I Dream of School Supplies

school-supplies-1Spearheading a program for the nonprofit I helped launch this year, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work and feeling more grateful than ever to have a means to give back and create a lasting organization that has the potential to change our community and the world in such a big way. I blogged about our Sponsor-a-Student School Supply Drive for the Gratitude Generation and wanted to share it here, too.

This space, where I find a community of like-minded people seeking to practice and experience gratitude, has inspired my work with this nonprofit. Please check it out on Facebook and at http://www.gratitudegeneration.org/ to get a real feel for it. My efforts as Grateful Girl come to life daily in unbelievable ways – this time in the form of pencils, markers and more. This program made its way to my subconscious, as I dreamt of school supplies for many nights. But the hard work paid off – Grateful Girl felt big-time gratitude, as did the 250 others involved in this program. Please read about it here:

Getting Everyone Set for Success – We Did It!

I have a living room with no coffee table, only fabulous couches and wide open spaces where my daughter does handstands at any opportunity. Why, you might ask, would you care about that? Well, it’s important to you only because the available space made room in my house, in our community and in our hearts to fulfill the Gratitude Generation’s mission to inspire gratitude through service and education – and it inspired smiles on so many faces, about 250 if we’re counting.

Our first-ever Sponsor-a-Student School Supply Program was an incredible success, and we’re grateful and in awe (once again!) of the community and of your big hearts and generous wallets. Said living room was the supply headquarters, where we thought we’d get about 100 sets of supplies for students right here on the North Shore, as well as in Chicago. But so many of you reached out, took our assigned lists (some much more complex and daunting than others!) and grabbed a kid or two to hit the stores, that we extended our reach to Waukegan and Evanston. We were hoping that you’d shop or organize with your children, which would inspire great conversations and an easy way to point out that there are an unfathomable number of children starting school this year without the bare necessities. And it worked!

As my living room filled with grocery bags bursting with spirals, pencils, personal care items and more, many of the cuties dropping bags on my porch were proud to deliver the goods, tell me how they picked things at Target and Walmart, and how they knew another kid would love the lunch bag they had carefully selected. And the parents… As we hauled bags out of your trunks, it was amazing to hear tales of conquering the more complicated lists, how you were even more grateful to your own schools and PTOs for taking this task off your to-do list and how you’d be happy to support more students, if we needed it.

Blowing Past Our Goal

Believe me, when we hit post on that first day of the program, we had about 80 students to sponsor and were hatching a plan to raise some funds if we needed to buy the supplies ourselves. And then… One private message after another came pouring in and in the first 24 hours we had assigned every list. During the following three days, we added more and more and more. 150 students were sponsored by about 100 incredible families! Amazing! My living room HQ quickly spread to the foyer, the dining room, and down the hall.

We sorted and organized, added even more goodies and gift cards to the bags, and we began to distribute them across Chicagoland. The experience felt indescribable – it was our mission come to life in such an impactful way. I asked some of the families to share with me their thoughts. Take a look, I’m sure you’ll experience second-hand gratitude:

“My kids really liked picking out school supplies for other kids. They were excited to be able to gift new supplies to someone their own age, knowing how excited they get when they receive new school supplies themselves. As their mom, I loved seeing how thoughtful they were in choosing the supplies they chose, for kids they have never even met. It warms my heart to know that my kids are learning how to be grateful for what they have, while also having the desire to share with others.” – Julie 

“Supply shopping together for this great organization was a wonderful experience! My daughter saw first-hand how she was helping little boys and girls who aren’t as fortunate as her! She was a bit sad at times when she realized that some kids don’t have the money to even buy ‘something small’ from the Target Dollar Spot! I loved the time I spent with my daughter doing this and look forward to helping again in the future!” – Mindy

 “My sons (13 and 6) planned our outing to Target and Staples. They were confident in their choices, organized in checking items off the list and even wanted to throw in a few extra items that they love to use on a regular basis.” – Stacey

My own kids, too – having lived in the supplies HQ chaos for a few weeks – had a much more noticeable appreciation for the amazing package of supplies waiting for them at school this year. They even thanked me for ordering them so they could be prepared for the year. The impact of this project will resonate for months in the hearts of those who contributed and those who received. We did it, we got everyone set for success! And we provided service, education and gratitude – our ultimate goal, which we work to deliver to our community every day.

To those 100 families – the adults, the children, everyone who participated in any way – we are grateful and proud. 150 students will start the year feeling confident and prepared to learn. That’s 250 hearts full of gratitude, with the gratitude “Glow” transferring to so many others – that is amazing, simply amazing.

Feeling grateful? What are you involved with right now that's inspiring gratitude in your life? Please share with me here and on Grateful Girl's Facebook page.






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