The Story of the Sprouts

In the early spring of 2018, as I watched my daughter sell cookies, I was struck with a thought, “what is this teaching her?” Of course, the idea behind selling something to reach a goal is great education for our youth, but my passion to support this wasn’t there. I also did not like the idea of my 5 year old working towards a goal where a portion of what she was selling was being taken away and given to a large corporation. I watched this troop of girls, MY troop of girls work so hard to sell enough, when in reality, their working together to create a space of love for one another was enough.

To me, the one thing that was missing from the dynamic of the troop was giving back. Here we were, selling yummy cookies so we could have an ice cream party, but what, (besides sell, sell, sell) was that teaching them. One thing I have tried to instill in all of my children is the power of giving back. The idea that helping others is the most important thing we can do as humans. That by giving someone support, awareness, thankfulness and love WE become better people. And the more better people the world has, the better the world will be. Why aren’t we trooping that?

I started doing my research. Yes, there are tons of kids clubs out there doing absolutely AMAZING things. And these troop groups are great organizations, do not get me wrong. I just want my kids to have a group to go to where they learn about giving back. A club where they choose an organization in need and help them all year. A team of kids becoming empowered by helping others. I searched high and low and I found nothing.

So here I am, creating one. Welcome to The Neighborhood Sprouts! My version of scouts, but instead of selling we are giving! Instead of crafting we are bettering! Instead of building a campfire, we are building awareness for those in need!

The Sprouts will run from mid September until late May. We will meet on Mondays bi-weekly at 5:30 at the Edgewood Community Learning Garden. Each meeting will have movement, a guest who will be educating the Sprouts on ways to better themselves and the world around them. And the most exciting part… the Sprouts will choose a neighborhood organization that needs help. They will then work all season to raise awareness, volunteerism, money and most importantly LOVE around that place of need.

I am so excited to be their leader. I have a plethora of amazing adult volunteers who are just as excited to lend a hand and teach the Sprouts all about the empowerment of giving back. This world around us can be a scary place, and the Sprouts is a great effort to make it better, happier, healthier and way more loving. If I can teach just one child that the feeling of helping is way more special, kind and warm than selling something, then I will be happy.

I hope you will follow me during this journey. It is going to be an incredible adventure. These kids around us are watching. They are listening. They are following. So lets guide them down a path to change their world, and fingers crossed, in turn, I know they will change OUR world.

Jan O'Shaughnessy