Over the course of the year I will be sending out monthly newsletters. My goal is to reach out to parents and share thoughts and stories that have motivated me to follow my dreams, parent with inspiration and treasure every moment with my family and friends. This month I want to share stories of some inspiring kids. Kids who took action to make a difference. Remember, everyone’s story is important. Don’t forget to record you child’s story today. Kristin Coons, Founder MyOwnLittleStory.com
Jessie was a beautiful, athletic, smart and compassionate 12 year old girl who bravely fought two brain tumors (DIPG) for ten months and two days. On January 5, 2012 Jessie earned her angel wings. But before she died, she did an amazing thing. Jessie created JoyJars®.
The idea came to her one day early in her fight against cancer as she was leaving the hospital, she asked her parents when the other kids in the hospital would get to go home. Her parents explained that some kids have to stay at the hospital for treatment and care, unlike Jessie who got to go home after her initial treatment. When they returned to their home, Jessie got right to work decorating brown lunch bags with stickers and encouraging words and filling them with toys and stuffed animals. After checking with the hospital, they loved the idea but told her she would have to put her “treats” in plastic jars, thus JoyJars® was born.
Before Jessie passed away, she distributed over 3,000 JoyJars®. Since her death, many more jars have since been distributed. The most amazing thing about her story is how in the midst of her awful battle, she was able to think of others.
Jessie’s motto was to NEGU (Never Ever Give Up). This message of hope, strength and perseverance has made its way around the world inspiring both young and old to stay strong and reach for your goals. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit herFacebook Fan Page, or visit her website: negu.com
While most teens are impossible to rouse at the crack of dawn, the Burrito Boyz of San Diego, Calif., are out of their homes by 6:30 a.m. every Sunday.
Their mission: Making breakfast burritos for the city’s homeless, something they’ve done for 167 consecutive Sundays since November of 2010.
Comprised of a core team of seven high school boys and a small army of volunteers, they’ve given away more than 51,000 burritos and counting.
“We show the homeless community that we’re not giving up on them, so they shouldn’t give up on themselves,” explains Alec Johnson, 15, who started the Burrito Boyz nonprofit with his father, Michael, 49, and best friend Luke Trolinger, 16.
The nonprofit began after Alec, then 12, presented his Christmas wish list to his parents in 2010: an iPhone, MacBook Air and other pricey items.
“I thought, ‘Holy cow. My son’s growing up quick, asking for such mature items,’ ” explains Michael, a former sports marketer. “My wife, Mehrnaz, and I instead decided to teach him what’s important in life,” he says.
The very next weekend, they handmade 54 breakfast burritos in the family kitchen – paid out of their own pocket – and greeted the less fortunate on the downtown streets with the hot meal, bottle of water and a touch of dignity.
“It felt like punishment at first when my dad told me the idea,” Alec says with a laugh.
“But to see human beings sleeping on the cold ground outside, it really touched me,” he says. “To realize how much they don’t have, and how much we do. It’s a huge part of my life now.” To read more, click here.