"Watching my children and their peers volunteer in our community and beyond has been wonderful. These kids have huge hearts and they are learning at an early age to pay it forward. A few of us had been looking for ways to get our kids involved and the generationOn Kids Care Club program is the perfect match!" -- Erin Hornyak, Longmeadow Kids Care Club Facilitator
Erin Hornyak, Facilitator
Longmeadow Kids Care Club
The Longmeadow Kids Care Club in Longmeadow, MA was started in 2011 by four co-chair club facilitators -- Erin Hornyak, Melissa Besse, Candice Healy, Terri Bassett and Jenna Goodman. The Club sponsored two Read-a-thons. The first one took place in honor of their elementary school principal. The kids raised funds for the LIVESTRONG Foundation by gathering pledges from friends and family. The next Kids Care Club Read-A-Thon raised funds for the Red Cross to provide emergency relief and long term shelter to kids and their families who were affected by the devasting tornatos in Springfield, MA. The kids raised a total of $1,455!
The children also go to the Springfield Soup Kitchen with their parents to help serve and clean up for the 80 people, on average, who come there for dinner. "We are just so happy to help!"
Longmeadow Kids Care Club took part in 26 Random Acts of Kindness. This idea was originally launched by NBC anchor, Ann Curry, in honor and memory of the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. It is a pure and simple pleas for everyone to pull off 26 good deeds to make the world a better place. Everyone in the Club plus the facilitators were invited to participate.
Every month the Longmeadow Kids Care Club visits the Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS) nursing home in Longmeadow to assist with craft projects on Wednesdays or Bingo on Sundays.
A director from the JGS said, "My Sunday volunteer who runs Bingo said that the kids were great and it just so happened that they had a big crowd and most of the regular volunteers who come on Sundays did not show up. He said they would have been in trouble if the Kids Care Club wasn't there to help. The staff on the units were also very thankful to have the kids there to help transport residents by wheelchairs to the Bingo game. You have no idea how much help that was for them, so please let them know how much their help was appreciated by everyone here."
Operation Hope Tote - Hope to Hold On To was another meaningful project that the Longmeadow kids worked on. They filled purple Hope Tote bags with daily essentials such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo and other necessities. These were distributed to homeless individuals and poor families via the Mission's Give-Away Center and Operation SONshine mobile outreach program. Hope Tote items help the homeless clean up on the outside and reach for the hope that comes inside the little bag, letting them know that someone cares.
Longmeadow Kids Care Club kid's comments include:
"I've learned a lot about helping people since I joined Kids Care Club."
"We did an activity that they really liked and we really liked" -referring to a bowling game at the nursing home.
Future plans for the Longmeadow Kids Care Club includes an Alex's Lemonade Stand event on June 7, 8, and 9th. They also participate in the town park clean-up in both spring and fall. They look forward to a continuing partnership and added shared service activities with the Boys and Girls Club in Springfield.
We, at generationOn Kids Care Club, commend the Longmeadow Kids Care Club and their facilitators for all they have done to reach out and help others in their community. Their kind efforts and compassion have made and will continue to make a big difference. We thank you all.