Donations Made in Honor of Black History Monthhttps://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_6988-scaled.jpg25601707Maren NelsonMaren Nelsonhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1946f97a3dbf0bf6337d9a9209ee8dd6?s=96&d=blank&r=g
We were thrilled to learn our wonderful Family Educator Collette was selected to receive over 350 school supplies and books from the Kids in Need Foundation (KINF), sponsored by PNC Financial Services Group! In honor of Black History Month, PNC provided diverse and age-appropriate books, in addition to the many school supplies we received from KINF. These amazing donations are now making their way into the hands of children across the Twin Cities.
A whopping 99% of teachers in the United States purchase school supplies for their students out of their personal funds. In response to that need, KINF provides critical resources to students and educators, and have been a valued partner with Way to Grow for many years. As you can see, our Family Educators were very excited to receive these supplies. Way to go, Collette!
Masking Up Thanks to Hmong American Partnershiphttps://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Masks_HAP_header.png33341459Maren NelsonMaren Nelsonhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1946f97a3dbf0bf6337d9a9209ee8dd6?s=96&d=blank&r=g
Last week, Way to Grow received a large donation of face masks and hand sanitizer from our community partner, the Hmong American Partnership! Making sure our families and children are healthy and safe is very important to us, and this generous gift allows us to extend a helping hand to families who may not have accesses to the resources they need. Each of our Family Educators received a bag of 125 masks for children and adults, and they couldn’t wait to distribute them! We also received 400 containers of hand sanitizer that are on their way to families around our community. Thank you so much to the Hmong American Partnership and we look forward to continuing our efforts to support our communities together. Thank you!
Way to Grow recently received over 1,403 books from a Barnes & Noble holiday book drive at their Mall of America location. These beautiful new books were sorted by age level, making it easy for our Family Educators to distribute much needed books to the families they serve. We are so thankful for companies like Barnes & Noble that care about literacy and use their platform to help get books into the hands of our younger readers. Thank you Barnes & Noble!
Our newest Family Educator!https://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Janice_intro.png25001459Angelique McDonaldAngelique McDonaldhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/e741fdafe889c563adfa7aa27c4a15a6?s=96&d=blank&r=g
Tell us a little bit about you!
I am a wife of 24 years to an awesome husband. I have three grown and wonderful children, ages 30, 25, and 22 years old. I am also a proud grandmother to two adorable grandchildren, ages 8 and 2 years old.
What brings you to Way to Grow?
Patricia [a Way to Grow Program Manager] was my supervisor at HeadStart, and she asked me on several occasions to work at Way to Grow. I have also been in the Early Childhood Education field for 20 years. Without a doubt working with families is my passion!
What excites you most about working at Way to Grow?
I am excited about interacting and working with the families. I also enjoy working with all of my awesome co-workers.
What do you do for fun?
I hang out and enjoy my awesome and loving family, as much as possible!
What do you hope to bring to Way to Grow?
I hope to bring my knowledge and understanding as a mother, grandmother and an educator.
What a difference a toy makes.https://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Manhattan-Toy-Donation.png33341459Kim BowmanKim Bowmanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/6f75e4cb03cffdae3e026d4156b52052?s=96&d=blank&r=g
Way to Grow has been beyond blessed by the gracious giving of our friends at the Manhattan Toy Company in Minneapolis. Box after box of dolls, rattles, plushies, books, and blocks arrived in our offices. We could not be more grateful and our staff and their families could not have been more thrilled! To have a special doll to hug, when there is so much change all around us brings hope. The children were so excited to receive these wonderful gifts of kindness! Thank you again to our great friends at Manhattan Toy Company!
In 2019, Way to Grow moved into new offices better designed to meet its staffing needs, in the Harrison Neighborhood situated between Bryn Mawr and downtown Minneapolis. Staff soon discovered the Bryn Mawr Market, a family owned and run grocery store that is open 365 days a year.
“During a visit to Bryn Mawr Market,” says Kim Bowman on the Way to Grow development team, “the owner asked me who I was, because they know everyone who shops there.” She told him that Way to Grow had moved in down the street and shared their mission to ensure children in the most isolated households are born healthy, stay healthy, and are ready for school.
Doug Anderson, the co-owner and clerk, pointed to a large donation jar on the checkout counter. He said, “We are about to take up a new collection of donations from our customers for a neighborhood cause. The last one was for a neighbor’s medical bills. This time it will be for Way to Grow.”
Over the years, the Bryn Mawr Market has helped fund neighbors in need over a dozen times, simply by taking up a collection of change from its patrons. When you visit the market, you can see images of previous charitable checks hanging quietly on the wall behind the checkout counter.
Fast forward to August 2020, when Doug Anderson presented Way to Grow with a generous check for $1,142.27. “This is from our customers. I am so proud of our community and so happy to be here,” said Doug. “And we believe in what Way to Grow is doing.”
Way to Grow is incredibly thankful for this beautiful expression of neighborhood support from co-owners Doug Anderson, Paul Anderson, and the Bryn Mawr Market and its customers. Thank you, neighbors!
Two of Way to Grow’s supporters, friends Deb and Mary,asked us what our families needed most. When we responded with educational games, books, children’s socks and underwear, and summer clothing, they truly stepped up. Thank you Deb and Mary for your generosity and for helping to ensure families can learn and grow together this summer.
Showing up for community: Thank You, Slalom!https://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_1064.jpg640480Maren NelsonMaren Nelsonhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/1946f97a3dbf0bf6337d9a9209ee8dd6?s=96&d=blank&r=g
Way to Grow was pleasantly surprised when Lauren and her team from Slalom reached out to offer feminine products for our families. “We were seeking additional ways to help the Minneapolis/St. Paul area during this time of need, and a fellow female co-worker and myself wanted to organize donations for feminine hygiene products. We know that things like tampons and pads are crucially necessary, but aren’t always top of mind for donations of food and personal items,” explained Lauren.
Thank you to Lauren and everyone at Slalom who put time, energy, and resources into helping our families this summer! We’re so lucky to have an amazing community surrounding us during this turbulent time.
When the pandemic arose, Headwaters Relief Organization went to work creating a science-informed coloring book to help parents explain to their children what the coronavirus is and why families were quarantining at home together, instead of going to work and school. Their intention was to distribute the coloring books to local charities to increase understanding of the pandemic in the community. Way to Grow is very fortunate and thankful to have received over 600 copies of When We All Stayed Home: A Coloring Book about the Coronavirus donated by Headwaters Relief Organization. And the giving hasn’t stopped there!
Backpacks are back!https://waytogrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/way-to-grow-back-pack.jpg960720Angelique McDonaldAngelique McDonaldhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/e741fdafe889c563adfa7aa27c4a15a6?s=96&d=blank&r=g
An annual tradition was back again this year. On August 14, Way to Grow staff, in partnership with the Greater Twin Cities United Way and SPS Commerce, packed 1,200 backpacks in 30 minutes! Each backpack was filled with school supplies and distributed to families across the Twin Cities. Thanks to our community partners, we filled our school bus with 350 backpacks that were given out to Way to Grow children just in time for the first day of school!
A huge shoutout to our friends at Greater Twin Cities United Way and SPS Commerce for getting our kids ready for school!