Random Act of Kid-ness: Re-Gifting to Children in Need

In light of the tragedy in Connecticut this morning, we think it is more appropriate than ever for our weekly Random Act of Kid-ness that highlights the kindness of humanity.

This week’s RAK is another from generationOn and Hasbro’s “Be a Joy Maker” campaign. We want to highlight Raymond, who submitted this act of kindness:

“At the age of 4, I was diagnosed with a rare hp disease that left me in a double leg brace for two years. Feeling fortunate that my illness was not life threatening, I decided that I had to do something for the kids that I left behind in the hospital. So I took all my christmas gifts and returned to the hospital I spent time in and to uplift the spirits of the kids that were not coming home for the holidays. After I saw the joy on the faces of the kids, I decided to continue doing this work. I went door to door asking friends, family and neighbors for donations so I can purchase new toys for the sick kids. My efforts became so popular that we had to form a foundation.”

Raymond’s generosity is so inspiring, especially in times of tragedy. How do you show kindness to those in your community?

We also want to congratulate Hasbro and generationOn for topping their 100,000 goal for acts of service and donated toys! With a week to go! 

Random Act of Kid-ness: Adventure generationOn Kids Care Club

Continuing with our support of Hasbro’s “Be a Joy Maker” campaign, this week’s Random Act of Kid-ness is one submitted to the campaign and comes to us from St. Louis, MO. 4th and 5th grade students in the Adventure generationOn Kids Care Club operated and facilitated a penny drive that raised $230.00. With the money, the students bought toys to donate to the Toys for Tots Foundation. Not only is this an incredible act of kindness, but it also taught the students about the value of a dollar.


We encourage you to read more of the entries on the Joy Makers Wall and even submit your own act of kindness!

Again, please share with the Zimmer what you’ve done! While we encourage selfless acts, we also think that we can inspire each other! Any story we hear just might be featured in our next Random Act of Kid-ness post!

Random Act of Kid-ness: Joy Maker of the Week- Gotta Have Sole

Earlier this week, our Museum Director Julee Brooks wrote a blog post about the power of spreading joy this holiday season and throughout the year. In her post, Julee highlighted Hasbro’s “Be a Joy Maker” campaign, in which the company invites children to share how they are giving back this holiday season; for every young person caring, sharing and giving back to their community, Hasbro will donate a toy to Toys for Tots.

This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Rhode Island and is Hasbro’s Joy Maker of the week, Nicholas Lowinger. In 2010 as part of his Bar Mitzvah community service project, Nicholas started the Gotta Have Sole Foundation (watch this video!), an organization that donates new shoes to homeless children living in shelters. Since he started, Nicholas has donated new footwear to over 5,200 children in homeless shelters in 12 states throughout the United States. He says:

“It has always been my hope that the children will feel more confident about themselves because they have new shoes to call their own and that they will have the same opportunities afforded to them as their peers.”

What a wonderful and selfless act! You can find out more about the foundation and how you, too, can donate shoes here.

Again, please share with the Zimmer what you’ve done! While we encourage selfless acts, we also think that we can inspire each other! Any story we hear just might be featured in our next Random Act of Kid-ness post!

Spread Light. Give Love. Make Joy. : A Special Blog Post from Our Museum Director

Whether you and your family celebrated Diwali last week or are now making preparations for Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, this is a time of year where people around the world seek ways to bring light to the darkness of winter. While many of us will be lighting candles, exchanging gifts and enjoying sweet treats, we at the Zimmer Children’s Museum encourage families to carve out some time (and a bit of your budget) to be Joy Makers outside the walls of our own houses.

As parents, you have the brightest source of light there is. Kids! So as we approach the shortest day of the year, here’s our challenge to you: use your children. To spread light, give love and make joy, that is. 🙂

On Thanksgiving morning, I was out with my own 2 year-old son on a neighborhood walk. He was so excited that the day had arrived that he wished (okay, nearly accosted) every person we passed with “Happy Thanksgiving!” Without fail, he got responses. Delighted, grateful responses. I didn’t know any of those people we met that day. I don’t know if any of them were really moved by his sweet smiling face, but I also don’t know that they weren’t. Maybe someone was spending the holiday alone and needed that excited reception that so many of us look forward to on holidays. Maybe he helped someone to just stop, put down their phone and have a real-life human connection. Maybe. Or maybe not. But what I do know is he only made their days better even if in the smallest way. And that it made him so happy! Win win.

Our friends at Hasbro have a great catalog of ideas for you and your family to be Joy Makers this season. Whether the recipient is a neighbor, a stranger, a soldier or even a furry friend, what’s important is that our children know that being a Joy Maker need neither be expensive nor difficult. And that the return is always great for the giver. And thanks to Hasbro, this year the return is even greater because for every act of giving entered on their website, Hasbro will donate a toy this holiday season to a deserving child. Win win win.

So maybe this year, instead of a gift exchange, have each person/family bring $10. When they arrive tell them they have 30 minutes to spend that on a good deed for someone who isn’t expecting it. No limits. No rules. Just make someone’s day brighter. Then reconvene for those sweet treats and share your stories.

Or pick a project and ask families you know to participate. Collect gently used clothing or canned goods to donate. Send small stuffed animals to deployed soldiers to give to children as peace offerings. Play games at a senior center. On just stand on the corner and give compliments. The possibilities are endless.

And like anything, kindness takes practice but can develop into a habit. There’s no better time to start than today.

With Joy,

Julee Brooks

Museum Director

Zimmer Children’s Museum

PS — Please share with the Zimmer what you’ve done! While we encourage selfless acts, we also think that we can inspire each other!

Random Act of Kid-ness: Bringing Halloween to Hospitalized Kids

This week’s Halloween-themed Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from San Bruno, CA, where 6 year old Nico Castro bought costumes and candy for his fellow hospital patients so that they could celebrate Halloween. Nico is battling brain cancer, but his doctor told him he could go out trick or treating on Halloween. Nico’s mom said:

“Even though he’s worse off then some of these other kids in the hospital, he’s worried about them and, oh, they can’t go trick or treating and oh they can’t get candy.”

Nico’s family even started a costume drive in their community, and they have received over 60 donated costumes for the children in the hospital.

We think this is an incredible act of kid-ness and are inspired by Nico’s desire to bring joy to his friends during his favorite holiday.

Read more and watch a very moving video about the story here.

Random Act of Kid-ness: Soldier for a Soldier

This week’s Random Act of Kid-ness comes to us from Duxbury, MA, where 9 year old Brendan Haas started a campaign called Soldier for a Soldier to give a gift to a deserving family.

Brendan decided he wanted to trade one of his toy soldiers for a trip to Disney World for a family of a fallen soldier. He started the trades in February, and the trades got bigger, until he eventually got what he was looking for: tickets to Disney World including air fare, a stay at the Disney Villas, and almost $900 in Disney gift certificates. On Memorial Day, he chose a family at random to receive the gift and delivered it in person.

What a great way to celebrate Memorial Day! To read more about Brendan and his Soldier for a Soldier campaign, click here.

The Zimmer Children’s Museum is a proud participant of Blue Star Museums, a program that offers free admission to museums for all active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Blue Star Museums is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and hundreds of museums across the country.