The Rainbow Connection
The Rainbow Loom craze has hit the nation! So we've created a great service project and community building event (with a fundraising component, if you like) centered around the Rainbow Loom. Grab your group and host your own looming "Party for a Purpose." Jimmy Kimmel might have made a suit out of his - but here are some other fantastic ideas.
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As the mothers of tweens, we follow a great blog called Tween Us written by fellow Chicago blogger Shannon Younger. Recently, Shannon shared a post on her Facebook page from The Educators' Spin On It entitled "Kids Helping Kids." It addresses the common problem that many parents face theses days - your home FILLED with Rainbow Loom bracelets!
If you have kids, you know what we're talking about.
Rainbow Looms have swept the nation, but just like past trends Crazy Bands, Yu-Gi-Oh cards and Webkinz, it leaves us wondering... other than making a suit out of them like Jimmy Kimmel, what do we DO with all of them??!!!
In her post, Jenny suggests donating them to the Orlando-based community outreach program A Grateful Mind. We loved this idea!!
But, it got us thinking - could we create a Big Change event centered around the Rainbow Loom? Of course we can!!!
Remember, at the core of the Big Change Project is Service and Community Building. That is what makes us different from other fundraising organizations. We fundamentally believe that if you include service and community building into the development of your fundraising, not only will you raise more money, you will leave an even more important lasting impact on your community and others. (Check out our older posts about the Big Change Model for more information about the 6 core components to our philosophy.)
Our Rainbow Loom event isn't fundraising-centered. It is created to be a service project and community building event that could include an additional fundraising component if you so choose. The event would be great if hosted by a school PTA/PTO, a middle-school or high-school club, a team, a church/temple group, or any organization that is geared toward children. The idea is to create an event where children (and parents, if you want) loom together with the purpose of creating bracelets, necklaces, keychains, rings - whatever you decide - that will be given to someone else.
Here's the plan:
- First and foremost, find a partner to receive your amazing creations (we've listed some incredible non-profits below who are looking for donations). Where are the items headed when they are done? They could be donated to a local children's hospital or cancer center, a nursing home, a program for homeless children or a foster care facility, other children's social service agencies, or to another organization to be sold to raise funds.
- Find a location for your event such as a school cafeteria or lunchroom, the public library or park district community room, a church/temple room, or even a private room at a local restaurant willing to donate it to you for your event. If the weather is warm, how about a local park or school playground?
- Determine how many people can attend your event based on your location and decide if parents will be required to stay with their children or, particularly if it is hosted by a school PTA/PTO and held at the school, if this is a kids-only event.
- Advertise the big event to your community. Remember - it's all about publicity!
- Reach out to your local toy store to see if they might be willing to donate a package of Rainbow Loom bands to each participant. It's good publicity for them and great community partnering.
Here are some great organizations you could contact for your donations:
- Looms for Love - a fabulous non-profit organization started by an amazing 8-year old named Mia LaRoux, Looms for Love creates rainbow crafts and handwritten cards for children who are hospitalized and seniors in nursing homes. The organization is "dedicated to advancing the importance of community service and the values of caring and compassion with other kids." Way to go, Mia!!
- Message of Hope Foundation - created by mother Emi Burke in honor of her son Conor, Message of Hope's mission is to deliver hope to children with special needs and chronic illness. Message of Hope creates "Happy Hope Bags" including art supplies, playing cards, Chap-Stick, toothbrushes and iTunes gift cards. It is their goal to give away 15,000 Happy Hope Bags and 15,000 Hope Bracelets by the end of 2014! To see the Message of Hope Foundation in action, you can check out their YouTube video here.
- Create a Blessing - gives bracelets and notes of inspiration to children in need of a little love and support. Click here to download their flyer for more information.
Other Rainbow Loom service project ideas:
- Instead of donating your creations, sell them and use the funds raised to purchase Rainbow Loom kits. Donate them to be used or distributed at a women and children's shelter, foster care program, after-school program or children's hospital.
- Use the sale proceeds to support a local charity of your choice, or maybe donate the funds to one of our favorite charities - Feed My Starving Children.
- Collect Rainbow Looming supplies at your event and create looming kits to donate to a hospital or other program.
- Charge a fee to participate in your looming event.
- To increase your participation fee and raise additional funds to donate, bring in a Rainbow Loom expert to host a class either at your single day event or create a weekly mini-course over the course of weeks.
- Include Rainbow Loom items available for purchase such as additional bags of bands, looms, charms, pre-made items or instructional books. Better yet - create your own instructional booklet to sell!
- Partner with a local toy store to donate back a portion of their sales of looms and bands to your organization when participants purchase with a flyer.
Rainbow looming is a great activity for kids and can be a terrific way to bring your community together for the benefit of others. Happy looming!
Do you have a creative idea for what to do with your Rainbow Loom creations? Let us know!
The Big Change Project