October 27th, 2016 | Volunteers

We’re working tirelessly to get our new site up, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of our volunteers! Rahul found out about Cheerful Givers and our need for a composition for our video and was quick to jump in and help. He loved our cause and wanted to be part of it. He is very professional and accomplished. Please contact him through his website if you have any music needs.

“Cheerful Givers is an inspirational organization that helps put smiles on the faces of many people. Its selfless volunteers work countless hours to improve the lives of others on a day-to-day basis. I was happy to be a part of this initiative in any capacity. I will always respect organizations like Cheerful Givers, as well as the work its members do for many people. I look forward to working with Cheerful Givers and other like-minded organizations in the future.”

Thank you, Rahul!

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October 27th, 2016 | Volunteers

Cheerful Givers was lucky to work with talented interns this summer. One of these smart, creative students was Sihai Zhu, currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Filmmaking.

It was great working with Sihai this summer. We had a great time on location videotaping our retired volunteers, agency representatives and corporate employee volunteers. We even got to meet a single mom who presented one of our gifts to her son for his birthday—that was awesome! It was a memorable summer and very special to share those moments with Sihai. She is very professional and has a great eye for how the scene will look on video. She is very kind and concerned about sharing our cheerful message with the world. Check out one of the videos she created here!

Cheerful Givers Video

“The Cheerful Givers internship was the most meaningful thing I did this summer. It was a good opportunity for me to use my filmmaking skills to show people what kind of organization Cheerful Givers is and how its grown in the last 22 years. My mission is to document the terrific stories behind this organization that most people would never know. This wasn’t just an internship, but a valuable life experience. Thank you, Robin Zelaya, for bringing me into this project and for creating one of the best organizations for children who live in poverty.”

Thank you, Sihai!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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October 27th, 2016 | Volunteers

David Chang is currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Art in Comic Art. David used his illustration and comic expertise to create the “Birthday Rumble” comic/coloring book. Kids can download, print and color this superhero birthday comic from our website. David is very creative and imaginative, and puts a lot of effort into the projects he takes on. He can take an idea and turn it into a 25-page comic. If you need a comic book or out-of-this-world illustrations, contact David via email at dchang@mcad.edu.

Cheerful Givers comic book

Cheerful Givers Birthday Rumble coloring comic book

“At the very beginning of the project, I was thinking about what both boy and girl readers like. I came up with the ideas of a super hero and a super villain. I also decided to make them twins, so they would have the same birthday and have the ‘problem’ of getting a gifts for each other. The characters love each other, as siblings, but they also hate each other because under masks, they don’t know they’re enemies. There’s a heroic flip at the end of the story, when the twins learn they need to be on the same side and decide to both become super heroes and make sure kids throughout the world are recognized on their birthday.

The experience of creating this small comic book was very fun. I was very fortunate that Cheerful Givers gave me an opportunity to create something I love doing.

Thank you, David!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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October 27th, 2016 | Giving, Volunteers

Thanks to our wonderful summer interns, our website redesign is off to a great start! Stay tuned for a beautiful new Cheerful Givers website in the coming months. We wanted to pay a special tribute to these interns, college students who used their creativity and skills to help Cheerful Givers better tell our story.

Hayley McNab is currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. Hayley created several great animated gift cards for our website. Hayley was given a range of children’s age groups. Then she researched trends and came up with so many options that it was hard to choose which ones we wanted to have animated.

These cards are great for kids and adults—you’ll be able to email these very creative cards to the people you care about. Please check out her work on her website. If you need animated cards, Hayley will get the job done.

“I always had a love for greeting cards ever since I first starting drawing as a kid. The idea of bringing others happiness through the gift of art enchanted me greatly. Ever since, it’s been my childhood dream. Helping others has always been a big goal for me, and Cheerful Givers’ internship gave me the chance to lend a hand through animated art. I enjoyed learning so many new skills from this position over the summer, including animation, programming and professional presentation. Having freedom in creating characters for the cards was also great! It was encouraging to be able to experiment in different styles and personalities through each individual card.”

Thank you, Hayley!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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October 21st, 2016 | Children, Donations, Giving, Volunteers

There are so many ways to get involved in Cheerful Givers. Here’s a peak at how volunteers and donors of all ages have helped us provide birthday gifts for more than 1 million children.

 

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October 21st, 2016 | Giving, Volunteers

Thanks to our wonderful interns, our website redesign is off to a great start! Stay tuned for a beautiful new Cheerful Givers website in the coming months.

We wanted to pay a special tribute to these interns, college students who used their creativity and skills to develop greeting cards, make animated birthday cards, create a birthday-themed comic book, make new videos and even compose original music for our videos.

Up first is Jaclyn Erdman, currently enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Art in Illustration. Jaclyn created a variety of birthday cards, thank-you cards, postcards and bumper stickers with her unique print and design style, all while capturing the cheerful look we were needed. Jaclyn is a great to work with, self-motivated and works very and efficiently. She even offered to volunteer at the warehouse! Check out her website and contact her for design inquiries.

Cheerful Givers card

“I wanted to intern with Cheerful Givers because it involved helping children in need while being able to gain more experience designing a variety of cards, coloring pages, post cards, stickers and animated GIFs for the organization. I really enjoyed learning about the nonprofit while having the creative freedom to design everything, as well as getting to know Robin while working at the warehouse. It was refreshing to meet someone who is passionate about making other people happy and who believes all kids deserve happy birthdays. To be a part of the creative team was such an honor!”

Thank you, Jaclyn!

To learn more about volunteering for Cheerful Givers, visit our Get Involved page.

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June 20th, 2016 | Volunteers

The Cheerful Givers Volunteer Blog is our way of letting volunteers share their experiences and express what it means to be a ‘Cheerful Giver’. If you are interested in writing an article for Cheerful Givers email us at robin@cheerfulgivers.org.

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By Nabanita Biswas

Books can be an individual’s best friend. All books carry an important message for their readers. Reading books and discovering these messages help us gain knowledge. Reading is an important habit for everyone to cultivate, but it plays a particularly important role in children’s development.

Education begins long before kids head out for their first day of school. Babies begin gathering learning from day one, and the knowledge they develop at this early stage serves as the basic building blocks for all the learning they do at later stages in their lives.

Education often correlates with high literacy rates; the higher a country’s education rate, the greater its literacy rate as well. Put simply, if we can provide every child in the U.S. the proper education, we can improve our literacy rate.

Parents often want their children to be brilliant and intelligent. This can be achieved only through education, which begins with books at a very early age. Research shows children who read from an early age become more versed with formal school systems. They develop better communication and logical skills, which, in turn, help them concentrate and focus better.

Unfortunately, poverty creeps into the picture and gets in the way of increasing the literacy rates. If we take the initiative of giving free books to children living in poverty, we can contribute to their education and help them acquire basic knowledge and skills. In this way, we can foster the seeds of literacy in them.

In addition, contributing to children’s education through literacy can help improve their self-esteem and their confidence, as well as decrease their chances of getting involved in social violence, crimes and felonies. Ultimately, these steps can lead children to more easily find employment opportunities and lead better lives overall. So by adding to children’s education with books, we can not only increase literacy rates, but also help fight poverty.

Members of the Cheerful Givers community want to help children in need not only celebrate their birthdays, but access educational tools they may not otherwise receive. We put books in 95 percent of our birthday gift bags because we want kids, no matter their background, to have opportunities to learn, develop and grow, ultimately enriching their lives in the long term.

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May 18th, 2016 | Family, Kids, Volunteers

Volunteering is a great way to teach children about helping others in need and giving back to their communities. But with school, extracurriculars and all the other commitments families have on their plates, it can be hard to fit volunteering into already packed schedules. On top of that, it can be hard to find activities that everyone enjoys. That’s why Cheerful Givers makes it easy for kids and their families to donate their time to other children in fun, memorable ways.

Here are just a few family-friendly volunteering opportunities Cheerful Givers offers:

Become a Pencil or Crayon Collector: Lead a pencil or crayon drive at your school or local organization. By collecting new pencils or crayons for Cheerful Givers’ bags, you’ll help provide birthday gifts to children facing homeless and poverty.

Host a Bag Assembly Party: Whether you’re looking for a unique birthday party theme or a team-building activity, hosting a bag assembly party can be fun and impactful. Research and collect gift bag items, and then assemble the bags to create unique, memorable birthday gifts for children in need.

Research Toys for Kids: What kid doesn’t love learning about new toys? We need help from the experts to determine what fun, interesting and unique new toys to include in our birthday bags. By sending us suggestions for gift bag items, you’ll help us provide special birthday presents to children who otherwise wouldn’t get them.

Check out more unique ways you can volunteer with Cheerful Givers on VolunteerMatch.org.

Have a great idea for a family-friendly volunteering opportunity? Email Robin Steele at robin@cheerfulgivers.org.

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May 11th, 2016 | Team Building, Volunteers

Are you looking for unique, easy ways to give back? Cheerful Givers offers a variety of virtual volunteer opportunities that can help you make a difference in the lives of children.

We know it can be hard to make time to volunteer, especially if you have a busy schedule. That’s why we’re giving you the chance to donate your time and skills in a way that’s convenient for you. Whether you’re looking to dedicate a small amount of time each week, or spend an afternoon assembling bags, we can make volunteering easy and fun.

In addition to being convenient, our volunteer opportunities can help you use skills you’ve already mastered, as well as develop new ones, such as communication, organization, leadership and more.

Here’s just a few ways you can volunteer virtually for Cheerful Givers:

Grant Researcher: Help Cheerful Givers identify foundations, organizations and corporations that may support our cause. You’d also help complete grant applications, allowing our organization to access the funding it needs to provide birthday gifts to less fortunate children.
Great for: Communication, Research

Social Networking Promoter: Love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Use your social media skills to spread awareness of the challenges children living in poverty face, and the impact organizations like Cheerful Givers can make.
Great for: Social Media, Communication

Host a Bag Assembly Activity: Whether you’re a manager seeking an effective team-building activity, a student searching for community service opportunities or a parent looking for birthday party ideas for your child, hosting a bag assembly activity can make for a fun, meaningful afternoon.
Great for: Leadership, Organization

Check out more ways you can volunteer with Cheerful Givers on VolunteerMatch.org.

Have a great idea for a virtual volunteering opportunity? Email Robin Steele at robin@cheerfulgivers.org.

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May 10th, 2016 | Volunteers

The Cheerful Givers Volunteer Blog is our way of letting volunteers share their experiences and express what it means to be a ‘Cheerful Giver’. If you are interested in writing an article for Cheerful Givers email us at robin@cheerfulgivers.org.

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By Pooja Galgali

We humans are social animals by nature. It is our sociability that makes us do what we do. It is our sociability at work when we go out of our way to help a friend or when we get protective about our family and community.

Today’s youth­ “Generation Z” the ones born after the technology boom are not only fortunate but smarter than we think. They are competitive. They are survivors. They are growing up in an environment where everyone wants to be an icon. As adults it becomes our responsibility to preserve and encourage their sense of compassion and empathy.

When Cheerful Givers started as an organization, we had a young school boy who wrote a letter saying he wanted to donate $2. He wanted a kid his age to have what he had. There are so many like him who love what we do. They voluntarily tell their parents to donate toys so that their peers can have a lovely birthday.

Members of the Interact Club at Eagan High School in Eagan, Minnesota, along with some great young supporters, made sure that the birthday of 400 kids was not forgotten. These awesome young students and fantastic teacher Bill Wirsbinski show us how to live generously.

Cheerful Givers is a good platform to exercise the emotional muscle of young minds. We believe children are the greatest asset to our organization. Young minds are supportive of all good things we do – we only need to channel and direct this support from time to time.

We, humans are social animals by nature. We want to be loved. Birthdays build a child’s self esteem. It makes the child feel wanted and loved. It generates positivity. What makes it even more beautiful is when the younger generation takes that extra step and joins the celebration!

Young minds are beautiful little stars, born with compassion and empathy, We need to preserve it, encourage it, nurture it and celebrate it!

A big shout out to the young generation who walk that extra mile with us!

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