Summer Activity Bag Pack

Kim, a TOAM parent, approached us months ago with the idea to create activity bags for students to use over their summer break. Her inspiration came from a friend who taught in Milwaukee and created activity bags for her students. This was a lovely idea but Lynn and I weren’t sure where our funding would come from to create such a project.

Early this spring, we learned that we would be the lucky benefactors to a fundraiser at the Athleta store in Bayshore Mall. We would earn a percentage of all the purchases made in one evening at the store AND it would be matched by Gap Corporation. Suddenly, we had our answer! We could use some of the fundraiser money to make the activity bags.

With our fundraiser  money we purchased toys that were safe, multi-purpose, and would hopefully inspire active and creative play (that could be shared with friends and/or siblings).  Kim contacted  Wagner Pediatric Dentistry and the North Shore Fire Department for donations of toothpaste, toothbrushes, and fire safety books. 

Our TOAM families met in the evening this week to assemble the bags. First, we read How Full is Your Bucket? and then we discussed all the different ways kids spend their summers in Milwaukee and how these activity bags would help keep kids entertained.

This might have been the most difficult pack we’ve done and we were so impressed by how the kids resisted the urges to play with the toys and packed them up for another kid instead. We’re so proud of all of them! 

Today, the bags were delivered to our partner school, Thurston Woods Elementary. We left the bags in the office with our well wishes for a relaxing summer for the staff and huge amounts of gratitude for letting us into their school once again. We can’t wait to see our Reading Buddies next fall and we hope all of them have a fun, active summer!



Thurston Woods Reading Buddies #2

We had another great time at Thurston Woods with our reading buddies! The students were such good role models for our little ones with their reading skills! The gym was buzzing with “get to know you” conversations and collaborations over our Monet art project. The folks at Clinton Rose Senior Center were happy to have new decorations for their cafeteria and let us know that they will be happy to continue working with us next school year, when we start up our Reading Buddy events again at Thurston Woods. Special thanks to Nicole for leading the art project.

Partner Mission with MOPS WFB: Baby Shower in a Bag

Thank you to everyone from the MOPS and TOAM families who showed up to pack bags or who saw our calls for donations online and pitched in! Today we delivered 15 stuffed bags, a box full of gently used baby clothes, a cute shower poster, and 4 baby bathtubs to the Women’s Health Clinic at Aurora-Sinai hospital.

Last summer, we read an article about Milwaukee’s infant mortality rate crisis and the lack of clinics in the most needed zip codes that are helping to address this issue. We found one of clinics though, to see what we could do. The Women’s Health Clinic and Midwifery and Wellness Center at Aurora-Sinai Hospital creates cohorts of expectant moms which provides camaraderie and education all of this combats infant mortality. Typically, at the end of the cohort, the staff at the clinic will purchase baby shower items out of their own pocket books. With them, we decided this is where we could help.

With MOPS of Whitefish Bay, we hosted an event that encouraged parents to donate new baby items around the theme of “bath-time.” Since the little ones couldn’t just pack bags, we created stations to keep them working! We started with a read aloud and then everyone took their choice of things to do: Making a thumbprint baby shower poster, creating cards for the moms, the ever-important snack table, caterpillar decorations for the bags, and creative baby doll play. 

We were excited to meet and thank the staff for ALL that they do for OUR babies and moms in Milwaukee. On behalf of all of us who helped at our event, we thanked them for the millions of invisible acts of love, kindness, and heroism they perform daily in our great city.