During these difficult times, it is a ray of hope to see people helping others.
Whether it be through delivering food to a sickly friend, playing with neighborhood kids to alleviate some of their worldly fears or by sharing your excess of in-demand supplies, these little acts of kindness and humanity provide hope when it is difficult to remain optimistic. The lofty goal would be for us to go the extra mile for others all the time. For one North Port woman, this type of daily giving is a part of her routine 365 days a year. With her dedication and compassion for others, she is helping kids find their voice in volunteerism.
What do you do with your extra time when you are a full-time teacher, wife and mom of four children? For most of us the answer would be “sleep.” But for Nicole Nappi, searching out volunteer opportunities for her children was the catalyst for creating her emerging 501c3 non-profit, Move Mountains. With virtually no other outlet for her children to give back to the community, Nicole saw a need for children to learn valuable leadership and service skills. Though there were plenty of opportunities for her to give back, she would often have to bow out if she couldn’t bring her kids along. She found herself organizing her own events and inviting her friends and family members with small children to join in. Before long, “Kindness was spreading like a wildfire,” according to Nicole, who left her teaching job to run Move Mountains on a full-time basis.
Today, Move Mountains boasts over 400 local students participating in community-service events. Their youngest member is three-years old, with the bulk of the volunteers being local elementary and middle schools. From assisting local animal shelters, providing homemade meals to families dealing with illnesses through Project RAE, assembling and distributing care packages to servicemembers and children in foster care, and a multitude of other helpful projects, Move Mountains is making a difference throughout Sarasota County. Her legion of Mini-Movers, a partnership between Move Mountains and the local school district is teaching our youngest generation the value of using their free time to assist community members in need. Their after-school clubs provide children with appropriate outlets to volunteer within their community, filling that initial void that Nicole identified early-on.
We think Nicole and all the volunteers at Move Mountains in North Port deserves a shout out for making kindness, compassion, and consideration for others the standard for our school-age children. And thanks for reminding the rest of us adults that if kids can do it, we can too. There is always time to do our part, and to make sure our children understand that even at a young age, much can be done to help those in need. If you would like more information about volunteer opportunities for your children or would like a Mini-Movers club in your school, please visit their website here.
Photos courtesy of Nicole Nappi.