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Charity spotlight

A Natural Selection

What are your plans for Earth Day 2012? When you think of charities to help out, think trees and grass and critters, and the organizations working every day to protect them.

We love nature, so it's only natural that we love The Nature Conservancy too. This organization works around the world to save lands and waters for nature and people.

The Nature Conservancy has preserved more than 119 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and they operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. With a foot in all 50 states and more than 30 countries, they protect habitats from grasslands to coral reefs in places all the way from Alaska to Zambia. Check Nature Conservancy out today.

Great idea

Earth Day is April 22, but you can celebrate all year long with clever craft activities!

One of our favorites is planting a simple herb garden. Just grab a grownup and a small planter. Decide on your three favorite herbs -- we recommend pizza toppers like basil and oregano, and mint for summer lemonade. Use a long rectangular planter and cluster the seeds in three areas so they grow together.

Start the seeds indoors now, and before you know it, you'll have a garden full of good taste. When the seedlings are sturdy in a few weeks, move the planter outside and enjoy your delicious greens!

Home Events
Busy Bees Helping Chicago

Sometimes it's hard to find volunteer opportunities that allow children under 10 to get involved. But in Chicago, there's a new organization that's creating a buzz.

The Honeycomb Project is a nonprofit group that creates and manages meaningful family volunteer projects for children to enjoy with their parents. Through activities from cleaning up a local beach to preparing breakfast at a shelter, Honeycomb's volunteer events help Chicago's kids learn about local issues like pollution, homelessness, literacy and more. And families get a chance to spend time together working for a common purpose.

Honeycomb partners with local organizations to create the very best family-friendly volunteer projects. They plan the logistics and buy supplies, even connecting parents with talking points and educational resources to start a discussion with kids and help them understand the issues and provide meaning to their actions.

Honeycomb's events are fun, safe and well-organized, making it easy for families to get out of the house and into the community. See what the buzz is all about at the Honeycomb Project.

Some Things You Can Do

There are always things you and your friends can do to help your neighborhood and the world. Just put your heads together and use your imagination, and you might be surprised by all that you can accomplish. Here is a list of some fun activities that can help make a difference:

  • Grab some trash bags and rubber gloves, and clean up your favorite local park.
  • Help plant a garden at your neighborhood senior center.
  • Set up a stand on your block to sell lemonade, homemade bookmarks, flower seedlings you've grown from seeds, or you name it!
  • Throw a pajama party and have your guests bring a new pair to donate to charity.
  • Invite your entire class at school to gather up gently worn shoes to donate to needy families.
What Are You Up To?

We'd love to hear what you and your friends are doing to help out. Let us know, so we can share your story with other readers. And you might win a check from our publisher for the charity of your choice! Send your email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and tell us about your party!

And the winner is . . .

Congratulations to our essay winner, Teresa, for creating Heart to Hand! We're excited to hear all about what she's doing and to share it here. Teresa wins a $100 check from our publisher, Blue Marlin, to go to the charity of her choice.

Teresa has been collecting donations to give to local homeless shelters where she lives for the past few years. Her mom picked up a copy of The Good Fun! Book, and Teresa tells us an idea blossomed! Here's what she wrote:

"I decided to start my own community service group and hold monthly parties/meetings with my friends – just like the book suggested. I named my group Heart to Hand because the donations come from our hearts to their hands. My partner and I come up with a monthly theme as suggested in the book (our first month was socks and toiletry baskets), and spend the entire month gathering donations. Then, we gather as many friends as we can and meet my house to spend the evening putting together and decorating the baskets or donations. We have drinks and snacks to make the night more fun. This month we are collecting hats, gloves and scarves. We even received our first money donations to buy items. It was so exciting."

One of Teresa's best friends, Sophia, works as her partner/organizer. And they recently had help from two other buddies, Leanne and Danielle. They were able to help 10 different families in two local homeless shelters.

"There were 14 children in one shelter, and 11 in the other. We learned that being homeless isn’t what most people think. The homeless families are just like you and I, with kids and parents. The residents of the shelters actually made us a handmade thank you card and everybody signed it. It feels so good to give things to people who need it, and all it took was a little planning (which we got from the book) and a lot of talking. Most people want to donate and help, but they just don’t know how.  So, by talking it up and getting our monthly theme out there, we are helping lots of families in need."

She certainly is. Hooray for Teresa and Heart to Hand! And a big thank you to everyone else who submitted their essays.

Spread the word to friends and classmates, and teachers too. And you might be able to win $100 for the charity of your choice!


MLK Day of Service

January 17, 2011, is MLK Day, a national day of service that recognizes one of America's greatest heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What will you do to help serve your community? What will you do to help make the world a better place?

This 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of MLK Day as a national holiday. And kids can do their part to help bring Dr. King’s dream to life. MLK Day of Service is a great time to zero in on an activity that benefits your neighborhood and the people who live there.

Talk to your teacher at school, your Troop leader, or your mom and dad, and brainstorm ideas for ways you can get involved in a service project. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Clean up the grounds of a local crisis shelter
  • Collect books to donate to a children's center
  • Sell hot cocoa to raise money for a local charity

You're sure to come up with something fun you can do together. And just think of all the good you can do when you and your family or friends join forces. Now that's people power!

Learn more about MLK Day of Service here.

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