Making a difference in the life of a child can happen in many different ways. Due to time constraints, or other circumstances not everyone can commit to mentoring, but there are other ways to help. People like Shantel VanWagoner show that with just a little bit of effort, anyone can make a difference.
Shantel’s kids had the idea that their family should organize a carnival for all their neighbors to enjoy. Many parents would likely just pat their tot on the head and blow the idea off, but the VanWagoners ran with it. They raised $115 with their homemade carnival and generously donated the proceeds to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. They did all this with little more than an idea and the willingness to make it work.
This isn’t the first time that Shantel has lent a helping hand to kids in need at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah. She was a Big Sister almost 11 years ago for a little 8-year-old girl and really enjoyed the experience. “I believe fully in the (BBBSU) program and in what it does,” Shantel said.
She is definitely not afraid of working hard to make big differences in children’s lives, but her carnival shows how far a little effort can go too. She said that after her kids gave her the idea, she had them go around the neighborhood with signs advertising the event and promoted it on their neighborhood Facebook page. They also stopped by the store and bought a few small prizes, cookies, and lemonade to prepare for all the people in attendance.
When asked what advice she would give those people who don’t know if or how they can make a difference, she pointed to the work her kids did to make her carnival a reality. “Even children, who just have good intentions and want to have fun, can make a big difference in people’s lives,” she said. “There are all kinds of ways to make a difference.”
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