One of the most rewarding parts of my job is the opportunities I have to give back to others. To me, there is truly nothing more rewarding than giving to others and teaching my children to give back as well. Opportunities such as Hasbro and generationOn’s Joy Maker Challenge make that possible in ways I am incredibly grateful for!
Joy Maker Challenge
The annual Joy Maker Challenge is a campaign that encourages youth to spread joy to people in need during the holidays through volunteer service. For every kid and teen that volunteers during the Challenge, Hasbro will donate a toy or game to Toys for Tots, up to $1 million worth! As an official “Joy Maker Ambassador” this year, we are working to spread the cheer around this holiday season! Through our various resources, we were able to come up with a few ways to give the 50 Hasbro toy and games we received to local children in need.
Our children were very much involved in the process. They helped sort through the toys and determine the age ranges for everything we had. This then aided us in the next step of the process. Who to give the gifts to. Using a local Facebook group, we were able to find two families in our community that were struggling to gather gifts for their children. Therefore, we reached out and made the connection, then asked them if we could donate a few gifts to help. Having been in this exact situation, Colby and I fully understood the humility that goes with saying yes. But, we found two families that agreed and our kids sorted through the collection and found the perfect gifts for each child. Next, a wrapping party was needed and the kids did the best they could with minimal assistance from me.
We delivered the gifts to each mom while the kids were not present giving her the opportunity to decide how to best present the gifts. Whether they went under the tree now or on Christmas morning, again, I remember how important that choice was for us back then. Plus, it’s more than simply giving the children gifts, it’s about giving the parents a sense of pride as well.
Next, we thought of other locations we could donate the toys and games to. As a family, we remembered the journey we took with our (now 12 year old) daughter 5 years ago. The local children’s hospital was remarkable in helping us work through 8 long months of treatment so we wanted to give back. The children at the hospital can play with toys and games to help pass their time during their stay. The game closest was a little empty when we were there last and we have always talked about helping to fill it. With all the board games Hasbro provided us, we were able to immensely add to the collection there!
We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. ~Seneca
We will carry the remaining toys with us this weekend as we head out to, once again, feed the homeless. We do not always see children when we serve, but we want to be prepared just in case. Besides, there is a women and children’s shelter nearby and we can deliver toys there to be dispersed to the guests. We did the same thing last year and the shelter was overjoyed with our donations. You can find similar project ideas on The Joy Maker Challenge site, as well as lesson plans such as this one on Homelessness and Poverty. It’s a great way to properly teach our children about the reasons why we serve the homeless each month.
Through December 23rd, teens, teachers, youth development professionals and families can sign up or share their stories for The Joy Maker Challenge through the campaign website, which features service project ideas and downloadable planning tool kits. The website also features eight project guides, developed by generationOn, to help youth learn about and spread joy to those who might be in need during the holiday season, including military service men and women, sick children, seniors and people without homes.
Throughout the campaign, one participant will be selected each week to receive a pack of 10 Hasbro toys to donate in their local community. A grand prize winner will be selected at the end of the campaign to win a $1,000 grant, while 20 additional participants will be awarded $250 grants each.