Our 5th Annual Day of Giving on March 5 went down in Community Heroes history books as another grand success! What felt the same as in years past? The electric charge in the air, the sense of purpose, the infectious excitement as the community joined together to serve was as awesome, wholesome and fun as ever.

What was different this year? Almost all of the projects were LED by our wonderful, compassionate and very capable youth! Adults (happily) took a back seat, passing the baton to our students who led meal preparation for shelter residents, superhero capes, comfort blankets for kids in the hospital, an art project for seniors, and pet toys for our four-legged friends.

Here are perspectives on the day from some of our youth leaders. These young people are BEING THE CHANGE, inspiring their peers and demonstrating that we all have the POWER to create a much kinder more compassionate world. Bravo and thank you for giving us all hope for a better future!

Check out our Day of Giving photo album for many more shots of our magical day together.

Comfort Blankets

Sofia and I helped lead a group making blankets for kids at the hospital, UCSF Benioff Children’s in San Francisco and Oakland. I decided to do this because I love the idea of helping others. I hope that in the future, many more kids will team up to help the community. A great thing about having others help the community is not only that you’re helping others, but, you’re also having fun when doing it. Also, if each kid did one small thing in their communities, our whole world would be a better place, with nicer people. One great thing about these blankets is that the knots we used to tie the blanket together are super therapeutic and comforting, which is a great thing to have when you are stuck in the hospital. It’s awesome to see kids and adults working together to serve our community!

—Mikaila Levine, 7th grade, Davidson Middle School

This year at the fifth annual Day of Giving, I had the opportunity to lead an activity alongside a classmate of mine, Mikaila Levine. Our project was to make comfort blankets for sick children in the hospital. The blankets were brightly colored and had knots along the edges that are known to be very therapeutic. With the help of about 20-25 volunteers (both adults and children), we were able to make 13 blankets, which is so much more than we were expecting. My favorite part was watching people interact and connect while working together for a greater good. I also enjoyed talking to families who had never attended a Community Heroes event before and were happily surprised by the amount of people giving up their morning to help those in need. My biggest hope is that the children who participated in the Day of Giving felt inspired to pursue more acts of philanthropy in the future. Looking back, I am so proud of the work we did and I can’t wait to see what good we can bring in the years to come.

—Sofia Storey, 8th grade, Davidson Middle School

Superhero Capes for Superhero Kids

In this year’s Day of Giving, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to led the superhero cape project for a second year in a row! When I heard that Community Heroes was looking for a leader to help kids make superhero capes and handmade cards for kids in UCSF Benioff hospitals in S.F. and Oakland, I knew that this was meant for me. Not only have I always been an avid crafter, but I have also spent some time myself in UCSF hospital as a 1st grader to have a large tumor removed. With the help of the Marin Academy Youth Grants Board, I was able to receive enough funding to buy all of the supplies needed to make over 100 no-sew felt superhero capes and handmade cards just this year.

Leading this project has been one of the most memorable parts of my high school experience. This is primarily because I get to witness what it’s like for children in this community to feel sympathy for kids just like them living a very different life in a hospital only miles away.

I hope that in the future someone else will take over this project as I head off to college and that more people will come out to join this Day of Giving. I would like to set the goal for next year to be 200 superhero capes!

—Kathryn Ezeoha, Marin Academy, Class of 2018

Act Local, Think Global Wonderbag Meal Prep

Community Heroes’ Day of Giving is about being inspired, motivated, and passionate to do good for others by reaching out with kindness to make a difference in an individual’s life. For me, the day was specifically about cooking with a purpose and I had three main goals for the day. One of my goals was to teach kids and their families about eco-friendly cooking with a Wonderbag, which is a non-electric slow cooker that saves time, fuel, money and prevents smoke inhalation. Together, we chopped carrots, onions and celery, then using the Wonderbags, we slow cooked six big pots of chicken vegetable noodle soup.

My second goal was to provide support to members of our community experiencing homelessness. Along with the soup, we also made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and salad, and delivered them to two local homeless shelters. We also wanted to show our appreciation for the hard work of our first responders at local fire stations, especially after the Santa Rosa fires. Kids delivered warm hand-packaged soup, freshly baked cookies, and handmade thank you cards to five fire stations around San Rafael.

My third goal was to connect with my local community at the Day of Giving over a delicious and warm communal meal. We provided tasters and bowls and soup for all the participants and got to share our project and hard work with our friends and family.

I feel like I gained insight into how empowered and motivated this new generation of kids is to connect with the people around them and create positive change in the world. My understanding of community engagement has changed over time as my Wonderbag project has grown and evolved. I used to call it community service, which is providing a service, but that is only part of it. You are also engaging with the activity you are doing and the people you are working with, and they give you so much in return for what you give them. People teach you, they show you love, make you feel appreciated, help you learn about gratitude and so much more. Every act of kindness in the world goes a long way. Generosity sends out a ripple effect that goes on for miles, and we just need to keep it growing.

—Chiara Savage Schwartz, 8th grader at Mark Day School