Saturday, August 31, 2019

Caring Causes: A Fundraiser Powered by Kindness - The Grange and Oliver the Ornament Join Forces

Perhaps the latest example of how the world seems to have lost touch with basic human kindness came this weekend when NFL fans booed the league's nicest quarterback, Andrew Luck, for putting his health and family welfare ahead of a potential $500 million paycheck. Need more examples of how mean we are to each other? They're easy to find. Here's one. Here's another one. And another. I could go on.
It's high time something was done to help combat this kind of behavior. Thankfully, there's a new partnership that is trying. And it's launching just as kids head back to school where bullying remains rampant. 
The Grange, a national organization that's supported families for more than 150 years, and Oliver the Ornament have teamed up to spread a message of kindness.
  • Oliver the Ornament offers schools FREE materials/activities that use the books to teach kindness lessons in ways that will resonate with the kids as well as adults.
  • The Grange is offering those materials to help its 1700 chapters nationwide teach as well as raise money to continue funding kindness programs
  • More than 3.2 million kids experience bullying in schools, and programs like Oliver's can reduce that by 25 percent.
For more than 150 years, the Grange has worked to support and help the American family and promote civility and tolerance between people and as part of that mission is now partnering with a new author whose children’s book-series focuses on kindness and offers a range of children’s activities taught by a set of animated Christmas ornaments.

The partnership includes a fundraising program that Grange chapters can use to generate funds for kindness or anti-bullying programs at the local level, with the use of those funds directed by vote of local Junior Grange members age 5-14. At the national level, the organization will earmark the funds for a scholarship for the Junior Ambassador program and that face of the Junior Grange will help promote tolerance, understanding, kindness and anti-bullying.

Wilkins said Oliver’s kindness campaign materials will be available to all 1,700 Granges across the nation and will be used as they see fit at conventions, regional and state meetings and other places where Granges have display booths and events. The Grange, a national organization founded in 1867, strengthens individuals, families and communities through grassroots action, service, education, advocacy and agriculture awareness.

Todd Zimmermann, Oliver’s creator, will be attending the Grange National Convention in November to share insights about the book series’ impact on a culture that seems to be heading away from kindness rather than toward it. The Grange partnership launch coincides with back-to-school season, which can be a time when bullying issues resurface. 

In the two years since the launch of the first book, Zimmermann has expanded the Oliver the Ornament book and ornaments line, to include a script for Oliver the Musical that chapter members can perform, along with lesson plans and kindness programs teachers across the country are already using free-of-charge. He’s donated more than 3,000 books to children’s hospitals across the country and sets aside a portion of profits from each book for additional charitable donations.

Oliver the Ornament is a seven-book series and related gift line that celebrates the tradition and stories of Christmas ornaments. Every ornament has a story and teaches the importance of kindness especially in the face of bullying, which has reached epidemic proportions. 

The first story focuses on Oliver, a Christmas ornament who has been with his human family since Mom and Dad's very first date. Years later, Oliver, now injured and bullied, still has the magic of Christmas in his heart. The story follows Oliver's anticipation of Christmas, his heartbreak, and his determination to overcome all odds to save the day. 

The unique appeal of Oliver’s message of kindness has been having a major impact around the country. Not only was Oliver the Ornament named as one of the Best New Books by People Magazine, but it was also featured on Fox & Friends as one of the Hottest Toys of 2018. 

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