When does a hat become more than a gift
and become a symbol of hope?
Recently, Youth Together, an
organization started by Kyle Freas in 2002 to teach children
about community service banded with Plano West Senior High
HOSA, Vines High School and Plano Senior High NHS to run
change drives to help provide hats to children with cancer.
These hats are autographed by athletes, entertainers and
another notables to children who have lost their hair due to
medical treatment. Thousands of celebrities have supported
this program started by Dr. Stephen Heinrich in New Orleans
and entertainers such as Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Peyton
Manning, Lance Armstrong, Beyonce Knowles and Garth Brooks are
just a few who have participated. Dr. Heinrich was looking for
a way to treat kids spirits as well as their bodies like Patch
Adams. After seeing the delight after giving a patient a cap
signed by a New Orleans coach, Caps for Kids was born. Plano
teens have generously donated to allow these kids with life
threatening illnesses to receive a hat with their choice of
autograph from their favorite celebrity. We raised over a
$1000 to help with obtaining these hats.
Youth Together has 10 different projects that PTA’s, student
councils, and various leadership groups can get involved in to
teach their children about helping their community. It is a
proven fact that youth that are involved in their community
while they are young will continue that process as adults. If
you are interested in being involved in teaching kids
community service, please contact Youth Together/Kyle Freas at
collect “Tees “Fore’ Our Troops
Elementary has raised over $9,000 for the schools charity,
Kidds Kids. This charity is a passion for our school as it
helps send terminally ill children on a trip of a life time to
Disney World!! Marion is helping to make a difference in the
lives of these children so they can enjoy 5 days of joy &
excitement at a very Magical Place!!
The fund raising events includes sales of T-Shirts,Yo-Yo's, &
suckers. Also, teacher challenges that includes "Pie in the
Face", "Kiss a Pig", & the best, the "Teacher Talent Show"
along with a walk-a-thon for the 6th graders & a silent
Marion families have been awesome & their support enriches the
lives of our children by teaching them at a very young age the
gift of giving & knowing the power of a loving community.
www.kiddskids.com to learn more about this dynamic charity
that has been a leader in helping kids help KID
Marion Elementary funds the fun for Kidds
the last few weeks of school, Coppell Middle School West
National Junior Honor Society sponsored “Tees ‘Fore’ for
Troops,” a drive to collect golf balls and golf accessories
for our troops in Iraq. Our ESL students took the time to
write messages on each golf ball for added inspiration. With
the help of Jason and Lisa Taylor and Fore Our Troops, these
golf balls will be shipped to our brave women and men in Iraq.
Extra thanks go to Edwin Watts Golf for donating many golf
balls and clubs!
Put Some Fun in Your
Students at a high school in
suburban Chicago recently received some great publicity for a
fundraiser they held to give some needy families a better
Rather than holding something boring like a car wash, they got
the principal to agree to take pies in the face for charity.
Students bought tickets for the honor of hitting the principal
in the face with whipped cream pies.
More than 200 students lined up to pay for the privilege. It
not only raised money, it raised student morale. And needless
to say, the local media ate it up!
Birthday Gifts go to
I would like to share with you
what I did on my 10th birthday. My birthday is in September,
and I really wanted to have a big swim party. I wanted to
invite all of my fourth grade class plus other friends to
swim, play games, hula hoop, limbo and dance with the DJ. I
would invite 75 people.
My Mom and Dad said that this sounded like fun but that we
should ask that nobody brings gifts because that was just too
much, and I did not need any more things! I was really bummed.
I like receiving birthday gifts! I wasn’t sure that I liked
this idea, but I really wanted to have the swim party.
Then, my Mom and Dad had a suggestion. They would agree to
have the swim party if I would think about having everybody
bring an unwrapped toy to my party, and then I would give them
to the kids staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas. I
asked my Mom and Dad if that meant that I would not receive
any gifts on my birthday. They told me that my family and best
friends would give me gifts. This started to sound like a good
So, we began planning my party. I was so excited. I put on the
invitation to bring an unwrapped toy for the kids at the
Ronald McDonald House.
The day of the party came. It was so fun to see all of the
toys and games that my friends brought. They were for all
I had the best time at my party and really felt good about
what I had decided to do with the gifts. It was a hard
decision for me, but after having so much fun at my party, I
realized I had made the right decision.
About a week later, my Mom and Dad took me and all of the
gifts to the Ronald McDonald House. They gave us a tour of the
house. I met a little girl that was 3 years old who had just
had open heart surgery. She was amazed at the carts of toys
that I had brought to the house. There was a photographer
there taking some pictures. He was so funny. He loaded me up
with a ton a gifts and took a picture. I couldn’t believe how
many toys I was giving to the Ronald McDonald House. They told
me that these toys would be given to kids staying at the house
on birthdays and special occasions or just to make them feel a
little better. I felt so good about what I was doing.
My Mom volunteers a lot at the Ronald McDonald House. I can’t
wait to help out at the Ronald McDonald House one day too! My
birthday ended up making a difference in so many kids’ lives.
Abigail, Age 10
To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas please
Service is an Important Part of an Episcopal School Education
Please visit ESD at
At the Episcopal School of
Dallas, as part of their 100th day of school the kindergarten
class collect supplies for St. Simon’s After School Program.
The students bring 100 of each item such as scissors, pencils,
erasers, and crayon boxes. On the hundredth day of school they
use the supplies to count, play math games and enjoy the
accomplishment of attending 100 days of school. Then, a member
of the board of St. Simon’s School comes and speaks to the
children and thanks them for their efforts.
For more information about St. Simon’s go to,
The Middle School students adopt a group of senior citizens
from the West Dallas Multipurpose Center. Once a month, we
invite 14 seniors to ESD for lunch. They always come to lunch
and a group of students we call the "Senior Ambassadors" serve
as their hosts and hostesses. They decorate lunch tables for
them, serve their food and drinks, and escort them around the
school. Following lunch, the seniors always attend a school
event such as a school play, an English class where they
listen to stories the children have written, or even a PE
class where they participate in a walk-a-thon.
"House of Cans" Finds Home at the North Texas Food Bank
Posted by Dallasjeni Feb 2, 2008 5:27 PM
Monica 8th graders are involved in a month-long project in
observance of Homeless Awareness Month. The student council
teamed up with 8th grade social justice teams to plan and
execute a fundraiser culminating to a ribbon-cutting ceremony
held on Monday, January 28th that unveiled a 'house'
constructed from canned goods which was donated to the North
Texas Food Bank. Principal Pat Dulac did the honors of cutting
the red ribbon in front of two school assemblies. After the
ceremony, the students loaded the cans into the NTFB truck.
Families from St. Monica
to the can drive throughout January. A fundraiser called
'Buck-a-Jean Day' on January 18th raised an additional $533.00
which was also used to buy cans for the drive. In total, 8,000
cans, plus $2,000 cash was raised by the dedicated students
which will provide 20,000 meals for those in need in North
27 Dresses for
Posted by Debra Hunter Johnson Jan 28, 2008
Johnson, an 8th grader at The Hockaday School decided to
combine her 14th birthday celebration with helping the
community. Last Saturday, January 26, Blair held a "27
Dresses" party and asked her friends to join her to see the
movie "27 Dresses" and in lieu of gifts, she asked everyone to
help her collect 27 gently used dresses to donate to Promise
House, a Dallas shelter. Blair and friends surpassed the goal
and collected 35 beautiful dresses and outfits that they hope
will make other teens feel special when they wear them.
And..everyone had a great time in the process! A big thanks to
Emily, Rachel, Lexi, Marisa, Meghan, Nidia, Lily, Holly, Zoe,
Alycia, Caroline, Julianna, Angelika and Dillon who donated
Master Art of Giving
The Dallas Morning News
Saturday, December, 22, 2007
Boys master art of giving
08:07 PM CST on Friday, December 21, 2007
Sometimes my best work consists of getting out of the way and
letting others have their say.
And when someone forwarded me Janie Mean's e-mail, I knew this
was one of those cases.
I'll only preface her story with some background. Janie is
a 69-year-old Dallas resident who first volunteered at
Children's Medical Center as a candy striper back in the '50s.
Years later, when her nest began to empty, Janie returned
as a volunteer – just without the peppermint stripes. She
still loves it, for reasons she had to put into an e-mail to
friends this week:
Something happened to me last week that is one of the best
Christmas stories I can ever tell.
Some of you know that I have volunteered at Children's
Medical Center for over 20 years. I love working in the
playrooms with the kids, and when there is a request for a
tour for elementary children, I get to do it!
I had a tour scheduled for last week, and this is what I
was told: 12 boys, ages 6 to 12, from a boys school, wanting
to bring gifts for the sick children that they would like to
The teachers had requested a tour so the boys could
appreciate more about where their gifts were going.
I got to the main door of the hospital at the same time the
school van pulled up. I watched 12 young boys jumping out,
each holding a toy in their hands.
Some looked very serious, some had smiles, some were kinda'
puzzled over their whereabouts. They were clean and very
neatly dressed, but not a hint of where they were from.
We did all the things I always do on a tour, and they asked
some good questions and made some thoughtful comments.
As we were walking down one of the wide halls, a beautiful
princess approached. She was dressed in an elegant ball gown,
and the boys seemed mystified at her appearance and her smile.
We stood in awe as she walked past us. I knew that she was
just one of the many "characters" who come to Children's to
spend time with patients.
After she had gone on by, we continued our tour. Very
shortly the princess came hurrying up to us with a tote bag
she had gotten from one of her helpers.
It was full of toys, and she said she wanted to give each of
the boys a new toy. As you can imagine, the boys just stood
there, smiling and saying polite and quiet thank yous. I knew
from the looks on their faces they were in almost total
They were all saying "We came to give our gifts away and
someone we don't know is giving us gifts, too!"
What a great story, huh? Well, it's not over.
We continued on the tour for several more minutes when one
of the older boys whispered something to the lead teacher. She
hugged him tightly and said, "That is the nicest idea! Let's
ask Miss Janie!"
This precious child wanted to give his new toy away to a
patient. Some of the other boys agreed immediately. I was
So we started looking for patients in the hall on their way
to a procedure or taking a much needed break. I have to tell
you that I noticed one boy putting his new toy in his coat
pocket, like he wasn't quite sure he wanted to part with it.
Within several minutes, eight of the new gifts had new
owners. I took the remaining four boys into the radiology
waiting room, and they quickly found new owners for their
toys. You guessed it – our little friend pulled his out of his
coat pocket and happily participated!
I said goodbye to them a bit later, and it was only after
they had left the hospital that I found out more about them.
They live at a nonprofit boys ranch two hours or so from
Dallas that takes in high-risk boys who are either from Child
Protective Services or on probation.
The money that was used to purchase the gifts was earned by
the boys. They had made candy apples in their social skills
class at Halloween and sold them to the faculty and
administration. They knew they were going to use the money to
fund a service project.
And so this is my Christmas story for you: A group of
precious – and by our standards, underprivileged – young boys
who gave of themselves for others. Not once, but twice. ...
Doing something for total strangers, not expecting anything in
return, and being happy about their day.
And all God's people say AMEN!
Bikes Repaired for Kids Christmas Gifts
Imagine the excitement of receiving your very own bike for
Christmas. That is the emotion of 100 San Antonio children,
thanks to Clayton Lillard and his backyard crew. Every holiday
season Clayton and his group gather to repair bikes for
children in need. For the past 8 years they have successfully
given away over 900 new and used bikes to children and the
Click here to check out Clayton’s Backyard Crew webpage.
Gifts for Others
Meet Katherine, a teenage girl who wanted to help abused and
neglected children. She knew her mom was active with Community
Partners of Dallas (CPD) so she chose to help this agency. It
was the holiday season and the annual toy drive was in full
swing with a goal to provide two gifts to nearly 4,500
children. CPD needed volunteers to help shop for gifts for
specific children's wishes using money that was already
Katherine loved to shop already and was delighted to learn
that she could do something she loves while helping others.
She agreed to help match 25 wishes and went to Target ready to
shop. She learned all about age appropriate toys, budgeting
and the diversity of interests in her children's wishes. It
was a fabulous time and she could picture the faces of the
children as she selected their gifts with the greatest of
care. In a way she felt a bit like Santa and it really
inspired her holiday cheer.
When she went to checkout, she was so moved that she decided
to use the money she had been saving up to buy the latest
gaming system in order to pay for all the gifts she has spent
hours selecting. This was a truly selfless gift. Not only did
Katherine feel wonderful about volunteering- she felt great
about seeing how her money she had been saving could make such
a big impact in so many lives. The fact that
Katherine chose to use her money also helped free up
additional dollars to help serve even more kids.
The children who received those gifts were left with a
reminder that someone cares about them and they felt very
special. Katherine was left with a feeling of joy and kindness
and a great sense of accomplishment. What a wonderful way to
www.CommunityPartnersDallas.org to learn more!
Community Partners of Dallas is a non-profit organization
dedicated to ensuring safety and restoring dignity and hope to
abused and neglected children by providing resources and
support to the caseworkers of Dallas
County Child Protective Services.
Hannah, a “Generous Kid” who leads by example, wants everyone
to know that once you get the giving feeling going, you’ll
never want to stop!!!
When she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of
six, her parents decided to “make lemonade out of lemons.”
They immediately got involved in the Juvenile Diabetes
Research Foundation, and Hannah led the way.
Hannah became the face of the disease that no child should
have in his or her life. She has gone to company meetings
where they were raising money for diabetes to talk about what
she and her family have to go through every day: multiple
blood tests, daily insulin injections, and middle-of-the-night
blood checks. Hannah’s presence makes the suffering caused by
Juvenile Diabetes real to the audience. It touches their
hearts, and generous giving is the result.
She and her family organize a team every year in conjunction
with the national “Walk for the Cure” to raise awareness and
money for juvenile diabetes. Why? “Because it helps everyone,
not just me.” And, as with most everything Hannah and her
family do, they make it fun. Each year a new T-shirt is
created: Hannah’s Bananas. Hannah’s Heroes, and Hannah’s
Hippies are just a few. Thousands of dollars are raised, and
neighbors, families, and friends get to join together and
give, spreading hope to many families.
Having diabetes helped Hannah learn the habit of giving early,
and now what Hannah knows for sure is that giving is great,
especially when you are passionate about the project!
Another example of Hannah’s giving:
The Shoe Box Drive for orphans done through her church. Her
passion for this charity? Because her bother is adopted, she
knows there are good kids orphanages that might miss
Christmas. She and each of her family members fill shoes boxes
with items for kids. Hannah especially likes filling hers with
toys, books, pajamas, and coloring books. Many of those items
are bought with her own money. “Praying over the box before it
goes to the kids is a way of giving too.”
Trinity Christian Academy
Collect over 1,000 Boxes for Operation Christmas Child
Fourth graders at Trinity Christian Academy have been busy
this month collecting shoeboxes, but these aren’t your average
shoeboxes. These are Operation Christmas Child boxes, filled
with gifts and packed with love.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a ministry of the Christian
organization Samaritan’s Purse. The mission of OCC is to
provide gifts of love and the message of the Gospel to
children in desperate situations around the world through
gift-filled shoeboxes. The boxes are filled with treasures,
such as small toys, school supplies, stickers, and hard candy,
along with personal notes from the donors.
Operation Christmas Child is the fourth grade mission project
at TCA. Students make signs, stand in car pool lines, and
visit all the Lower School classrooms to encourage everyone to
fill boxes and donate to OCC. TCA has been working with the
OCC program for over ten years, and this year proved to be
record setting. TCA students collected over 1,000 boxes!
“It’s a wonderful program,” said Lower School Assistant Head
Susan Pendleton. “It helps students take the focus off
themselves and their wants and see someone else’s needs.
Something as simple as a rubber bouncy ball that we would
normally throw away is a treasure to these kids around the
world who have nothing. Operation Christmas Child allows us to
serve others and be a blessing to them.”
Posted by J. Konstans Nov 28, 2007 3:13 PM
This article appeared in:
Neighborsgo, North Dallas
December 29, 2007