Spreading SUGAR All Over Town!

We had quite the SUGAR Volunteers weekend! Our Kindness Day Event was full of excited volunteers who were eager to get to work doing their share of Random Acts of Kindness. Volunteers painted 75 bowls for Meals On Wheels, write letters to soldiers overseas who were receiving amazing packages from MOTS, make bookmarks to put in the bookbags filled with food for FELT kids, make toys for the kittens at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, paint rocks and make little goodie bags to keep spreading the kindness all over town. In addition to our own volunteers, we were able to share this day of kindness with two dozen kids staying in group foster care homes.
SUGAR Volunteers were also at Bayside Church participating in their Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack Monday. Over 30 volunteers came out with our group to be a part of this amazing event. The kids were able to help fill bags of food that would be shipped out all over the world. In our two hour shift, all of the volunteers at the Mobile Pack were able to make enough meals to feed 86 kids once a day for a whole year!
Thank you so much for making time to come to these events and helping kids learn that volunteering can be fun! 

Extra Special Thanks to Paradise Palms of Lakewood Ranch

Nick Boccaccio, of Paradise Palms  Lakewood Ranch, generously dropped off 200 rocks for us to use at our Kindness Day Event. The event is scheduled for this afternoon, which happens to be National Random Acts of Kindness Day. We are celebrating by giving our volunteers plenty of ways to do some random acts of kindness
– drop a kindness rock off at a friend’s house or leave it at a park for a stranger to discover
– make a goody bag for a friend
– Play with a new friend
– paint a bowl for Meals On Wheels
– make a kitten toy for a shelter pet
– make bookmarks to put on FELT’s backpacks
– write letters to soldiers serving overseas
and so much more!!!

Extra Special Thanks to Spotlight Amusements

We are so grateful to Spotlight Amusements for their generous contribution to our Kindness Day Event. When we decided to do an event to show some kindness to the kids who are staying in some local group homes, we brainstormed ways to make that happen. Melanie and Lazarus Fernandez have been so generous with their time and equipment to help make the event super fun. Thanks to them, our event will have an inflatable slide, games and even sno-cones!
In addition to having fun with new friends on the equipment Spotlight Amusements is providing, volunteers who participate in our event have the opportunity to do tons of things to celebrate National Random Act of Kindness Day:
-drop a kindness rock off at a friend’s house or leave it at a park for a stranger to discover
– make a goody bag for a friend
– Play in a kickball game with new friends
– paint a bowl for Meals On Wheels
– make a kitten toy for a shelter pet
– make bookmarks to put on FELT’s backpacks
– write letters to soldiers serving overseas
and so much more!!!

The event is scheduled for February 17th. Make sure to reserve your spot so we have enough supplies. Links to the sign up are on our website.

Fight For Fiona 5K Is Looking for Volunteers

We wanted to take a minute to highlight a local event that is working to raise funds to support the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation. Fiona is a ln 8 year old here in Bradenton who is bringing awareness to a disease she is battling. Her family has created the Fight For Fiona 5K that will take place on March 9th, and they would love some volunteers to help direct runners on the course, man water stations and help with the cleanup afterwards. If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, they would love to hear from you!! 

Kindness Event is This Weekend

Our next “in-house” event is this weekend and we have been working hard to get all the moving pieces lined up to make for a great event. Volunteers that participate will have lots of great ways to participate in National Random Acts of Kindness Day! From making cat toys for kittens at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue to learning some new techniques for painting rocks from the Sarasota Rocks group, there will be so many fun ways to give back!
We are thankful to have some dads on hand ready to grill out and make some yummy hot dog lunches to help us raise funds to support future events. We can’t wait to see you there! Sign up to join us by visiting our website.

MLK Service Project Done!

Several of our volunteers headed out to Manatee Charter School to participate in a service project that FAPA (Foster and Adopted Parent Association) initiated. Our volunteers were on hand to build bikes, fill gift bags and help make the event fun for lots of local FAPA families. 

Happy New Year!

2019 is here, and we are starting the year off on a great foot. This month, we have already completed three volunteer opportunities, logged 114 hours and supported three organizations with our efforts. 
Our SUGAR Cubes program volunteers headed to Daybreak Adult Day Center and worked on some crafts with the folks there. Another group did some sorting at Mothers Helping Mothers to get the store ready for the next set of customers. 
We also completed our Fresh Start Event last weekend where our volunteers filled laundry baskets with essential items for 31 women and their children leaving HOPE Family Services and transitioning to a home of her own. 

It’s Time for a SUGAR Shout-Out!

Extra special thanks to Learning Unlimited & Manatee Learning Academy for running a drive at their school for the supplies for our Fresh Start event that will be held in January. We are working closely with HOPE Family Services to help the families that go through their doors come out with some essentials when moving into their new home. Learning Unlimited and Manatee Learning Academy are so amazing that we are able to complete at least 30 baskets with a simple dinner, snacks, breakfast and pajamas for the children. This is the second time they have held a drive for us at their school and to see the generosity of the families that go there is absolutely amazing. We are looking forward to working with the school to host an event at their location in 2019! 

Getting our Kindness on

Our Kindness Challenge is in full swing. Finally! So sorry it took us a week to begin this, but I suppose the closer it is to the holidays, the more meaningful it becomes for our kids to realize how important kindness and giving is.

I know this is a total side track, but as I was teaching my Music and Movement class and we played a game to a song by the Imagination Movers, the line “It’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give” emphasized the point of our hot potato gift game. Did they get it? Probably not. But did I at least try and plant little seeds into their minds about how fun it is to give and share? You betcha!
Today is the third day and we would love to see you plant those seeds into your kids’ minds and participate alongside us. Email, comment on our posts or tag us as you do your challenge. Start today or even head back and see what our posts were for the last few days and start now with day one!
Day 3 suggest you take time to Feed The Birds. Make a bird feeder, put out some birdseed or take some food to a local pond and feed the ducks. Send some good vibes out to our feathery friends on these wintery Florida days!
I’ll be subbing in a VPK class today and am hoping to get all the kids involved with today’s kindness challenge by helping me make some bird feeders. Super simple recipe:

Nut-Free Bird Feeder

1 packet unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup bird seed
wax paper (parchment paper or silicone mat will do)
cookie cutters or silicone cupcake liners
string and needle

Mix 1 packet of unflavored gelatin and 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir until it is dissolved Add 3/4 cup of bird seed and mix it so the gelatin is well incorporated. Spoon the seed mixture into cookie cutters resting on the wax paper. Let the molds rest and harden for a couple of hours, or speed it up by using your refrigerator. Once hardened, pop them out of the cookie cutter molds and then thread some string through in order to hang it!

Spreading Sunshine at Beneva Lakes

Last weekend our SUGAR Volunteers visited Beneva Lakes Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. We had a small group of volunteers out to play games and brighten the day of some of our senior citizens. The conversations I heard as I walked around the room were amazing. The kids were learning about their new friends, playing games like catch and even learning some tricks and new hand claps. My favorite moment was when one of the residents was speaking with a mother and daughter about the holidays and the duo asked about his grandkids. He said “I don’t get to see them that much, but this makes up for it”. That is precisely our hope and for him to verbalize that we were making a difference in his day means we did our part.