Guest Post: A Year of Sponsorship and Service

This month, we have a guest post from Lauren Davis, whose daughters have used what they learned from Little Helping Hands to incorporate community service into other aspects of their lives.

If you’d like to write a blog post about your family’s experience with Little Helping Hands, contact Arielle Scherr at

My favorite thing about Little Helping Hands is how it’s changed my entire family’s outlook this year. After becoming family sponsors last spring and trying out a new activity every single month since then, my girls (age 9 and 6 now) don’t just look forward to our activities – they have service on the brain!

Case in point – for the first time since they were 4 and 1 (and let’s face it, my 1-year-old didn’t have a whole lotta say back then), Annabelle and Clementine agreed to have a shared birthday party. What was their request? A celebration at Austin Animal Center (one of their favorite LHH locations to date) where they could invite their closest friends to help them make cat toys and dog beds that they could deliver straight to the animals (along with lots of petting and treats) that day. I was especially proud when they asked friends to bring donations for the animals instead of gifts!

Annabelle (right) makes a dog bed at Austin Animal Center with a friend during her joint birthday party.

Clementine (left) makes a dog bed with a friend at Austin Animal Center during her joint birthday party.

Even better, my daughters and I have learned to create our own volunteer activities. I was pretty shocked when I asked them if we could adopt a family in need this past Christmas instead of exchanging presents with each other – and they actually went for it! But my real pride came from our following discussions – they knew that there weren’t just fictional “children in need” in our community; there are many families at their own neighborhood elementary school (who they anonymously helped at an “Operation School Bell” project) that don’t have money for clothes and shoes, let alone toys.

Our discussions about kids in their school led us to hatch a plan – what if more of the “lucky” families at their school adopted more of the families that didn’t have much? We spoke to the school’s parent support specialist and she had quite a list. It was already almost Thanksgiving so we acted quickly recruiting families to give while the parent support specialist got wish lists from those in need. Within only a few weeks, were able to help more than 100 children from around 35 families! We even found donors to contribute gift cards to parents of these families for HEB, Target and Walmart so they could do some shopping themselves and put together a celebratory holiday meal.

A pile of donated gifts that Annabelle and Clementine collected as part of the ‘Operation Thunderjoy’ program they created.

Because the Thunderbird is our school mascot, Annabelle and Clementine decided to call the program “Operation Thunderjoy” – Annabelle even made a logo, and Clem colored it in. Being the children of a marketer, they knew the importance of branding – especially because we hope to grow the program every year from here on out! Our goal is to help every family that needs it in the future – more than 100 families and hundreds of deserving kids!

Annabelle (left), Clementine (center) and Lauren (right) stand triumphantly in front of the wall they painted to rid it of graffiti during an LHH activity.

I’ve always wanted to get my kids focused more on helping the community around them, but as a busy working mom I’ve never seemed to have the time or energy to make it work in a way that would have a lasting impact on my kids as well as whomever we’d be helping. I love that it’s my kids who are insisting that we become family sponsors again this year and can’t wait to continue to grow our involvement!

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