Saturday, October 10, 2009

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. Buckminster Fuller

Most grants and funding made to social service agencies addresses basic human needs. The not-for-profit I work for, the Humanitarian Service Project, does that too with our summer Feed the Kids Project. At Christmas time, we help families with two to three weeks of food and gifts for all of the children. And year-round our Senior Citizen Project delivers a monthly food package to needy seniors in our area.

But there is more to life than basic needs. Our Children’s Birthday Project, is described on The Common Grant Application as “an early intervention program for children ages 3-12, to bring joy and self-worth to poverty-level children on their special day at an age while they were still impressionable but before they were subject to intense peer pressure and the appeal of negative influences such as gangs.”

That’s a mouthful but what it boils down to is we think even poor kids should know their birthdays are worth celebrating!

So, we collect new toys and books, school supplies, and stuffed animals. Every box also includes what we call a party-in-a-box with all the makings of a fun birthday celebration like cake mix, frosting, paper plates, streamers, and party favors.

Now, we are hoping to include an arts and crafts kit in the birthday boxes if our donors support the idea. Arts and crafts kits with drawing and painting supplies of all kinds, craft supplies—you name it. We see it as a creative and positive opportunity to enhance the lives of our program’s children. With schools cutting back on funding for art education, I think many kids grow up failing to discover their innate creativity. And poor families just scraping by surely don’t have money left over to spend on art supplies.

All week I have been caught up with this notion. I have a growing list of ideas with over 30 suggestions so far. If any of my readers know of organizations or manufacturers who might be able to help as we get this underway, please let me know. We are a small grassroots organization, highly regarded, but also with a small staff.

I am excited about the possibility. Here is the list I have come up with so far. Wonder what I have forgotten?

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