Kernels of Kindness™
Celebrating those who bring joy, happiness and kindness to their communities.

To celebrate 100 years of JOLLY TIME, we want to share the joy we’ve felt for a century. In honor of our big birthday, we will be awarding 100 $1,000 grants to people and organizations around the country who bring joy and happiness to others by doing good in their communities.

Thanks for submitting nominations! We received thousands of amazing stories of people doing good in their communities. The nomination period has concluded. Check back in August when we’ll start announcing 10 winners per week.

Kernels of Kindness Nominees

Katie Curtis
Katie Curtis

Katie Curtis is a 24 year old American Peace Corp Volunteer. She lives in a small village in Senegal in West Africa with a family in a small hut without running water or electricity. Her official job is to work as a health educator in the areas of malaria prevention and infant nutrition. The people in her village work hard in the fields and have very few monetary possessions but their hearts are generous and loving.

Among other projects, Katie conducts baby weighings to identify infants who are at risk for malnutrition and then teaches their mothers how to use a nutritional supplement to boost the weight of these children. Although not her primary job, she has also been asked to teach English in the small elementary school in her village. The people in the village love Katie or "Jannie", which is her Senegalese name. Her host family has wanted to honor her by naming a baby after her, but the 2 babies born so far during her service have been male, so they have both been name after Katie's late father "Steve"

Amanda Flamm
Amanda Flamm

Amanda is Millie's mom. Millie fought leukemia for 3 and 1/2 years (half of her little life) before she earned her angel wings. Amanda fought right alongside Millie. She fought for Millie and other children with cancer. She shared her story, in part, I think, to draw support, strength, and faith from others.

But, along the way, she, her husband, Brady, and Millie lifted others as they dealt with their trial with courage and grace. During their darkest days, Amanda provided love and service to her family, smiles and laughs and gratitude to the hospital staff, knowledge and support to other families experiencing childhood cancer, and an example of goodness to all of us observers dealing with our own trials.

I only met Millie once and Amanda a handful of times, but I think about them nearly everyday and have been blessed by their example. And I am one of the hundreds, maybe even thousands. Amanda continues to fight in behalf of Millie through the Millie's Princess Foundation, raising money for families dealing with childhood cancer. She is truly a light to these cancer kids.

Cincinnati Center For Autism
Cincinnati Center For Autism

I set out to find some options and found the Cincinnati Center for Autism (CCA). This school is a nonprofit organizationthat helps kids just like my son.

Two years ago my son was 11 and his aggressive behavior was out of control at school. He was hitting, pinching, biting, spitting, kicking and disrobing at school. He has a prenatal brain injury that has left him with many limitations. 

He is non-verbal, not potty trained and needs help with all of his selfhelp skills. His school had decided to have him schooled at home, but they were only able to get a teacher and therapist to come to our home once a week for an hour each. We were completely in despair as we watched his skills (those that he had) deteriorate and his aggressive behavior escalate. His school offered no other options since his behavior was too dangerous to keep him in the school. 

I set out to find some options and found the Cincinnati Center for Autism (CCA). This school is a nonprofit organiztion that helps kids just like my son. It was founded by a set of parents that had the same issues as me and has grown into a place of salvation for many parents like me. Today, 2 years later, I can't belive the difference in my son. You would never guess he's the same child!

Kelly Stack
Kelly Stack

Canine Angels Service Teams places professionally trained assistance dogs with children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 25 that have physical and developmental disabilities.

The dogs help promote the child's independence and provide a better quality of life. I have had the pleasure of being a volunteer puppy raiser for CAST and know first hand the incredible changes a dog can bring to the life of a child with special needs. The first dog I raised, Qismat, was placed with a 9-year old boy with muscular issues. Qismat has given him the ability to be much more mobile, participate in activities that all 9-year old boys should, given him the confidence to try new things, has acted as an ice-breaker when meeting and making new friends, and has changed his entire life. I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of this incredible group and cannot recommend them highly enough for being an organization very deserving of this.

Katie Stagliano
Katie Stagliano

Katie Stagliano planted and nurtured a cabbage seedling which grew to an amazing 40 pounds. She donated her special cabbage to a local soup kitchen where it fed over 275 people. Seeing others benefit from the donation of fresh healthy food, Katie aspired to start vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to the underserved. Thus she founded the non-profit Katie’s Krops.

Now at 15-years-old, Katie’s 5o1c3 organization has 77 kid-run gardens in 29 states. Her mission is to empower youth across America to end hunger one garden at a time, and provide funding to do so. She inspires kids to grow gardens and donate the harvest to the underserved in their communities.

In 2012, Katie became the youngest recipient of the Clinton’s Global Citizens Award for Leadership in Civil Society, and was appointed to the Youth Advisory Board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, partnership between the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. 

Leigh Wattenbarger
Leigh Wattenbarger

Leigh has always been involved in music.She was broken hearted when the music program was cut at her old elementary school. So now she volunteers her time and talents to 4th and 5th graders. There is no budget for music, practice cd's or performance travels.

These kids are from a Title 1 School with 85+ free reduced lunch. These kids can't afford a performance shirt. The kids love singing! They love learning about music, theater and they love performing but lack of funds is an obstacle!

Mindy Williams
Mindy Williams

After having a grandson with autism, Mindy saw a need in her small community of children with little to no resources for kids with autism. She started a Facebook support group for mothers of children with autism in the Mt. Vernon, Il area. Her small group has over 33 mothers that are able to communicate with each other to get Doctors names, school information, therapy information, resources, etc. Mindy has also has many fundraisers for these families and their loved ones to assistance families for high costs of buying an I-Pad to assistance these awesome kids with their communication! Mindy is currently assisting the Bronson Center school with building a sensory room for the children that go to school there fulfill their sensory needs. She has raised $1,560 recently by having a raffle. Bronson Center still needs money to help open their sensory room. 

Please help Mindy Williams and & Bronson Center be able to provide their students with an adequate sensory room! 

Kendra Witt Doyle
Kendra Witt Doyle

Kendra started the Giving Garden.She convinced Blue Cross of Idaho to let her use space that was currently not in use, collaborated with area horticultural societies and school classes to raise donations of seeds, starts and tools. After the first year, nearly 50 volunteers tended the community Giving Garden and cultivated more than 1,000 pounds of produce. All produce was donated to the Idaho Food bank, food pantries and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

This program has continued into its second year. This time, with more volunteers, partners and hopefully more produce to distribute. The people who receive donated food have shown their appreciation by volunteering in the garden later on int the season. Many Blue Cross of Idaho employees spend afternoons pulling weeds and caring for crops. The garden uses organic methods, no pesticides, and strives to produce as much food as possible.

Kerry
Kerry

Kerry is an amazingly caring and giving person. She created Be The Change You Seek to encourage people to do random acts of kindness as she does every week. Whether she is putting out baskets of tennis balls at her local dog park for everyone to enjoy, cleaning up trash at a local cemetery that seemed to have been forgotten, or giving the local delivery boy a 100% tip, her ideas are creative and undoubtedly puts a smile on the face of everyone she passes.