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Learning from Charitable Actions

The Giving Girls Galvanize Community Kindness

The mission “to spread kindness, serve the community and inspire giving” for local nonprofit organization Giving Girls began with pretty normal pre-teen activities.Elise Tong, 11, and Maddie Evers, 10, were just neighbors and friends, hanging out together, watching videos.

“We were at our house, watching videos of people who have done cool things; this evolved into finding fun things we can do to be kind, and then it became Giving Girls,” Elise says.

“One Friday night, we sat in our front room until midnight, planning this idea, coming up with the name and picking out toys we could give away," Maddie says. "We then collected money and went to the store to buy toys to donate to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.”

A variety of opportunities to give back to their community over the past year and a half have allowed the girls, who are fifth-graders at Mason Intermediate, to constantly add new ideas. They think carefully about each organization they support.

“We donated tied blankets that we made to Warm Welcomes, an organization that helps foster kids feel comfortable in their new homes,” Maddie says.

The girls have done a diverse array of activities, including volunteering at Matthew 25: Ministries, taking meals to firefighters and collecting pet food for the SPCA. However, their cornerstone project has become raising money and collecting donations for a toy drive each holiday season. They’ve added new methods to receive donations, which require them to practice some bravery in speaking to strangers.

“This year, we set up a table where we could hand out information to people coming into Kroger,” Elise says. “Then the people could buy toys at Kroger and drop them off on the way out.”

Their mothers, Courtney Tong and Melanie Evers, have encouraged their commitment to kindness and giving back.

“I was inspired that they wanted to take their time to impact others and do something kind,” Courtney says.

“I love how big their hearts are to help other people. They recognize that there are others who aren’t as blessed as they are,” Melanie adds.

The girls have plans to continue their past programs, including the toy drive, as well as adding new projects over time, like filling backpacks with school supplies to donate to community members. Both the girls and their mothers emphasize that while it does take organization skills and learning to create a nonprofit business, everyone has something to give, no matter what their age is.

“We try to show people that they can make a difference by participating in a small way. They don’t have to do something huge; they can just help us out,” Elise says.

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  • Elise and Maddie hand-delivered dinner and dessert to City of Mason fire stations 51 and 52.