Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Ally (10) from Michigan used her award to launch her project Snuggles and Love. Ally spent time in the hospital as a baby and was inspired when her parents told her stories about people pushing carts of toys, books, blankets, and other gifts around the hospital for ill children who had extended stays in the hospital. Ally wanted to add some cheer to other children during their hospital stay as well. She was able to make 32 care packages with the help of her group of volunteers and deliver them to a nearby hospital.
- What is the name of your project? Snuggles and Love (Blanket Care Packages for Kids in the Hospital)
- What inspired you to start this project? When I was a baby I had to have open-heart surgery because I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. I was only 4 months old when I had my heart fixed. My mom and dad told me that people would come around with carts that had gifts, toys, books, and blankets. I received some of these gifts, and I still have them today. My parents said being in the hospital was hard on everyone, and those little things made our stay a little bit easier. That’s why I wanted to help. I wanted to make kids comfortable and happy during their hospital stay with a fun, soft blanket, cozy slippers, and a stuffed toy.
- Other than you, how many volunteers participated in your service project? My mom, my mema, my cousin Carley who is 14, my mom’s friend Jennifer and her daughter Riley who is 8.
- How many hours did you spend on your project? We spent a lot hours. Altogether it took about 1 month. We had to shop, cut the fabric, tie the knots for the blankets, sort the slippers by size, pair the blankets with a stuffed animal, package them nicely, and deliver them to the hospital. The hospital workers were so happy and proud of me. It made me feel good. Some even cried when I told them about Cara and why I wrote the grant. My mom and mema had tears, too.
- How many individuals were affected by your project? We made 32 care packages.
- During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you? I was happy and surprised that I won. I was nervous during the interview because I have never done that before, so I wasn’t sure if I did a good job. My parents said I did, and they were proud of me. The project was a lot of work, but it was worth it.
- Overall what did you learn from this experience? I learned giving feels good. The project was a lot of work, but it was totally worth it in the end, and I want to do it again.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? My project is helping a lot of kids, so they will know they are loved. It has impacted me in a way that makes me feel like I can make a difference. I hope to do more service projects in the future. Helping others is fun.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? I could not have done this project without the grant. Because of the grant, I was able to complete a service project that brings happiness to others. Thank you. :)