is haunted! Maybe not, but it’s a cool story and it has been around for a long time. I am sure the walls could tell many stories. Chief Perillo and Captain Semonelle were very nice to me and my family. 13603277_1152379521472446_2500457531476419471_oThe fire company participated in a WaWa Hoagie Challenge recently and they raised money for a charity. Captain Semonelle decided he wanted to donate the money to Brae’s Brown Bags!!! That is so exciting! Also I decided I want to be a volunteer firefighter when I am older. I think I would really like to do that. They said I can start helping out after I turn 13 years old!

The Middletown Jazzercise Summer Camp and the Circle of Friends Daycare Ripple “Small Hands, Big Hearts” both helped pack and deliver LOTS of bags over the past couple of weeks. It is so much fun when I get to work with other kids. They are really good helpers and I like how excited they are to know they will be giving to people in need13690944_1158009850909413_6107354723130820813_o. 13615299_1153580788018986_1781115289723400908_nI couldn’t do all I do with Brae’s Brown Bags without the help of my family, friends and NEW friends I have been making a long the way. There were even girls who baked breads and cookies to raise money to buy the healthy snacks at the Jazzercise place. Isn’t that so nice!?

Also we are still planning for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. We’ve been getting sponsors but would still benefit from some raffle items. If anyone knows any local companies who can provide gift baskets or gift certificates it would be very helpful and appreciated. Check out our 3B Summer Celebration page for more information.

Thank you to WSTW, Bear-Glasgow YMCA, UDairy Creamery, The Crop Foundation, Del-One Federal Credit Union, Dover Federal Credit Union, Gerri and Bill Irish, Transportation Communications Union IAM Unit #86, Terri, Kristin and Todd Stephan and Greg and Margie Mannering for their donations and sponsorships thus far.

Summer camps and Summer meals #SummerMealsDE

stpaulsUMC-VBSLast week I was invited to talk at a vacation bible school at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Odessa, Delaware. They had a surf shack theme and so it was decorated pretty cool. My Mom and my sister came with me and my sister really liked singing and dancing with them. They are already doing a lot of great mission work at that Church and I am grateful they chose to work with Brae’s Brown Bags to do some more.

After talking with the whole group I was able to pack bags with them. They had collected a lot of different snack items before I even got there and I was shocked by all the bags we were able to pack. In total we packed 365 bags, it would have been 366 but one of the water bottles started leaking. Oops!

So that is a lot of bags! And we know they will be going to hundreds of people in need this Summer. They even said they are going to look into becoming an official 3B Ripple Student Chapter!

My Mom and me are still working very hard to plan the 3B Summer Celebration event. I’m coming up with cool ways to decorate and my Mom is figuring out what to do as giveaways and helping to get us sponsors. The event is less than 2 months away now! We have a lot of fun things planned and I hope to see all of you there.

We are starting to bring our bags to schools that are open for lunch over the Summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program, too. This week my Mom will be bringing bags to two elementary schools in Wilmington, Delaware during her lunch break. This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under. You can find a summer meals site near where you live by going to their website Find Summer Meal Sites.

macysshopcauseAlso I am really happy about the summer camp I am attending which is teaching me steel drums. It’s a music camp at the University of Delaware. I started taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory a couple months ago and I have decided I really like drumming.

One more thing, our organization is part of Macy’s Shop for a Cause weekend event happening the last week of August. You can purchase a $5 shopping pass from us which raises money for 3B Brae’s Brown Bags and then the pass gives you 25% off at Macy’s all weekend long including on sale and clearance items! Please let us know if you would like one and we will find a way to give it to you.

It’s almost Summer, so much to smile about #TEDxWilmington

It’s not that I don’t like school. I mean I do like some school. But this week is my last week of 6th grade and I’m ready, I’m so ready for summer vacation! I was just inducted into the Junior National Honor Society at Gauger-Cobbs Middle School which is cool. Middle school wasn’t super easy but I made a lot of great new friends. There’s a couple people I play Minecraft online with sometimes and that’s a lot of fun for me. I’m ready for a break from school, for time to swim and have fun.

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2nd graders and me at St. Anne’s Episcopal School

So I wanted to share with you about the 2nd graders at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown, Delaware. They held a used book sale and made a profit of $1,500. They chose to donate this money to Brae’s Brown Bags! They worked together as a team. They did marketing, sales, accounting, communications, etc. They worked VERY hard and it shows in how much they were able to raise. I had a chance to quickly visit with some of them and hear what they did. They presented me with a check and I sat with them and we had a quick Q& A. They are some pretty incredible students and I’m honored they chose 3B as a cause they wanted to support.

tedxwilmingtonAlso, I’ll be giving a Tedx Talk in Wilmington this Summer and I’m feeling nervous. Over 100 people applied and they chose me to be one of the speakers. I will be talking about Brae’s Brown Bags but also just about some things I notice now that I am out and about and learning. I think it should be a really good talk, it’s called “A Boy, A Brown Bag and a Tidal Wave of Change.” I hope you can come see me and the other people who will be there speaking. There are some really great topics. You can get tickets on eventbrite.

In a couple weeks I’m going to a music camp at the University of Delaware. It’s a Steel Drum and Afro-Caribbean Drumming Camp. I’ve been taking drum lessons at the Delaware Arts Conservatory so I’m excited!

93.7 WSTW has confirmed they will be attending our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration and I’m so happy about that news!

As of this date we  have not yet received any sponsor applications for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Please consider joining forces with 3B for what is our biggest and only annual  event to help share our mission with our community and raise funds to help keep us as self-sustained as possible.

 

Do More 24 and an EDR Trip #DoMore24DE

poppopEDRA huge shout out to my Gram and Pop Pop for going to the Emmanuel Dining Room on Sunday during our Memorial Day weekend break to bring 125 of our 3B bags to patrons of the soup kitchen. The children who were eating at the soup kitchen received books and we also had toiletry items available for many. My Pop Pop also helped to serve food from the kitchen during their visit.

thebagsWe’re so grateful for the Emmanuel Dining Room and the Ministry of Caring. They provide many services to those in need! I love my friends there Tony, Miss Mary and Dorine to name a few. They believe the poor should not be treated poorly and we agree!

Also, did you know that June 2, 2016 is Do More 24 Day? It’s very exciting, it’s a day of giving and in this case I’m participating in Do More 24 in Delaware!unspecified

This is an initiative which the United Way of Delaware and several sponsors are helping with today so that organizations who provide services to the community can all raise money together. Brae’s Brown Bags is completely sustained on donations and small grants Braeden receives. Without the support of family, friends and many kind people we have met around the country we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. If you believe in our mission of increasing access to healthy food in low-income and homeless populations please consider donating today. Otherwise there are over 190 other nonprofits participating today and they are also worthy of a donation!

For $24 we can provide at least 30 bags of healthy snack options which also include water. This summer we will be providing 3B bags to schools who participate in the USDA Summer Meals Program. These schools help to provide meals to students who ordinarily depend on school during the school year for the nutritional meals. Our bags are given out after someone eats a meal, they can take it to go so they have healthy snack options to eat at home.

Ever wonder how far a ripple can reach?

udLast week I got to talk with two different groups of people about Brae’s Brown Bags, food insecurity and service. First I talked with a group from the University of Delaware. They were having a service retreat which I think is a really great idea. I think every company should have a service retreat where they spend time out of their office or out of their warehouse and they go and they do something good.

The group were people from Student Services and Enrollment Management and after I talked with them for a little bit they packed 250 bags of healthy food for people in need. Some of them took bags home with them in case they see someone in need during their travels. The rest I was able to take him so I can bring them to a shelter or soup kitchen who needs them. So thank you very much to this group, I had a great time and I am thankful you invited me.

greenwood2The next day I got to visit Greenwood Elementary School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. A group of their 4th graders decided to start a 3B Ripple Student Chapter. A student named Josh Bernberg heard me talk at one of his Boys Scout meetings. And then he shared information with his classmates. They decided to name their 3B Ripple “Greenwood Strong” which I think is pretty awesome. So they were my 8th official ripple! And oh my goodness! They were so impressive! After we talked we ended up packing 358 bags of healthy food! Can you believe it!? We had a couple tables lined up with the supplies and once the students got the hang of it they packed the bags so fast!

The principal at Greenwood even donated 100 books to the cause! I also got to meet some of their Girls on the Run team and they were very excited to meet me which I have to admit was pretty cool.

Then this week we got an email from one of the middle schoolers who was there with their younger sibling. And she was so inspired that she said she wants to start a 3B Ripple at her middle school in Kennett! The ripple effect of Brae’s Brown Bags is something really unbelievable. I really can’t thank all of you enough!

Also I want to share I got invited to be a member of the Junior National Honor Society at my school Gauger-Cobbs Middle School!

I also want to let you know we are less than three months away from our 2016 3B Summer Celebration. You can find out more here! We are looking for sponsors!

Using Eventbrite for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration

Credit: RT Graham

Credit: RT Graham

We’re preparing our event page on Eventbrite again this year for the 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. Hoping to confirm our location this week.

We can confirm our theme though AND show you our event artwork created by the art teacher I had when I was at Keene Elementary. All of our materials this year will feature Mr. Graham’s artwork. Check it out on our Eventbrite page, although tickets are not yet available but hopefully will be soon and we will let you know on our social media accounts!

eventbritelogogradientv2Two years ago I created my own event it was a thank you event and it was for my foundation and even though it was a free event to attend we used Eventbrite to help plan and manage the event. The name of the event is 3B Summer Celebration and we will hold our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration on August 20, 2016. This year we do have a theme and it is a “Ripple Effect” because I have expanded my Brae’s Brown Bags to reach out into schools. By helping schools start their own 3B Ripple Student Chapters we are now activating youth to get involved in service while also expanding the reach of our program to low-income populations in communities outside or own. We will have a bag packing station at this event and we will give certificates to every student who attends as a representative of an official 3B chapter.

The 3B Summer Celebrations are awesome because everyone comes out to support a program which I started when I was 9 years old and I know the biggest reason Brae’s Brown Bags is successful is because we have so much encouragement from family, friends, schools, other non profits and legislators like Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative Paul Baumbach. We have used Eventbrite each year and will be again this year once we get our location confirmed. It’s great to get a big group of people together who are all interested in making a different and supporting a good cause. I think each year we get new people but we also get friends who first met at our first celebration in 2014 which is cool to see our guests reuniting.

Last year we tried a feature Eventbrite offers where even though our tickets are free we said if people donated any amount they would be guaranteed an event t-shirt. We are hoping this year that will be more successful for us especially since the artwork is one-of-a-kind and uniquely made for 3B. The past two events have been really fun. We had a silent auction and raffles which were fun but it’s definitely tricky figuring out things really far in advance because most places need at least three months to know if they can donate or sponsor you.

The best advice we can tell other people who are planning events is to not be shy about promoting it. Work with local radio stations and research event calendars that allow you to submit your event so that it shows up for people. We use social media and Eventbrite connects with our social media accounts to make this very easy. We can publish to our Facebook and Twitter accounts straight after we create the event on Eventbrite. This is very helpful so we don’t have to remember to do it in multiple locations.

LA, Ag Day, MOT, 3B Summer, what’s happening? #the3bway

And sooooo wow it is May 5th already. I’ll be done 6th grade in about a month. Time flies.

Me with Gwen Stefani and Whitney Stewart

Me with Gwen Stefani and Whitney Stewart

For those of you who do not follow me on social media (and you should!) then you might not know all of the details of my trip to Los Angeles. I did receive a Disney Hero for Change Award and I did talk in front of 7,000 people and I did learn to use a teleprompter which I really liked and I wish my Mom could have one with us all the time!

The end of the red carpet walk

The end of the red carpet walk

The Radio Disney Music Awards was a lot of fun and I know I will remember it forever. I made a new friend in Whitney Stewart who was the other award winner. She was very nice and I can tell she really enjoys being a leader with the Boys & Girls Club. I was able to meet Gwen Stefani and she is very nice. She kept saying that she didn’t think she did well when she received her award and I think she is crazy. Her speech was very nice and she spoke from her heart. So if Gwen ever reads this I hope she knows she is being too hard on herself.

I got to walk on the red carpet before the event. That was a lot different than I thought it would be. Some of the actors and actresses were being yelled at to look at different cameras. They must have been really important but I wouldn’t want to be yelled at. The red carpet is very long and even though you get announced at the beginning one at a time it still gets really crowded. There were A LOT OF cameras!

Backstage I got to talk with People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight and have my picture take with a bunch of people. And a dog, a Pomeranian which really looked like a toy but it wasn’t a toy it was real. There was an after party where people did a lot of dancing and jumping and I ate not one but two cookies on a stick. That’s right. Cookies on a stick. It is a genius idea.

This award is a really big honor and I am very humbled to have been chosen.

I couldn’t do everything I am doing with 3B without all of the people who encourage me every day.

Like my Mom. And that is why I am so happy she is also being recognized for all she does for 3B.

MOT Charter

MOT Charter

Calvary Baptist Youth Group

Calvary Baptist Youth Group

So in the last couple of weeks I have also had a chance to talk with two groups of students about 3B and food insecurity and how they can help. I went to MOT Charter and talked with all of their 2nd graders and then I went to Calvary Baptist Church in Newark to talk with their youth group. I think my favorite part is when I get asked questions. At MOT Charter I think every student wanted to ask questions. They were so excited. They have packed bags in the past for 3B to give out during the winter months which was very helpful. The youth group at Calvary Baptist packed 50 bags just last night and they seemed to really enjoy helping out. I hope I am able to work with both of these groups again.

YouDee mascot with 3B bag

YouDee mascot with 3B bag

My Gram and Pop Pop were at the Ag Day event for me. They said there were a lot of people and it was a great turn out. My Gram said a lot of people knew about 3B and other people were excited to learn more, especially about the 3B Ripple Student Chapters. She said everyone took something like a pen or a brochure. I am sorry I missed Ag Day because it is always a lot of fun and I like seeing people at the University of Delaware because a lot of the students have had events with me and they stop by to say hi.

There are a couple other events coming up which will be fun but I will talk about them later.

We also just announced our SAVE THE DATE for our 3rd Annual 3B Summer Celebration. It will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Location to be announced. Mr. Graham, my art teacher from when I was in elementary school at Keene Elementary, he is designing the artwork for the event. That’s pretty cool. So please put it on your calendar and I hope to meet all of you there!

Radio Disney here I come #RDMA

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I am writing this in the Philadelphia airport. My mom and I are heading to Los Angeles to attend the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater.

It seems like most of my trips where I find myself waiting for a plane or a train are sort of like a dream. Am I really here? Are we really going to meet Gwen Stefani? Is this really happening?

Even though it takes a lot of time I really am happy about what I am doing with 3B. I really like helping people and knowing that people are being fed; healthy food.

And it’s an honor to be receiving the Disney Hero for Change Award but I would be doing what I do even without awards. That’s not why I’m doing it, that’s not how it started. It started because when I was 9 and we drove by an old homeless man and I was so sad and I knew I had to do something to help.

And then I realized everyone can help! Maybe they don’t realize it. So I’m getting lots of other people to volunteer with me. Recruiting other kids and now I’ve activated over 2,500 volunteers, maybe more! So sometimes near where I live we might see a homeless person and they already have a 3B bag. I can provide more and I do but I know other people in the community are giving, too.

You should watch Sunday, May 1 at 7pm on the Disney Channel.

Congrats to Whitney who is receiving a Disney Hero for Change Award with me this weekend at the Radio Disney Music Awards. It will be nice to meet you.

Young people being awesome across Delaware

brae20under20There is so much to tell you. I either have to remember to write smaller posts more frequently or hope you don’t mind these long ones.

So the first thing is that Delaware Today included me in their April Magazine which featured 20 under 20. That means 20 kids from across Delaware who are doing some cool things. They really are, too!

Devon Ragolia, Dhruv Mohnot, Jenaya Vann, Elias Randall, Blair Isken, Ariel Friedlander, Hope Abbott, Jonathan Scurato and Braeden Mannering at the 20 Under 20 photo shoot

Devon Ragolia, Dhruv Mohnot, Jenaya Vann, Elias Randall, Blair Isken, Ariel Friedlander, Hope Abbott, Jonathan Scurato and Braeden Mannering at the 20 Under 20 photo shoot

I met students who make their own clothes, even glowing shoes and students who have their own skin care line funded in part by people on Shark Tank. There was even a girl who is REALLY GOOD at several instruments and she is younger than me. So if you get a chance you should read the article, Emma Way wrote it, she is very nice.

Then I have talked with two different groups recently.

brae-hillcrestI went up to West Chester, Pennsylvania last week to talk with a group of Girl Scouts at Hillcrest Elementary and one of their brothers. They were all so excited to pack bags and hear about what I have been doing. They asked some good questions and then packed 75 bags of food for people in need. It went by very fast they were super focused! The principal for the school was also there and he said he hopes to launch an official 3B Ripple at the elementary school next year!

brae-wilsonYesterday I went to Wilson Elementary School to launch a 3B Ripple. There were about 80 kids there, all 4th graders and I am pretty sure almost all of them ended up raising their hands with questions. It made me feel good that they were interested in learning more. Their school counselor signed them and they are still figuring out what to name their chapter. She talked with them after my presentation and she said if they volunteer to participate in the chapter they will have to give up one recess period to take time to pack bags. I know how important recess is, I am still bummed recess doesn’t happen in 6th grade. But you know what, so many of the students raised their hands and asked if they would be allowed to give up 2 recess periods! WOW! I was very impressed with these students and their school. I am happy to be working with them.

PepsiCo just released information about what their brand is doing to help provide hunger relief across the world. Their article spoke about how young people play a big role in this initiative and they included me! So you can read about what they are doing on the Huffington Post and on a Sustainable Brands website.

More news coming soon so stay tuned!

Reybold Storage and Mazda

So I just want to really quickly thank two companies for recently helping us out.

storage-logoOne is the Pencader Reybold Self Storage people because they are donating a storage unit for us to use. We have had our supplies split between my great-grandparents, grandparents and my house because we didn’t have room for everything. Now we have one place we can put everything. Our friends at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club of Delaware helped us connect with Reybold. This is a really big help to us. We were able to put a couple dozen cases of water in last week and this week we will be able to put in more supplies.

T2_MazdaDriveForGood_DealerSkin_480x340Which then leads me to thanking Mazda (North American Operations) because when my Mom emailed them to ask them who printed our 3B logo on the brown bags after I won the Mazda Drive 4 Good, they not only connected her to that company but they also decided to donate money to our foundation to help us cover the cost of ordering more bags in bulk. So in a couple of weeks a HUGE shipment of 3B brown bags will be delivered and now we have a place to put them thanks to Reybold.

See how it all worked out?

Thank you Reybold and thank you Mazda. You guys rock!