In honor of “Back to School” month, I want to highlight an organization whose mission is to promote kindness through acceptance of differences. Let me introduce you to Ella’s Way, a nonprofit educational organization founded by my client Sherry Cerino.
Ella’s Way’s Mission
Since 2013, Sherry has worked thoughtfully to create a program comprised of picture books, educational materials and other products that introduce young children to the concepts of diversity, disability and acceptance of differences in a simple and age appropriate way. She has shared the stories of “Ella & the All-Stars,” “Davey’s Big Race” and “Diesel & Mack” with over 15,000 children in 110 New England schools! After Sherry reads to the children they participate in a conversation about acceptance and take a Pledge of Kindness. You see, Ella stands for Early Learning Leads to Acceptance and it is extremely important for these conversations to begin as early as pre-school when friendships start forming.
Lessons Learned from Sherry Cerino
In listening to local and national news, there has never been a better time for Ella’s Way to spread its wings and plant those seeds of kindness across our country. As a mom, this is a topic that is very important to me. My boys are still young, however, Sherry has taught me a few simple ways to instill strong values and positive self-esteem. Here are a few examples:
- Clean the playroom: studies show that children who do housework have better feelings of responsibility and self-worth. In addition, children who feel good about themselves are more respectful of others.
- Read: as part of our bedtime routine, Sam and Christian each get to pick a book for us to read. One of the books is “Ella and the All-Stars.” It presents a teachable moment about kindness.
- Donate toys to charity: Sam’s birthday is in November and Christian’s birthday is December 26th - combined with Christmas, you can imagine how the toys quickly accumulate! Since Sam turned 3, we created a tradition to fill a box of toys he no longer wants to play with to donate to charity. In addition, he chooses 1 new toy to also give away. Christian turns 3 this December and this is a tradition we intend to continue and one way to teach my children to help others.
How Ella’s Way Supports Our Schools & How You Can Help
Numerous schools have expressed interest in the Ella’s Way program. They need help to improve the culture within their school systems and to minimize bullying. In response, Ella’s Way would like to donate packages of books and activity guides to as many schools as possible across the country but they need help. Consider making a tax- deductible donation to Ella’s Way. Your donation will directly fund the distribution of those packages and allow the Ella's Way mission of kindness to spread nationally. For more information, please visit www.ellasway.com . Thank you for your consideration and support.
Ella’s Way, SMB Financial Strategies and LPL Financial are separate entities.