I recently had the opportunity to get in touch with Jean from Toddlers and Kids on a Mission, a Milwaukee area nonprofit that gets kids connected with local community service projects. (It was fun to learn about an organization that's so similar to Little Hands Can, even though it's far from us!) As Jean put it, "Our organization seeks to empower children of all ages to work with their caregivers to build relationships and strengthen the community through partnerships and service experiences in an inclusive environment."
Jean explained how they were founded this way:
"Lynn and I met shortly after we left our respective jobs in public education. Both of us felt something was missing from our lives because we were so used to serving our community daily in the classroom. My children were 3 and 1, Lynn's daughter was also 1 and like many families, we wanted to involve our children in service but found minimum age requirements limiting. We started Toddlers and Kids on a Mission with the hope that we could work with local non-profit agencies in our great city of Milwaukee to create events tailored for families with young children."
When asked what they're currently working on, Jean said:
"We are situated in Milwaukee which is known as one of the most segregated cities in the U.S. and therefore a primary focus is on relationship building. We are in our second year of hosting two monthly playgroups at an assisted living facility where we also trick or treat in October. Our other long-term partnership is at an elementary school where we host Reading Buddy events. We also have one-time or annual events and seek to find activities that appeal to the wide range of causes and passions that we know our families have. We do environmental clean-ups at parks and at people's homes, we have helped at food pantries, and hosted drives for homeless citizens and children in need of coats."
Jean sees the need for organizations like Toddlers and Kids on a Mission and Little Hands Can to expand their sphere of influence:
Our greatest hope is that families will feel emboldened to get out there and volunteer (or start their own volunteer group) by learning about groups like Little Hands Can and Toddlers and Kids on a Mission. We encourage anyone who wants to do this to call up a few agencies and ask for how you can help! If there are families who are in the Milwaukee area and want to get involved, we suggest visiting our Facebook page or signing up for our newsletter .
It was so great to talk to Jean and I'm excited for future Little Hands Can/Toddlers and Kids on a Mission collaboration!