Small favors: Local children volunteer to help students in need |

Danielle Rizzo is unhappy with the fact that there are few or no volunteer opportunities for under 12 year olds. As a mother of four, she wants to instill the values ​​of helping others to her children.

“It’s one thing to talk to them about volunteering, and it’s another thing for them to experience volunteering first hand and see where it goes and what impact it has,” he said.

So, in partnership with the Student Homelessness Initiative Partnership (SHIP) of Frederick County, she created the Child Kindness Event, a voluntary experience for children of all ages to join. The children attending the Saturday event worked on decorating and filling bags with essentials.

Later, these bags will be distributed to students who experience homelessness.

The event was held at Shift Work and Play, a co-working space for parents, in Frederick. A pile of brown paper bags was on one table, and piles of nail clippers, nail files, deodorant, dental hygiene products, detergent, and snacks were on the next table.

SHIP provided Rizzo with a list of items most needed right now, Rizzo said.

SHIP executive director Melissa Muntz was thrilled about the partnership, and even brought her four-year-old daughter along to decorate the bag. He has more than 100 to share.

It’s hard to explain something as complicated as the homeless student to younger kids, but it’s a great starting point, he says.

“I think having the opportunity to show young people the importance of looking after our community, even at a very young age, is invaluable and very helpful for the future of our community,” he said.

Rizzo hopes to host an event like Saturday every six months.

Edythe Novick, 8, and her little sister Walden Novick, 5, are sitting at a smaller table with lots of art paraphernalia around her. They decorate their bags with markers, paper, stickers and stamps.

Edythe and her mother, Megan Donovan, — owner of Shift Work and Play — are decorating bags together. She would decorate one side with yellow paper cutouts, and her mom would decorate the other side with big rainbow hearts.

Walden chose a pink spiral and a smiling heart in her bag. Their mother had told them to come, they said, but they were also eager to help others.

“Some kids help other kids,” says Walden.

Like Rizzo, Donovan is passionate about offering volunteer opportunities to his children.

“Finding opportunities for young people to help and volunteer can be difficult, and we wanted Shift to be a space for community events and a space where we could encourage giving back to the community,” he said.

Will Delawter is decorating a bag with his 7 year old son, Liam Delawter. The pair are like a well-oiled machine, churning out double-digit embellished bags. They wrote positive lines on the bag like “You are special”.

Delawter’s wife, Meaghan Delawter, is president of the Key City Rotary Club, which is why they decided to take Liam to volunteer on Saturday. Rizzo was part of the same club, and they had offered it as a dedication to those at the club.

Spin club promotes service above self, says Will Delawter, and this event is perfect for helping teach their son that.

“This is a great opportunity to get him involved or get the whole family involved and get him to do something much bigger than himself,” she said.

Hayley Crouse, 9, and Kinsley Buchen, 9, are some of the older children who helped out on Saturday. Kinsley has been in the Work and Play Shift since 9:30 a.m. helping his mother, Rizzo, set the table.

They both said they wish there were more opportunities for kids as young as them to help their communities.

“A lot of people are less fortunate than us and they don’t get the opportunities that we do, and we gift them back with lots of the things they need, the equipment to keep them healthy,” says Kinsley.

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