Thursday, March 31, 2011
Earth Day coming up on April 22, teen-founded Second Chance Toys has again launched a used toy drive for kids in need. Bring fully functional plastic toys to one of their dropoff locations in New York, New Jersey, Philly or Chicago. Join a cause that has saved more than 65,000 toys from landfills & sweetened kids' lives with new-to-them playthings.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wellspring Family Services -- which addresses the interlocking issues of mental health challenges, domestic violence, and homelessness -- is offering area kids a chance to create change by collecting change. Wellspring's Kids Helping Kids coin drive runs through September 1, 2011, and even gives entrants a chance to win their own original song by acclaimed kids' artist Caspar Babypants -- aka Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Teacher-recommended students who have a solid academic record and are known as good role models can trade study hall time for a chance to work with their special-needs peers twice a week, facilitated by Spiel and a social worker. Volunteers go through a two-hour training, and the group focuses on trust and relationship building before tackling specific skills. "Special education students [are] self-conscious and ... don't like to show their weakness," Spiel told Plainfield Patch. "We spend a lot of time to develop trust."
Once a month, the students kick back together at Hang Time Club, which Spiel personally funds to give the special-education students a chance to snack, play games, and just enjoy people outside of their families.
A comment from peer helper Myles Walters is filled with the kind of natural sensitivity and respect that teens can bring to their peers with challenges: "I understand these kids are just like us, but they may not know these things."
The benefits go both ways. "We are all clicking." Walters added. "It's a joyful time."