Help Brae’s Brown Bags (3B) Continue to Provide Food to Low Income and Homeless People

brae helping homeless


By Erica Martin, Contributing Writer

Have you ever read reports about homeless people on the Internet, or heard about them on the news, and wondered how you could help them?  One 10 year old boy decided to take a proactive stance and started a program to deliver food to homeless and low income people, and became one of Start A Snowball’s early grantees in June of 2014.

What is Brae’s Brown Bags?

Brae’s Brown Bags, or 3B, is an organization that was started by a 10 year-old boy named Braeden. He came up with the idea after he won the 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and got to sit with First Lady Michele Obama at the Kids’ State Dinner when he was 9. Since then, his idea has become an official 501(3) charity, he has written and received two grants and won several awards. He has handed out over 1,200 bags of healthy snacks and clean water to the homeless.

What else has 3B accomplished?

In addition to handing out bags of food to homeless people in shelters, soup kitchens, schools and in the street, Braeden has also talked to youth about his project, and has also encouraged them to find ways to make changes in their communities. He has also attended packing events, fundraising events, and has spoken at several sessions about his ideas on food insecurity. He has also been invited to speak at the Senate Legislative Hall and hosted a Race Against Hunger at his elementary school, and participated in the University of Delaware’s Day of Service. He is also working with the Food Bank of Delaware to raise awareness about food insecurity.

What are the future plans for Brae’s Brown Bags?

Braeden wants to continue to reach out to other non-profits to see if they could benefit from his project. He also wants to work with legislators to get the word out about his project, and the need for other such projects. He also plans to continue doing fundraising and raising awareness on his social media accounts and his blog.

How can I find out more about 3B?

You can find out more about Braeden and his project on his blog,


Girls Inspired to Spread the Word about Youth Ranch


girls help ranch

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer


Sixth-graders Amelia Sullivan and Auburn Bailey are two friends who wanted to help an organization that inspired them.  That organization is Sweetwater Youth Ranch in Leicester, North Carolina.

“Sweetwater helps troubled kids learn about building trust and responsibility with the horses,” Amelia said.  “The ranch is just getting started so they are in need of a lot of help.” Auburn is training at the ranch with the goal of becoming one of its volunteer counselors.

Last summer, the Girls manned a muffin and lemonade stand to raise money for the ranch.  The $44.11 profit that the girls donated to the Ranch bought two bags of Senior Horse Feed for an older horse.

Encouraged by their initial success, the girls decided to focus on a way to promote the ranch.  They used a $60 grant from Start A Snowball to hire a graphic designer to help them create a brochure for the ranch.  “Our goal is to get the word out about this amazing ranch,” said Amelia. “We hope the brochure will help people learn about Sweet Water Youth Ranch, which in the end is about helping the kids.”

If you have a project you would like to support please apply for a grant. You can also donate to help Start A Snowball continue to provide grants to more kids that want to make a difference.

Arizona Youth Put a Dent in Bullying

By Sharon Bayliss, Contributing Writer

These Arizona teens stand up to bullies in a big way.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1 in every 3 students in the U.S. has been a victim of bullying, and 70% of students have witnessed bullying. However, the youth in Buckeye, Arizona who founded the BEE BRAVE program believe that we can do better.

In May of 2014, these youth launched the BEE BRAVE initiative, a movement that encourages students to stand up for themselves and others. To fund their programs, they held their first Car Smash Event and attracted the support of local officials such as the fire department, police, city government, schools, and churches. They chose a car smash because they felt like it would be a great way to call attention to the issue and demonstrate the damage done by bullying. The youth wrote words on the car such as “sad” and “worthless” to show how bullying made them feel, then everyone took a turn giving the car a big smash.

79 people attended their first event, and they were asked to return again in the fall. For their next Car Smash Event in November of 2014, they wanted to go even bigger. They turned to Start a Snowball  and requested a grant to assist with costs of the event, such as insurance. Their goal was to increase attendance to 160.

In November, they not only smashed a car, they obliterated their goal. Instead of 160 participants, they attracted 3,000. Crowds of people took the BEE BRAVE pledge–agreeing not to bully and to stand up for others who are being bullied.

Thanks to the Start a Snowball grant and the courageous youth in the BEE BRAVE program, thousands of people have pledged to help prevent bullying and make their community a safer place.

Click to learn more about Bullying and what you can do about it.

“Start a Snowball” in your own community by applying for a grant this summer.


Teen Helps Community to Communicate

teen helps esl

Teen Helps ESL Speakers  Know What is Happening in Their Community

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer


Thirteen-old Hayden Baily is part of a mission church outreach that supports the residents living in the North View mobile home park.  Many of them are not native English speakers so teen helps esl communicatecommunication about the events and services available are hampered by the language barrier.

“We sponsor many events and would like to get the world out to the Northview community in their language,” said Hayden.

The $100 grant from Start A Snowball was used to buy the materials to build a sign – an outdoor bulletin board to post information about community events and offer messages of encouragement.   The sign would be a central communication point for all the residents in the community.

Young Northview residents worked alongside the mission church outreach team to build and place the sign.  “A lot of people got involved with the project,” said Hayden. “The community members are very excited about how the sign will improve communication here.”

To help us continue to provide seed money grants to projects like this that help to develop the next generation of givers please consider a donation.

Girl Inspired to Fight Cancer Makes a Huge Difference

kelseys dream to fight cancer

Kelsey’s Dream to Fight Cancer

By Paula Echeverria – Contributing Writer

The love between sisters is unbreakable, and the relationship between Kylie Kuhns and her older sister Kelsey proves to be remarkably strong. When Kelsey Kuhns was first diagnosed with cancer just before her 5th birthday, she made it adamant that she wanted to help other children that were going through similar circumstances. A girl whose heart was always filled with love wished to provide a way to grant happiness to others suffering from cancer. Three years after losing her life Kelsey’s Sister Kylie was set on keeping her sisters legacy and dream alive. The Kelsey’s Dream organization began in 2007, Kylie designed a play therapy toy named Hopper the Cancer Crush, a stuffed frog that wears hospital pajamas and a bandana, made to make other children smile with equipment’s that will make treatment more comfortable for children. Kylie has been unwavering in her goal of fulfilling her sister’s dream, in the past couple years Kylie has traveled around the country speaking and presenting Hopper the Cancer Crusher. She has even been on the Rachael Ray Show to present Kelsey’s Dream and its hopes as a nonprofit organization. Since the organization was founded in 2007, Kelsey’s Dream now has over 400 volunteers, and has raised over $325,000, having distributed 8,000 hoppers in 33 different states. The goal of Kelsey’s Dream is to play Hopper the Cancer Crusher in the hands of as many children with cancer as possible. Being a non-profit organization every penny that is received by Kelsey’s Dream is given to the children supported by the organization. Kelsey’s Dream defines success by simply touching the life of one child, one smile gives Kylie the motivation to keep working on her sister’s dream. The continuation of Kelsey’s Dream will only expand that impact and love. Kelsey always wanted everybody to stay strong and keep fighting, by placing Hopper the Cancer Crusher in the hands of children also suffering from cancer, Kelsey’s soul will live on by continuing to motivate other children to stay positive the way she always encouraged others to. Kelsey’s Dream is not only an illustration of compassion and love for others, but the devoted, unbreakable love of sisters.

If you would like to apply for a grant to support a kid’s dream to help others apply for a grant. You can also donate to help us fund other kids’ dreams to help others.

This 11 Year Old is Sewing for Good

Her grandmother taught her how to sew, and she was inspired to do something wonderful

By- Sharon Bayliss, Contributing Writer

When Madeline Hoffman’s grandmother taught her how to sew, the 11 year old immediately wanted to use her new skills to help others. She began by creating pillowcases and neck pillows for her local hospital, and then the memory of her great-grandmother Buddee inspired her to take her project further.buddee bags is sewing for good

From watching her great-grandmother in her wheelchair, Madeline came up with the idea for Buddee Bags. Buddee Bags are colorful, handmade bags that can easily attach to wheelchairs and walkers. Madeline says, “These bags are important to these individuals because it allows them more freedom and independence because they can keep important items close by and don’t need to ask for help.”

Madeline made 70 bags on her own and donated them to nursing homes. As opposed to simply dropping off bags, Madeline took the time to speak with each resident and learn their favorite colors and patterns and designed a bag especially for them. She noticed that they loved the bags, but also greatly enjoyed the time she spent talking with them.

Once she saw how much people appreciated her bags, she knew she needed to make more. With a $100 grant from Start a Snowball, Madeline purchased additional materials for bag-making and passed out flyers to find new volunteers.

On the MLK Day of Service Event in Philadelphia, Madeline worked with volunteers to sew more Buddee Bags. She says, “The day was very successful. Not only did more people learn about my project, I also helped others learn how to sew, and made more bags. I was also interviewed by the local news and they have done two stories!”

As you can see from Madeline’s website,, her project has continued to flourish with the help of a Start a Snowball grant. She plans to continue making Buddee Bags and also begin creating bags for children with wheelchairs and walkers who can’t use a traditional backpack.


You too can apply for a grant to support a youth like Madeline and her project, you can also donate to help us continue to supply grants to kids like her.

Kids Helping Kids to Smile

From New York State to Jamaica; Kids Helping Kids to Smile


By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer


One fifth grade class in Lafayette, New York used their grant from Start A Snowball to get the word out about their project:  Kids Helping Kids.

Teacher Mike Mahoney said the goal of the project was to raise about $600 to purchase dental supplies and collect school supplies for children in Jamaica.

The $100 grant was used to buy poster board, markers, balloons, and US and Jamaican flags.  The students used the items to create posters to explain the project and encourage donations.

The fifth-graders collected, packed and shipped items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, pencils, colored pencils and erasers, which were distributed among schoolchildren in an isolated and mountainous region of Jamaica.

“I received a letter that stated our supplies given out to over two thousand children in Jamaica,” said Mahoney. “The success of this project was seen in the smiles of the children and in the tears of the teachers we helped.”

Teaching kids to care for others and convert that caring into action is a very important to Start A Snowball. To help us continue to provide seed money grants to projects like this that help to develop the next generation of givers please consider a donation.


kids helping kids

Teen Hopes to Provide “Comfort for Kids” in Foster Care

comfort for kids foster care

Kids Helping Kids In Foster Care

It all started with a small, stuffed toy fish that belonged to thirteen-year-old Alyssa Svalina of Fuquay-Varina, NC.  Since the toy was in nearly new condition, she simply wanted to find a new home for it as she felt it might make another child happy.  After a conversation with a family friend who is a volunteer fireman, Alyssa learned that there are programs in the community that aim to provide comfort to kids who are impacted by a family crisis and are taken into foster care. foster care supplies

In 2012, Alyssa found out about the Wake County Foster Care Stocking Drive.  That year she collected 56 Christmas stockings, 200 in 2013 and over 364 in 2014. Alyssa’s support for the stocking drive has grown each year as others find out about what she is doing and want to support her efforts.  Her efforts are organized as a project called “Comfort for Kids”.

This year, Alyssa approached Start A Snowball for funds to fill Christmas stockings for the older teens.  At one holiday party where the stockings are distributed Alyssa realized that there were not enough stockings available for the older teens.  This year, Alyssa wants to focus on donating Christmas stockings geared toward the older teens in the Wake County Foster Care system.  The $100 grant from Start A Snowball helped Alyssa get started on collecting stocking stuffers that would specifically appeal to older teens such as jewelry, makeup, socks, and hats.  For the 2105 drive, Alyssa has at least 79 stocking so far.  Her efforts also extend to children in foster care outside of Wake County.

Alyssa doesn’t intend to stop at Christmas stockings.   Another initiative of Comfort for Kids is underway – collecting “care packages” with hygiene and small items for children who first enter the foster care system as they often arrive with nothing from their previous living arrangement.

By MJ Vieweg

Staff Writer


If you would like to help support other kids like Alyssa as they follow their passions to help others or to apply for a grant please click the buttons below.


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Teen Helps Keep Displaced Families Warm

Inspired by Her Sister’s Gift, Teen Starts Blanket Project for Displaced Families

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer

After hearing a presentation about Family Promise, a temporary shelter for displaced families, thirteen-year-old Anna Frey knew she wanted to help.  At the end of the presentation, Anna approached the speaker.  “I asked if the families at the shelter could use blankets but keep those blankets for their own after leaving,” Anna said. “The speaker said yes!”

Anna began by making one fleece blanket per week with a goal of twenty blankets to deliver to the shelter.  “I thought of these soft blankets because my sister made me one and I really like it.  Especially since she made it for me,” she said.  “Hopefully, the families in the shelter will realize that someone was thinking about them when they choose a blanket to keep.”

To help with that goal, Anna turned to Start A Snowball for help.  With a $100 grant, Anna was able to purchase the fleece material to make more blankets to add to the six she had already completed.

Anna wants to expand her project by reaching out to other community service organizations.  “I would like to keep this going by introducing the Family Blanket Project  to Girl Scout groups, or members of Girls Night Out at the YMCA, or any organization looking for a service projects that kids can do,” she said.

Anna is a great example of how one person can make a difference to those in need. To help Start A Snowball continue to help kids like Anna make an impact please consider donating or applying for a grant to support a youth led project.

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kids helping the homeless

Teen Encourages Others to be free from Bullying

Teen Encourages Others to “Live Freely Without Their Harm”

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer

Inspired by the lyrics from a Black Veil Brides song, fifteen-year-old Katy Durbin has started an anti-bullying project called “Operation Saviour”.  A line in the song may speak to teens who endure bullying by recognizing their desire to “just live freely without (their) harm”.

“That song specifically inspired thousands of teens to keep living through bullying,” Katy said.  “I myself am bullied and I would like it to stop.”

Katy delivers a short Powerpoint lecture and follows up with activities and games to encourage teens who are bullied to stand up for themselves.  She turned to Start A Snowball for a $100 grant to purchase supplies to make educational posters and provide snacks at her presentations.  “I like to offer a snack to kids who are having a really rough time of it because food always helps,” she said.

Katy hopes to partner with local schools and start “Operation Saviour” chapters so teens can learn how to resist bullying.  “I want to help kids that are being bullied see that it’s not the end of the world and to keep their heads up,” Katy said.

Click to learn more about Bullying and what you can do about it.

Start A Snowball has funded projects led by youth like Katy across the county. If you know of a youth that has a passion to help others please consider applying for a grant to support their work by clicking the button below.

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changeit-angelou fight bullying



The Hydro Harvest Club is Feeding The Hungry

The Hydro Harvest Club is Feeding The Hungry

By MJ Vieweg,  Staff Writerhydroponics is feeding the hungry

A $100 grant from Start a Snowball  has helped fifth grade teacher Becky Cicione start a hydroponic garden to provide vegetables for needy families in her Spring Hill, Florida community.  Though Cicione spearheaded the project, she intends to give her students control of the project and take on a role a facilitator.

hydro harvest feeds the hungry“I want the students to take ownership of the project so they can see and feel the outcome,” she said.

The overall goal of the project is to teach students the fundamentals of hydroponics and that there are easy ways to give back to the community.  With the money from Start A Snowball, Cicione purchased water buckets, liquid fertilizer and a PH Digital Reader.

Shortly thereafter, several families in the community received delicious, organic vegetables.  Cicione would like to see the project continue each year.  “Once the plants start being able to harvest more, even more families will be provided fresh vegetables,” she said.  “This will be a unique way for studentskids feeding the hungry to give back to the community and to learn the fundamentals of growing their own food.

Teaching kids life skills is what schools are supposed to do, but many times kids aren’t taught how to help others around them. Start A Snowball is proud to sponsor schools in their efforts to teach kids how to help others. If you would like to apply for a grant to support a service learning or student led project at your school, or to donate to help Start A Snowball help other kids who are feeding the hungry please click the buttons below.

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Sisters Make Blankets to Help Others

girls helping others to stay warm

One Good Project to Help Others Leads to Another

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer

Thirteen-year old twin sisters Maddie and Morgan Manning started one community service project that has evolved into two:  The Bundle Up club and the Project Baby Bundle.  The girls started blankets1the projects as a way to help.  “We want to help homeless, needy and less-fortunate people,” Maddy said.

The Bundle Up Club distributes gift kits of hand-made blankets, hats and scarves to the homeless.

“The Bundle Up Club makes hats, scarves and blankets for those who are less fortunate.  All of our items are hand-made,” said Maddie.

Withatsh help from family and volunteers, the girls worked for five months to crochet and knit the hats, scarfs and make the no-sew fleece blankets for the kits.  Altogether the girls were able to deliver 104 gift kits, more than double their initial goal.

Their second project, Project Baby Bundle, serves a local crisis pregnancy center to make baby hats and blankets.  With the $100 grant received from Start A, the girls will be able to purchases supplies (fleece and yarn) for the blankets and hats.  Their goal is to make 50 Baby Bundle kits (blanket/hat)-in three months- to donate to the crisis pregnancy shelter.

You can follow Maddie and Morgan’s work on their Facebook page or their Blog.

To apply for a grant to support a kid’s community service passions or to donate in order to help fund  more kids like Maddie or Morgan click below.


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PKU Fundraiser Inspired by Friendship

PKU bakesale

 Girl Raises over $4000 to help friend and PKU Research

By MJ Vieweg

Staff Writer

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth (Mizzi) Carlin has a friend with phenylketonuria (PKU).  PKU is a genetic metabolic disorder.  “You can have little or no protein because (your body) can’t break it down,” Mizzi explains.  “This disease does not getPKU fundraiser much media attention or funding for research.  I am inspired by my friend and want to find a cure in his lifetime.”

Her goal was to raise $500 for PKU research.  She planned a bake sale fundraiser and hoped to also sell t-shirts to help increase PKU awareness.  A grant from Start A Snowball enabled Mizzi to purchase t-shirts to sell.  She was able to give 100% of the sales of the t-shirts directly to PKU research.

“My friend with PKU came to the bake sale and he was able to reach out to people and talk about what PKU is and how he lives with it.”  Mizzi said.  “Because of the bake sale someone else in the community with a child with PKU reached out to my friend’s mom.”

Mizzi set out hoping to raise $500 dollars during this first fundraiser.  She ended up raising over $4000 to help benefit The Mid-Atlantic Connection for PKU and Allied Disorders to fund PKU research in a hope to find a cure for her friend.

And she didn’t stop there! Mizzi was so inspired by a young girl in her neighborhood who is battling cancer that her and her brother donated their hair. They were able to donate over 10 inches of hair in each of 4 pony tails in honor of their neighbor.

This is a truly inspiring family, and we are proud to have been able to play a part in helping Mizzi reach her goal and help find a cure for her friend with PKU. To donate to Mizzi’s efforts click here. You can also follow Mizzi’s efforts on her Facebook Page.  If you would like to learn more about PKU click here.  You too can apply for a grant to support a youth like Mizzi and her project, you can also donate to help us continue to supply grants to kids like Mizzi to help them do good.



Teen’s Love for Reading Helps Early Literacy


Teen Passionate for Reading Starts Early Literacy Project


By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer


Seventeen-year-old Rachel Ley was raised a reader.  When she entered kindergarten knowing how to read chapter books and finding out that many of her classmates did not, Rachel came to realize that her mother’s habit of reading to her early and often was the difference.

“My mother read at least ten children’s books a day with me from the time I was born until I reached kindergarten,” Rachel said.

By the time Rachel reached 6th grade, she witnessed the challenges many of her classmates had with reading.  Her service project, Literacy for Little Ones, aims to help parents start early reading habits with their children.  Since 2009, Literacy for Little Ones has send nearly 550 book packages home with families of the babies born at nine hospitals in Wisconsin (including a hospital in Nicaragua located in a sister city of one of the Wisconsin towns).The book packages include a new baby book, a letter that explains the importance of early literacy and tips on reading to newborns.

“Since the program was first established in April of 2009, approximately 10,500 babies have gone home from the hospital with a Literacy for Little Ones book package,” said Rachel.  “This summer I met one of the first recipients of the program.  Her mother told me that the book she received in her book package is still her daughter’s favorite book today.”

With a $100 grant from, book packages were provided for 80 families.  The grant sustained the program at one hospital for two months.

Read more about Rachel in her news coverage:


If you want to apply for a grant to support a project like Rachel’s or to donate to help us support click one of the buttons below

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Rainbow Pack Helps Kids With School Supplies

rainbow pack helps kids

Start A Snowball Grant Helps Kids Color a Brighter Future

By MJ Vieweg, Staff Writer

Thirteen-year-old Riley Gantt, of Sherman Oaks, California, helps kids, and turned to Start A Snowball for help closing what he calls the ‘achievement gap’ that divides students attending schools in low-income areas and their counterparts in more affluent areas.

“I started Rainbow Pack to help elementary schools that have low-income populations.  We have been told that almost all of the families we help live at or below the poverty level.  They can’t afford basic school supplies to have at home so that the kids can do their homework,” he said.

Students receive backpacks (“Rainbow Packs”) filled with all manner of school supplies necessary to complete homework assignments.  The $100 grant from Start A Snowball was used to purchase more than 200 boxes of crayons to add to the backpacks.

Since May 2014, Gantt’s organization gave out over 2200 backpacks.  A back-to-school event was organized in August 2014 to distribute the Rainbows Packs.

Help Start A Snowball build the next generation of givers and inspire others to change the world like Rainbow Pack is doing. To apply for a grant to support your project or to donate so we can keep giving these grants click the buttons below.


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