Sixth Grader Makes ‘Smile’ Bags To Help Kids In Her Community
She started the project with her spare change. Now she's helping hundreds across her state.
An 11-year-old in Lowell, IN is on a mission to make as many young people smile as she can.
Addison Brown started making "Smile Bags" after her friend went through a tough time and was escorted from her home in a police car.
"I found out she was going through foster care and had been taken away from her parents," the sixth grader told WGN9-TV. "I just thought how scary it would be."
The bags are brightly colored with the word 'Smile' printed on them in scrawling, cursive letters. Brown fills the bags with small items like plush toys, books and packs of Kleenex. She also includes a personal, handwritten note in each one with an encouraging message.
"I just wanted to spread kindness to the world and to kids who are going through hard things in their life," she said.
Brown and her family took the bags to several local police stations where officers stocked their cars with them. That way, when the troopers come across children who have been through a traumatic situation, they can hand over one of the bags to help them stay calm.
Read about another young person bringing comfort to kids in need: Girl Comforts Other Children She'll Never Meet
Brown started by making a few bags here and there. Now, two years later, squad cars in six counties across Indiana have Smile Bags stocked in their trunks.
The officers have been thrilled to get the Smile Bags, which they say are much needed. One officer used one when a child had been in a car accident, and it helped to calm him down.
"When I hear stories of how officers use my bags for the kids, it just makes me happy," Brown said.
The young kindness crusader said her goal is to make enough bags to stock every squad car in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio with two bags. She started a GoFundMe to raise money to buy supplies, and she's getting the word out by doing press conferences and interviews across the state.
Brown's parents are blown away by her generosity and say it's something they've taught all of their children.
"If you can't do it financially, give your time and help others and help your neighbor," Brown's mother Stacy said. "Because that's what's really important and that's what we should be doing."
We here at Sparkt couldn't agree more. Kudos to Addison for thinking of others and using her creativity to #StartSomethingGood!