Friday, October 8, 2010

Pay It Forward Done Up Kid Style

Today's Pay It Forward Friday is brought to you by the letter K for kids.  

Kids.  They're every where you look.  For as small as they are they sure take up a lot of room and make a lot of noise.  But, you gotta love them.  Nature made sure of that by giving them those big eyes,  round bellies and chubby cheeks.   Sometimes the kid even does something to warrant their parents devotion.   No to mention the respect of everyone that hears their story.   This is the story of children who decided to pay it forward.

As everyone knows, pay it forward is doing something nice for someone and then that person goes and does a nice thing for 3 people.  On and on it goes until the world is a nicer place to call  home.  Every once in awhile someone comes along that thinks bigger. 

Jonas Corona runs his own charitable organization, set up a website for it, wrote his company's mission statement and designed the logo to go along with it.  He gives public speeches.  Organizes city wide fund drives by working with local libraries, high schools and other organizations.   All this and he's only six years old, people!  A first grader!  Jonas created and runs the organization called Love In The Mirror.  The idea came to him at the ripe old age of 5.  His mom took the boy to a homeless shelter to help pass out cookies to the residents.  To his complete dismay five children close to his age were in line.  Jonas didn't understand what kids were doing there.  Once his mom explained that anyone of any age can be homeless the precocious five year old decided to quit taking his loving home filled with family and friends for granted.  He asked his mom for help.  She obliged by helping Jonas set up the website.  The mission statement and logo he did on his own.  When his mom gave him his own set of business cards the tyke was off and running.  On his own he approached a librarian at the local branch.  She offered her assistance.   To date Love In The Mirror has held sock drives, a toiletry drive, clothing and book drives.  Over four truckloads of supplies have been given to The Long Beach Rescue Mission.  Easter baskets to a school for homeless children called Precious Lamb Preschool and His Nesting Place.  The kid has just begun.  You can find Love In The Mirror on face book and the website is  if you want to contact Jonas to find out how you can help him.

Just one!  How many parents have heard that from their children?  Be it one more cookie or one more cartoon or one more bedtime story, "just one"  is common refrain in a child's repretoire.   But, Sarah Dewitz a fifth grader from Florida took it to a whole new level when she created, Just 1 Book.  The idea is simple.  If every child from her school brings one book from home that they have read and are finished with then Sarah would take the books (almost 800 in total) to a nearby community center that was in desperate need.  The Family Center is located in a neighborhood of less fortunate and had only one bookshelf for books.  When Sarah was shown a newspaper article about how families from this community were struggling in today's economy she started thinking about how she would feel if her parents couldn't afford to go to a bookstore and buy her and her brother a book or two.  A fourth grader at the time, she set up and ran a school wide book drive.  She asked for each student to bring in a book from home.  She hoped for around 700 books to donate.   The response was overwhelming.  Four months after she begun the drive Sarah has collected over 9,000 books!  There are now drop boxes in three schools, a face book page with over 400 followers and a booth at a local Farmer's Market.  She also has taken it mobile by hitting the road and setting up at local parks, community events and gives speeches at other schools.  Some in different cities.  Sarah runs everything herself, although Mom and Dad do help with the paperwork end and face book.  But, the fifth grader isn't finished yet.  She's in talks with the school superintendent to take the program countywide and would like to set up a bookmobile that would travel.  To send your gently used books click on the link.   Just 1 Book

Bikes and kids.  They go together don't they?  They do for Joseph Machado, a thirteen year old boy from California and his Biking For America.  When a sports injury sidelined the boy and kept him bound to a wheelchair for several months it gave him an appreciation for his life.   Joseph wanted to help out disadvantaged kids.  So, he rode his bike across the country in the hopes of raising donations and awareness.  Yep.  He set out in Rancho Cucamongo, California and 39 days later finished up in Washington D.C.  His three goals for his trip:  Raise money for charities.   Give hope to kids across America.  Encourage other children to help out in their own communities.  To date he has raised $30,000 in donations and donated services.  As for the other two.  Well, what do you think?  Mission accomplished.  To view his website click on the link.  Biking For America.

Everyone knows that saying about a child leading.  Leading by their example.  It all started at home for these kids.  Continued with the support of the community.  Let's hope it never ends.

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