Two little volunteers with big plans to help their community have won funding to put their ideas into practice.
Third grader Leo Caplan and second grader Kendall Walls, both of Short Hills, won “The Littlest Volunteer Contest” organized by the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills. They were awarded $100 each for their ideas to the question “What would you do to better your community?”
The judges of the competition were impressed by Leo’s plan “Rainbows and Smiles” which will incorporate making Rainbow Loom bracelets in addition to “rainbow” themed baked goods and selling both items to raise money for the Millburn Fire and Police Departments. The goal is to donate $500 to the Millburn Fire and Police Departments as a “thank you” for keeping residents safe. As Leo puts it, “Do you know what an upside rainbow is? A smile!”
Glenwood Elementary student Kendall Walls is planning to utilize her prize money towards the purchase of knitting supplies, so she can knit scarves, hats and mittens and donate them to those in need for next winter. Kendall is calling to action her group of friends that she enjoys knitting with to make this a real community effort! The girls will be knitting over the next few months, in order to deliver the cold weather items for next winter.
Kendall is following in her mother’s footsteps and learning about volunteerism early! Her mom, Kim Walls, is an active member of JLOSH.
Presenting the prizes at a special ceremony at the Short Hills Hilton, JLOSH President Sara D’Andrea praised both winners for their outstanding ideas.
"These young little volunteers have such great ideas and such big hearts for wanting to help the community. They already model the spirit of voluntarism that we are trying to encourage through our Littlest Volunteers program. We are certainly inspired by them and hope that they will continue to inspire others to give back to the community.”
Previous contest winners have included a bus safety program and a baked goods fundraiser to raise money for the Community Food Bank.
The contest is part of a larger program organized by JLOSH that introduces elementary school age children to the concept of volunteerism through the award-winning book, The LittlestVolunteers, written by JLOSH member Danielle Speckhart and published by JLOSH, with a CD read by actress/singer Raven-Symone. The aim of the Littlest Volunteers program is to teach the values and rewards of volunteering in a fun way that children can understand and enjoy.
Studies show that exposure to volunteering at an early age can teach important life skills, improve confidence, promote healthy lifestyle choices and can lead to a life-long commitment to volunteering.
The Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills, Inc. is an organization of women developed as civic and community leaders creating lasting community impact. JLOSH provides service to East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Milburn, Orange, Short Hills, South Orange, Springfield and West Orange, and reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. To learn more about JLOSH, visit jlosh.org or find them on Facebook.