As an educator and mom of four young children, I feel that serving others and giving back is essential for building good character and leadership skills. For years I tried to find places that my husband and I could volunteer with our children, but we were often turned away because the kids didn’t meet the organization’s age requirement. I began creating our own opportunities to give back and the more we did, the happier and more confident we all were. I saw my children looking for ways to help on their own; going out of their way to make things easier for others and recognizing when someone was sad or left out and may need some cheering up.
Our friends and their families began joining us and our projects became more impactful and more fun! I would talk to my middle school students about what we were doing and some of them asked to join. Kindness was spreading like wildfire! These children were growing and becoming leaders right before my eyes. In January of 2019, we officially became Move Mountains Inc., a 501c3 organization that focuses on children and families serving the community and gaining leadership skills to change the world!
Since January we have visited assisted living centers and had game and craft days with the residents, gone to the local animal shelter with supplies and cash donations, held a Hoagies for Heroes event for our first responders where we provided lunch and snacks and brought them plaques for their walls, made blankets for Project Linus, thrown a fundraiser for the local children’s hospital and delivered over 75 new toys to them, put together a dozen new suitcases filled with supplies for local children in foster care, sponsored a youth basketball team for teens that couldn’t afford the registration fee, sent packages overseas to local service members who are deployed, and so much more! Our youngest volunteer is 3 and our oldest is 16. Most events bring out 15-40 children and their families and we do this at least once a week. These kids are so hardworking and willing to give. They brighten our community more than I ever could have imagined.
We have big things happening right now! After my 14th year of teaching, I resigned in June and I’m going to be working Move Mountains fulltime. We have become partners with our local school district and will be bringing “Mini Movers” clubs to our city’s elementary schools and mentoring programs to the middle schools and high school. We have improved our Patriot Packages program and will make this a monthly event. Possibly the biggest undertaking is Project RAE. Project RAE (Rest and Enjoy) was inspired by my dear friend Rachel. She’s a mom of two, wife of a local firefighter and was diagnosed nearly two years ago with stage 4 colon cancer. The cancer spread quickly, and she’s gone through numerous surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. She’s a fighter, but her family’s greatest need aside from financial assistance, has been help with meals. This is where Project RAE comes in. We now make homemade, family sized meals that are oven or freezer ready. Each month, families who are affected by illnesses such as cancer, are welcome to come and pick up extra meals to help get them through the month.
We have so much going on, so many people are being inspired by our Move Mountains children, and we are truly making our community a better place. Each month more children learn the importance of giving back and get that warm and fuzzy feeling from knowing that they have helped someone. These children are becoming civic minded leaders! They are changing their schools, playgrounds, sports fields, churches, camps and more. These amazing kids are our future, and for that, we are blessed! Please support them in any way you can!
We believe that children can change the world!
Focusing on children and families serving their community while gaining leadership skills to change their community!
Introducing children to community service at a young age helps build empathy, promotes teamwork, builds family relationships and developes leaders.