Name: Lana Anderson
School/Grade: Takoma Park Middle School/8th Grade
- What are five words you think best describe you?
I feel a little awkward praising myself, but I think that I am determined, curious, empathetic, passionate, and kind.
- What inspired you to create Small Things Matter?
My mom and I have been crafting small toys and pillows for the Thoughtful Treasures Program at the Children’s Inn at the NIH since I was young. Every day, this program provides a small gift to every child with a rare illness being studied and getting treatments at the NIH. While I loved the drawings and toys that I made and would have been overjoyed to keep them myself, it felt even better to know that they were going to another kid who might be feeling sad or tired, and needed it more than I did. I originally created Small Things Matter as a custom button company to help raise awareness for various groups and causes, as well as fundraise for my school community service group, Difference Makers. Difference Makers gave me the chance to teach others crafts, using my artistic talents, and I found that I loved it. That was when I decided to continue to lead others and inspire them to use their own talents. Giving to others in need brightens both their spirits as well as your own, and I wanted to share that amazing feeling with others, and thus Small Things Matters as it is today was born.
- What does Small Things Matter do?
Small Things Matter engages people of all ages to use their talents to help others in need. We do a variety of activities including crafting items for hospitals, hosting birthday parties to craft items and donate them to the charity of choice, and raising awareness for various organizations and groups by producing custom buttons. In the past few months, we have made over 300 monster stuffies, hosted one charity birthday party, and made over 100 buttons for the National Library of Medicine at the NIH.
- When do you find time to work on Small Things Matter?
I have a pretty busy schedule, with homework, chorus, clarinet, hula, and being president of Difference Makers, but I squeeze it in! Even a few minutes is enough to help a person in need.
- How can other kids get involved?
It’s really easy to get involved in Small Things Matter. Just visit us at our website www.smallthingsmatter.org or reach out to us by email at [email protected] to find out which events where we’ll be hosting community projects. Our website also has patterns, instructions, and ideas for different crafts, so even if they can’t attend a workshop in person, anyone, of any age, can still have fun helping someone else.
- Why do you think it is important for kids to volunteer?
I think that it is important for kids to volunteer because it is good to show them it’s simple to help someone less fortunate than you, but to them it means the world. Not only do they get joy from your kind act, but you do too! The joy of giving is wonderful, and it leaves you with a sense that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. If you learn this at a young age it becomes something that sticks with you for life.
- What is the coolest thing about growing up in Silver Spring?
The coolest thing in Silver Spring is the people. I love how tightly knit the community is and everyone looks out for each other.
- How would you spend a perfect day in Silver Spring?
A perfect day in Silver Spring would be spending time with my friends, talking, laughing, and just hanging out. I also really enjoy doing crafts with my friends, so it would be amazing to be able to work on some stuffies or another project as we chat.
- Anything else?
I would like to give a shoutout to all of the wonderful artists that have made stuffies or contributed to Small Things Matter in some other way. Without you, STM wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of the great things we have done. Thank you!
Thanks, Lana! Do you know a Silver Spring Superhero? Let us know! Email [email protected] today!