Congratulations to Chelsea Phaire and Shirley Raines, each received $250 to fund their acts of kindness projects!
** Update: CNN named Shirley Raines 2021 CNN Hero of the Year. Congratulations Shirley!
Once again, we are able to give out two awards because we have so many wonderful people who support us and believe in our mission. We truly appreciate all of the donations that make this possible.
About our August 2020 winners:
Chelsea Phaire (Danbury, CT) is only 10 years old, but she a heart of gold. After losing someone very close to her from gun violence she found art therapy so helpful in dealing with her own trauma that she wanted to make it available to all kids who are suffering through traumatic life experiences. She thought about kids in homeless shelters and foster homes and decided to provide them with art kits to help them cope with their feelings.
She started last August, for her birthday, instead of presents, she asked her friends to donate art supplies. She turned those donations into 40 art kits for a homeless shelter in New York. With the help of her parents, this was the start of Chelsea’s Charity.
She has since set up an Amazon wish list so anyone could donate art supplies and has sent about 3,000 kits to schools, shelters and foster homes across the country. The art kits come in individual boxes or bags and include paint, paint brushes, colored pencils, crayons, markers, sketch books, notepads and more. This has been especially crucial since the pandemic started and schools have been shut down.
“When a child or youth enters foster care, they usually have no belongings of their own,” Stacy DeWitt, executive director of James Storehouse, an organization that serves kids in foster care, told CNN. “It’s been a great addition to be able to offer the art kits, so the children and youth have a creative outlet to process their emotions during this traumatic time in their lives.” She said the kits have also “been fantastic for foster parents who have children at home during the stay-at-home orders.”
Chelsea told CNN, “I feel good inside knowing how happy they are when they get their art kits,” “I have definitely grown as a person because of this. Now my dream is to meet every kid in the entire world and give them art. Who knows, maybe if we do that and then our kids do that, we’ll have world peace.”
We love Chelsea’s big dream and big heart.
When Shirley Raines (Long Beach, CA) was doing volunteer work among the homeless she had women complimenting her on her colored hair, beautifully done makeup, and lashes and it made her realize at their core these women are still women who were interested in looking nice. She said. “I decided to go through my stuff at home and see what I had hanging around the house and give it it to them, and they were so grateful for it.” Then she asked her friends if they had leftover makeup that she could have to give to the homeless women. That’s how Beauty2TheStreetz was born.
Shirley said, “Recognizing that the lack of a home does not mean a lack of humanity, Beauty 2 The Streetz aims to serve the homeless by providing necessities alongside the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see. We are building friendships based on equality and compassion and it is this, more than simply the hair and makeup, that brings beauty to the streets.”
It’s been especially difficult during this pandemic, the homeless are a particularly vulnerable population. In addition to worries about the virus, “They’re scared of going hungry or being assaulted or raped now that resources and shelter beds are dwindling” she said.
Donations have slowed down and getting supplies has been frustrating as the warehouse stores, such as Costco and Smart & Final, have cut off mass purchases to curtail hoarding of things like hand sanitizers, water and paper supplies.
She’s “taking it day by day,” she said, despite recent hurdles and fewer donations than ever, she isn’t quitting. “What kind of an organization would we be if we’re only out there when it’s easy and carefree?”
Shirley’s non-profit provides the homeless with hot meals, showers, hygiene kits, hair wash, color and cuts, makeup and most important, a beautiful human connection.
Thank you Shirley, you inspire us with your compassion and you make our world a better place.
We’d also like to acknowledge the many people who sent in their fantastic ideas for kindness projects. While we wish we could give our grant to every kindness project submitted, there were so many fantastic ideas, we regret we have only two to give. We want to thank each and every one of you for submitting your ideas and hope you continue to spread kindness everywhere you go!
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 and let us help you spread kindness.