Archive for July, 2012
A twelve-year-old American girl with philanthropic motives has become an author. Caroline Stoerker, a middle school student from Cumming, Georgia, is a fervent Christian with a passion for writing, who wanted to use her talent to help others make good life choices. The result is her recently-published book “Alive in Him” – a collection of inspirational short stories, Bible scriptures and teachings for children. She will also be publishing another two books later in the year – “Little Bee and the Great Honey Contest” and “Little Bee and the Big Bully Bee” – both aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds: these are about a young bee and her family as they learn life lessons about “perseverance, courage and being kind to others”. The enterprising Ms Stoerker, who is a pupil at Piney Grove Middle School, wrote about children making the right choices in difficult situations, and shared them with her friends: their positive reactions encouraged her to share her work more widely, so that others could learn of her beliefs and faith in God, and follow her example. She credits her grandmother Ellie Krause with much of the inspiration for her writing, while her mother Susan Stoerker took care of the administrative and other details. The books can be purchased by visiting www.carolinestoerker.com, or the publishers’ website.
Take your dog for a walk, and raise money for good causes. This summer, Foresters UK – part of the Foresters international financial services organisation – is once again sponsoring its charity fundraising event ‘A Grand Day Out’, which commenced last year and seeks to raise funds for Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust.
Aside from getting some exercise out in the fresh air and the beautiful British countryside with their dogs, families will be able to enjoy bouncy castles, face painting, refreshments, sideshows, and dog training tips. And while spending quality time together they will have the satisfaction of knowing that the proceeds will make a difference to sick children and dogs, through the two charities.
Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation is a national charity that raises funds to help improve the quality of life for sick children in hospitals and hospices across the UK. It works with an established network of children’s hospitals and hospices to provide the best comforts and facilities available and to ensure children in hospital and hospices have a better, brighter future. By funding an innovative range of projects, it is able to enrich and enhance the lives of patients in regional centres throughout the country. Funds raised support projects and causes in local communities, such as music therapy, arts programmes, family accommodation facilities and child-friendly environments, state-of-the-art medical equipment, education and information programmes and hospice care.
The Kennel Club is the largest organisation in the UK devoted to dog health, welfare and training. Its objective is to ensure that dogs live healthy, happy lives with responsible owners. It invests in welfare campaigns, dog training and education programmes and the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, which supports research into dog diseases and dog welfare charities, including Kennel Club Breed Rescue organisations that re-house dogs throughout the UK. The Club jointly runs health screening schemes with the British Veterinary Association, and through its Charitable Trust funds research into dog health at the Animal Health Trust’s Kennel Club Genetics Centre.
A Grand Day Out takes place on three separate days – the first of these was yesterday, at Bristol’s Tyntesfield Park; on Sunday 19 August the venue will be Hadleigh Park in Essex; and Lincolnshire’s Belton House will host the final day, on Sunday 16 September.
If you are unable to attend these events, you might want to consider hosting your own fundraising ‘fun day’ during the weekend of 15-16 September. Apply to A Grand Day Out for an information pack.
About Foresters (from their Press Release): At Foresters we believe in enriching the lives of our members, their families and the communities they live in. We’re member-based, family-focused, and community spirited. Our products benefit both your family and your community. We champion the well-being of families through quality financial products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. We share our financial strength with more than 945,000 members across the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Throughout our 135-year history, our purpose has been to enrich the lives of members, their families and communities. The priorities remain today and will guide our future. As an example, our work with Cash for Kids in their 2011 Christmas Toy Appeal helped 215,000 children to have a better Christmas and 600,000 toys and gifts were delivered to needy children. Our support for UK children’s hospices has helped these organisations to provide a range of services to nearly 10,000 families.
Just a few miles up the road from me, at Neath Abbey, is an industrious group of knitters known as the Helping Hands Knitting Group, who have been working for charity for several years, including helping the homeless in nearby Swansea. Each Christmas they fill shoeboxes with gifts for the needy, and they have already started collecting for this year’s. One of their most recent projects has been to make life better for orphaned Romanian children, by providing toys, clothes and other goods, via the Romanian Aid Foundation. They sent a package last Thursday that included 350 pairs of school daps (England: plimsoles, or sandshoes; USA: sneakers, tennis shoes, or deck shoes) bought by member Sheila Heaven of Birchgrove, Swansea, at a local charity shop (thrift store). The group, which consists of around 40 members and meets every Thursday lunchtime, is now involving children in learning the previously dying art of knitting, which they are putting to excellent use in helping those less fortunate than themselves. They even go into primary schools, to teach the kids to knit: the latter then frequently end up assisting with the group’s charity appeals. It’s good to see that a simple skill such as this can be used to get young people interested in philanthropic activities.
Last Monday we considered the Australian scheme Kids in Philanthropy. Today we look at another venture from that continent – the Max Potential leadership programme, run by ClubsNSW. This is a 22-week personal development course for high school students aged 16-18 years, aimed at helping them reach their full potential. It is offered through local clubs that want to improve their impact on their local communities, while making a difference to the lives of emerging young leaders. Participating clubs are trained in coaching and mentoring: coaches and mentors come from a variety of backgrounds within the community – educational, religious, commercial and voluntary. Students taking part can expect to accelerate their potential to achieve, build their ‘can do’ attitude through a community project, explore and develop their entrepreneurial spirit through encouragement of their leadership abilities, and be challenged to lift their game through 12 hours of personalised coaching.
One such programme is hosted by Castle Hill RSL, and sponsored by Coca Cola Amatil, Event Cinemas Castle Hill, the IMS Group, Paynter Dixon, Pendragon, the University of Western Sydney, and Woolworths. It aims not only to improve the leadership abilities of local young people, but also to create sustainable social change within its community.
The students taking part this year at Castle Hill are Matthew Ingram and Cassidy-Rae Wilson from Rouse Hill Anglican College; Jessica Davis and Tristan Smith from Kellyville High School; Jeremy Nash and Yanik Fernando from William Clarke College; Janaya Gilbert and Emily McCammon from Crestwood High; Hope McPhillips and Crystal Farmer from Marian College; Tiffany Wu from The Hills Grammar School; Stephanie Murphy from Model Farms High School; and Cliantha Dessay from Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School. They will be undertaking a variety of projects, such as helping primary school students with the transition to high school (Tristan Smith), teaching senior citizens to text message (Stephanie Murphy), providing meals and blankets to homeless people (Emily McCammon), and creating starter packs of toys, clothes and toiletries for displaced children at a refuge centre (Hope McPhillips).
We (Chreda) were recently pleased to establish contact with Hester’s Way Neighbourhood Project, who are currently seeking to bring into the spotlight some of the many community-based ventures taking place in the area, as part of Barnwood Trust’s Jubilant Stories project. Our particular interest, of course, is in the altruistic activities of young people.
Now, I have come across news of a teenager in that county (Gloucestershire) who has been working quietly but very effectively for a local charity for the last four years.
Annia Fabian helps prepare for a Spring Bulb show in aid of the Pied Piper Appeal
Annia Fabian, who is 17 years old, and studying for a Btec in sport at Hartpury College (despite coping with dyslexia), is a volunteer with the Pied Piper Appeal, based at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH). The charity, which has raised millions of pounds over the last few years (used to build the new children’s centre at GRH and refurbish the Battledown Children’s Ward at Cheltenham General Hospital) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Annia, who lives in Newent, Gloucestershire, works for the charity at least two days a week, as well as during many evenings and weekends. She has helped raise thousands of pounds for sick children. Described as “a very outgoing, bright and caring girl and an inspiration to others, young and old” – she first worked with the charity when she was just 13: she began by making cupcakes for sale. She now makes hundreds a month, and also organises stallholders for the motor shows held at Highnam Court, as well as the charity’s various other fundraising events. And when GRH found it could no longer afford to maintain its aquarium, she even took over the task of looking after its fish!
It is selfless activities of this sort that we hope to celebrate and encourage through the award scheme that we are planning at the Chreda Foundation, so over the coming months we will no doubt be bringing you many similar examples of such community-minded young people.