Author Archives: Amabel

May 13, 2010

BE BIG in Your Community

Posted by at 8:43 am in Kid Power | Permalink


Hi Splotters! We know service and volunteerism are important topics to you. So today we want you to meet a special teen who is being BIG in her community! Adrianne received a grant from the 2009 BE BIG in Your Community Contest for her BIG idea, which involves two of her passions — the sun and kids. Her BIG idea, which she calls SunSmiles, promotes sun safety for kids. She is doing BIG things in her Florida community and we wanted to share her BE BIG actions with you from Adrianne herself!

Q: How did you react when you received the news that your BIG Idea was to receive a grant from the BE BIG in Your Community Contest?

I was completely shocked when I found out because “SunSmiles” was only an idea. Winning the contest made it a reality. I think I was a little shaken for three days. I just couldn't get mind to believe that I had won a grant for $2,500.

Q: How are you using the grant to put your BIG Idea into action? How is it benefiting your community?

The money is going into the investment of a sun shade structure for the playground of the school. It protects the youngest kids in the school from the UV rays while they are playing outside. The location of their playground is directly in the sun and is dangerous for the skin health of the kids.

Q: Why is sun safety for kids important to you?

Since I live in Florida, the sun is a big presence in our everyday lives. Skin cancer rates are going up each year and many people do not know that it starts during childhood. The UV rays are one of the most harmful forms of radiation. The kids are always playing the playground carefree, and they should be aware of what they are doing. Without proper sunscreen, a child's skin can become burned and the chance for skin cancer can go up. It is especially important to inform them around the summertime. There are certain sun safety rules that I believe kids, parents and faculty advisors at school should know about and apply in everyday life.

Q:”SunSmiles” is a pretty cool name. What made you think of the name for your project?

The name was fun to come up with. I figured the name should have the word sun in it since it is about educating kids on sun safety. The “smiles” part came from my dream of becoming a pediatrician. One of the reasons I want to become one is because when you help a child feel better they do not say “thank you” but rather they give you a giant smile that leaves you speechless.

Q: As a high school student, you must be pretty busy with school and activities, but yet you make time to get involved with your community. What advice would you give to kids who have BIG ideas of their own and want to do the same?

Yes, my schoolwork seems to pile up each day along with my involvement in school chorus. I know there are people who only do service hours because they are required to, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you have the mentality that it is mandatory, it will get you nowhere. A quote I have on my bulletin board says, “Lack of passion is often the difference between Failure and Success.” If you have a BIG idea, do not let it be just an idea, but something that you are passionate about. If the passion is in your heart and mind, the people around you will see it as well. It will motivate those around you to help you to accomplish the dream, and make your idea a reality.

This month, Adrianne will see her BIG idea come to life as she unveils the sun shade structure at the school's playground.
Inspired or have a BIG idea of your own? Like Adrianne you can see your BIG idea become a reality. Enter the BE BIG in Your Community Contest today for a chance to win a $25,000 grant!

— Amabel, Scholastic Media

April 19, 2010

BE BIG for National Volunteer Week

Posted by at 1:00 pm in Kid Power | Permalink


Hi Splotters! It’s National Volunteer Week, a week that inspires everyone to take action to improve their communities. Now is the perfect time to show your BE BIG actions and contribute to your community.


This week, thousands of volunteers around the country will engage in service projects to strengthen their neighborhoods and build their communities. You can too! Whether it’s mentoring, serving meals or building community gardens—there are all sorts of service projects that would love your participation. No project is too big or too small. Grab a parent (and a friend!) and together find a volunteer project in your community.

Need some examples for ways to BE BIG in your community? Check these kids out!

  • Adrianne is building sun shades in local schools and parks to protect children from the harmful effects from the sun.
  • Madelon is building a handicapped-accessible playground in her neighborhood.
  • Skyler is creating "Kids Care Packs" for children in homeless shelters. “Kids Care Packs” are hand-painted knapsacks filled with school
    supplies, toiletries, a healthy snack, a toy and a note of friendship. His BIG idea is being honored this week by HandsOn Network, the organizers of National Volunteer Week!

Skyler Pinto

“Kind acts of giving are the most important thing in making a community a
better place.” Skyler said. “When kids who are feeling sad, lonely,
sick and hungry receive a ‘Kids Care Pack,’ they will feel like someone

Bebig-in-your-community You and your friends probably have a BIG idea that could help your community. Don’t be shy. . .tell us about it and we can help make your idea happen with the BE BIG in Your Community Contest! The contest will award $75,000 in community grants to several BIG ideas. Plus, you’ll have the help of HandsOn Network, who will work with the winners to bring their BIG idea to life—just like Adrianne, Madelon and Skyler, BE BIG winners from 2009!

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we want to hear your stories about volunteering in your community. Post a comment and let us know how you're helping to make the world a better place!

— Amabel, Scholastic Staffer