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. 

Big Cat Habitat has a Fairy Garden

There is a new feature at Big Cat Habitat thanks to our SUGAR Volunteers. Over 20 volunteers helped to install a fairy garden! They assembled some fairy houses and placed them in a small area near the Liger’s cage. Volunteers also took the time to pretty up the earth around the fairy homes, distribute some gorgeous rocks that Sarasota Rocks painted, and tidy up some hanging baskets from the last event we did here. It was a great morning, and we are so glad many of you could participate in this fun beautification project!

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Last Friday our SUGAR Volunteers got together outside of Detwiler’s for a night of bell-ringing and wow, did they bring the holiday cheer! There was singing, dancing, lots of ringing bells and even some handmade thank you notes that were given to every person who dropped a donation into the red kettle. This was a great way to start the season!

Kindness Challenge

Our Kindness Challenge is a way to get the whole family involved in Giving Tuesday. With a donation of $5.00, you’ll receive a our seven-day challenge – each day has a new way to show kindness to others.
Perhaps this interactive way to participate in Giving Tuesday will even become a tradition for your family! Sign up to be a challenge participant here!

These Girl Scouts are some of our amazing volunteers

Members of Girl Scout Troop 701 took some time after our Foster Care event to tell us why they love volunteering with SUGAR Volunteers. It’s always a joy to see their smiling faces and passion for giving. They never come empty-handed to an event. You can always count on them to have a donation ready for the event they are participating in. Keep being you, girls!! Check out their interview!

SUGAR Shout-Out to Anna

We couldn’t be more proud of one of our SUGAR Volunteers. Anna made the choice to request donations for SUGAR rather than accept birthday gifts at her birthday party. She raised $167.00!! Anna, you are what your teachers call a world-changer. We are so honored that you decided to give back to the organization you volunteer with! Your donation will help us make an event on whatever cause you are most passionate about. Be sure to let us know what you’d like to see us do in 2019!!
Big hugs and kisses!!
– Ali, Victoria and Stefanie

New Member of the Student Team – Kyle

Hi everyone,

My name is Kyle Turgeon, and I am one of the new members of the student team. I am currently 16 years old and in 11th grade at NewGate, which is a Montessori School. As part of the team, with help from my partners, we will be thinking of and planning events for all of the Sugar Volunteers to participate in. So far, I have helped out and participated in a few of the events and planned a large portion of the Foster Care Awareness Event with my partners. We will definitely have a lot more to add to future events as well!

New Member of the Student Team – Maria

Hi, my name is Maria Andrade. I’m an exchange student from Mexico, and I’m here for a year at NewGate School. I am one of the new members in the Sugar Student Team.  One my favorite things (and hopefully my future career) is graphic design. With SUGAR Volunteers I can use and develop those skills through making posts on social media and the website.  That’s just one of the reasons I could not be more excited to join the Sugar Team. I’m sure this opportunity is going to be a great experience for me to grow as a person, give, and help others!