A large portion of a nonprofit is time consuming just to secure funding. It's a lot of work! When you have a project which needs support, you begin reaching out for funding to make it come to life. Well, we want to THANK the Nashville Predators Foundation for their funding on our Superhero Activity Boxes which we donate to Children's Hospitals. If I haven't reached out for funds, feel free to reach out to me and together we WILL make the world better for our children. Here in our organization, Characters of Character, we have no paid staff, our time is your time as we create, network, design, write, converse, share, fulfill these projects because Joni uses her Ph.d., her Passion, her Heart and her Determination to make a difference in the life of a child. YOU can become a part of these works by sponsoring, donating, sharing our projects with others or in-kind support certainly makes an impact. These Superhero Activity Boxes are donated each quarter to various Children's Hospitals and you must find value in this project as you continue to read this article! You can rest assured, that your donation goes to the children through our boxes bringing so much joy to the girls and the boys staying in the hospital. Can't think of any child who wants to be there, let's give them some activities to engage in and to empower them to become SUPER in their thoughts and their actions.
Engaging children in creative character-building efforts goes long way for young patients
The Nashville Predators Foundation finds value in the work that Characters of Character are doing to bring so much joy to girls and boys who are staying in the hospital. Characters of Character NFP Inc is donating their Superhero Activity Box to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and also the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. Learn more about the generosity of the Nashville Predators Foundation at https://www.nhl.com/predators/community/predators-foundation
As part of one of this years projects, Characters of Character raised funds to be able to donate to Children’s Hospitals across America. This organization has chosen the state of Tennessee as they are relocating the nonprofit to Tennessee this year, and now, with the generosity of the Nashville Predators, Characters of Character is now able to donate at the least 250 Superhero Activity Boxes to the above Children’s Hospitals in Tennessee. The first quarter they donated 60 boxes through a small fundraiser hosted by Joni Downey, the creator of the organization, and this second quarter is off to a fabulous start! Feel free to visit the website for the Children’s Hospital donation at https://www.charactersofcharacter.org/tennessee.html
Here you will find additional information about this project and learn how you can become involved in this and make a difference in the life of a child. If you would like to become a Sponsor for these Superhero Activity Boxes, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us on line to meet the Characters of Character at https://www.charactersofcharacter.org/
You can find us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CofCJoni
You can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CharactersOfCharacter
You can find us on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/jonidowney/_created/
You can find us on Youtube at
What is included in a Superhero Box?
What will this box provide for a child?
Without the Sponsors and Donations from people like you or Corporations such as the Nashville Predators, our donations would not be able to be gifted to the Children’s Hospitals. Each quarter we will donate to the Children’s Hospital and the second quarter is off to a beautiful beginning with 250 boxes. You can help make a difference in the life of a child by becoming a Sponsor, by donating, by sharing our project and bringing awareness to others.
Let’s make the world better together!
Good News! As a registered 501(c)(3) not for profit organization in Tennessee, we, the Characters of Character are so pleased to announce that we have shipped out our Superhero Activity Boxes to two location in Tennessee! Each Superhero Activity Box includes the following:
Characters of Character was able to donate 60 boxes for the first quarter of the year and we would like to double this for the second quarter and double the second quarter for the third quarter! You can become a Sponsor for these boxes or donate to these boxes. Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt were gifted a portion of these boxes and also East Tennessee Children's Hospital were also gifted these boxes. A portion was also donated to East Texas Children's Hospital in Texas. If you know of a hospital that would benefit from these Superhero Activity Boxes, please reach out to me. If you would like to donate to our organization, please do so here.There are other ways in which you can support our organization:
2. Word of mouth, share with family, friends, work
3. Sponsor some of the boxes, we offer Sponsorship Levels
4. Help fulfill our Wish List on Amazon
5. Donate in someone's name
7. Host an event and bring in the Characters of Character
8. Host a Fundraiser at your work to donate to our organization
While we reside in Illinois, we are moving to Tennessee this summer. Our goal is to provide a space for children to come to and engage in character building activities through discussions, art, literacy and drama. These activities and lessons will build their character, share it in their family unit, their classroom, the community and friendships. We will welcome in other youth organizations, schools, clubs, families, clubs and churches to introduce these messages to help them empower their community. What a wonderful world this would be! Especially today, our children would benefit from being introduced to these characters, understand the message and model these traits.
Questions, want to talk, please reach out, I'm here! Joni
What is a "Nonprofit"?
Charitable nonprofits embody the best of America. They provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. They give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals, and noblest causes. America’s 1.3 million charitable nonprofits feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, from coast to coast, border to border, and beyond. They foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth, and strengthen the fabric of our communities. Every single day. You can learn more about what a nonprofit is here.
A High School Graduate with a Ph.d.
Most nonprofits run on passion, and Characters of Character is no different. While I may have only graduated high school, I still use my Ph.d. and I use id daily. My passion, my heart and my determination to make a difference, one child at a time.We all have met or know of a nonprofit organization. Do you know what goes on behind the scenes though? If you're a large nonprofit, with backing, with funding, with employees, you're front and center in society. But, what if you're a small nonprofit with no backing, no funding and no employees? This is the case of our organization, Characters of Character. I'm the creator, Joni Downey, and it came about after I had piloted the characters in a public school and then earned a National Promising Practice Award. Keep in mind that I was a Teaching Assistant at the time, had no idea what to do next. So, I took a leave of absence from the school learning that the Characters had a positive impact on our children, were appreciated from the parents and community and so I left the school to form a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Characters of Character. In my mind, the word nonprofit meant that others would support your cause and that this was going to be easy. However, in the real world, things are much different. There is a lot of paperwork, research, outreach, preparations, design work, graphic work, book work, heart ache, disappointment, networking, marketing, communicating, social networking, introductions and so much more. But, with a passion, a vision and a purpose for your organization, you find the time to do it all.
MY BIGGEST LESSON SO FAR IS THE FACT THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR DONATIONS. ONCE I REMOVED MYSELF FROM THIS, BECAUSE I'M NOT A SALES PERSON, AND IF FOCUSED ON THE MISSION, THE PURPOSE AND THE DIFFERENCE THESE CHARACTERS MAKE. IT BECAME EASIER.
I was a one man band if you will. My vision was to have a space to welcome communities into our classes and to teach, engage, empower and enrich the lives of our children. This was in 2007 when the economy took a turn, and so, I began teaching preschool with the Characters on the back burner, but always working on them to share their important messages. Then, about six years ago, my husband got a promotion and began working in his industry which allowed me to again, step out of the classroom. Not my favorite thing to do because teaching our children brings me so much joy, to know that you can make a difference in the life of a child, not one day was the same with the many hats a teacher/parent wears in the course of a day would be put aside so that I could now work on the nonprofit organization and all the duties that come along with this. What duties you ask? I now had to bring the Award Winning Characters to life online, and if you know me, you know that technology is not my friend! Ask my adult kids! Still, they stepped up to the plate knowing that the Characters are my passion and my purpose. Our oldest son Joey brought them to the 'big screen' the computer, our other son Josh brought the Characters to life in social stories and our daughter Jennifer designed over 30 books with activities, lessons and resources to teach the nine core values we focus on here at Characters of Character. My husband was behind the scenes, too. He dressed in costume at the drop of a hat and is to this day my biggest fan. We'll celebrate 40 years of marriage this month, so, as you can see, in life, we're in it for the long haul!
This was just the tip of the iceberg, now the organization had to begin writing grants, create newsletters, create social media content, research places to share the character messages, such as libraries, schools, park districts and communities. All of whom at the time were struggling due to the economy. Regardless, the Characters made costume visits, shared activities with all of them in order to get these messages out to our children at little to no cost to them. The cost fell upon the organization. Now we needed to get out there front and center, so, we began attending conferences and community events to continue with the messages of the characters. Finding volunteers to dress in the costumes, preparing for displays for these events, printing of materials, marketing the events and staying in close communications with them before, during and after. All worth it when you see the excitement from families, children and communities when they learn and meet the Characters of Character.
The above picture was a family who wanted to learn about the Characters and let their children know how important these messages are. Most events we bring a costumes to which excite the children, then to learn that the character has meaning, priceless! In case you don't know who the characters are, allow me to introduce you to Behavior Bear, Do'er Duck, Friendship Frog, Healthy Hippo, Manners Monkey, Respectful Rabbit, Responsible Rabbit, Self-Esteem Elephant and Warm-Hearted Walrus. They would love to know you!
Wherever we go we give away coloring activities and projects for families and children to learn about the characters. Our first big outing was at the Chicago Land Kids Expo where all nine of the costumes attended. What an absolute thrill to see the happiness the character costumes brought to the thousands of people who attended! We were invited back again and again to which brought us much joy. After about the third time, a parent had come up to me to say, 'THANK YOU' for being here, my daughter looks forward to seeing your characters out of all the things that are here. You have such an important message and we wanted you to know how much we appreciate them." Well if that didn't make my heart dance!
Soon I began working with the Girl Scouts with the character messages. We listened to a story, discussed the topic and brought the character to life on canvas as a visual reminder on the character trait. The Scouts focus on good character so we are a good match. I even bring my own Girl Scout uniform from when I was a Girl Scout, they love it! Manners Monkey visited to help kick off cookie selling and talk about polite manners with the girls.
I even started Mommy and Me Painting classes to introduce the traits to families and to reinforce them at home. Soon, the older kids wanted in, so, I began teaching them about the Characters of Character, too! I even went to libraries to discuss and teach the Characters of Character and their message. At the end of one of the classes, a young girl, probably around eleven or so raised her hand, I asked her if she had a question and she said, "no, I just wanted to thank you for coming to paint with us today" now, my cup runneth over........
I have visited Coffee Houses, Park Districts, Classrooms, Communities, homes and have been invited to a Museum to discuss the characters. If there is a teachable moment to be had, I'll find it, just so that I can introduce these characters to our youth, their families and communities to help make a difference. It is a constant to find venues and not of a high cost so that a visit and classroom can be arranged. We had such good momentum going with all of these, until..........the Pandemic. Now all of our classes were cancelled, and I'm not a tech savvy person, none the less, these messages had to continue to reach our children and society. So, we developed Character Corner on our website with a lot of FREE resources to use and enrich, empower and engage our youth, schools, families, organizations and communities to help build good character and citizenship, create a positive mindset and provide positive activities for the changed world to use.
If you can feel the love from testimonies and the happiness on all these faces from where we've been, we're making a difference, we're working our mission, "to provide a firm foundation for children to establish strong civic values" That is what our nonprofit stands for. When Covid hit, we no longer made visits, we no longer did painting classes or had group discussions on all the traits. We didn't have a working computer at the time to be able to provide online learning or Zoom classes if you will, however, we did receive a grant which allowed us to buy a new computer. Be sure to visit us online under Character Corner where you can introduce, engage, empower and enrich the lives of others with the Characters of Character and their activities and lessons.
What I'd like to share is that everything we do is because we believe in these traits, we believe in the positive messages, we've seen first hand the impact that they have not only on our early learners, but, with our youth, their families and the community. If you would like to donate to our work please consider it. Our projects for the past two years were donating to Children's Hospitals to provide a Superhero Activity Box to the children who are in the hospital. At one point we were able to do actual visits, however, today is different, children are still spending time in the hospital, that unfortunately will go on forever and we are here to provide positive, impactful activities for them to engage in while there. You can learn more here. You can donate here. You can share us at anytime to help let others know who we are.You can make a difference by purchasing materials on our Amazon Wish List. You can support us for our Superhero Activity Box donation to Tennessee Children's Hospitals here. You can support us for our Superhero Activity Box donation to Texas Children's Hospitals here. You can donate to our Hendersonville Confidence Buiding Activity Boxes here. The Children's Hospital donations will be an ongoing project for us year after year as we learn how much these Superhero Activity Boxes are not only appreciated, but, there is a need for them.
What is a non profit? It's an organization that works tirelessly trying to make a difference in the world we all are living in. For me, Joni, it's my purpose above my Ph.d.
Contact me here.
First, Wow! Perseverance Rover landed on Mars! Congratulations! What an accomplishment, what a big dream, big wish, big hope for Nasa, and they made it happen, because they didn't give up. Keep in mind our dreams, hopes, wishes and prayers are not answered or reached over night. However, when you believe in your project, you stay at it, you never give it up, you may tweek it, need to practice it, but, you don't give up.
Can you imagine? Having a dream, a wish, a goal, a deadline? We all have them. When you don't give up, battle through the hardships and there will be hardships, you can accomplish what you set out to do. What a wonderful feeling it is. But,
what if you have all of those and don't live to achieve them. Many of us are in this predicament (as an example, I'll use Martin Luther King, "I have a dream" where his dream outlived him,) or know of others who were. None the less, if you don't try it, if you don't attempt it, if you don't give it shot, you will never know. My husband Joe and I often say, "well, we won't be sitting in our rocking chair wishing we would have" because when we have the opportunity, we do it. That's one way to persevere, I'm talking big dreams here. Going after that dream job, moving your family to another state, supporting your wife's passion to make a difference with her nonprofit organization. These are big goals, dreams, wishes and situations that require perseverance.
Click here to download your own Perseverance is my Superpower! Keep goin!
Do'er Duck has some tips to help teach PERSEVERANCE to your own children.
First, a discussion to communicate what it means to persevere is prevelant. Explain to your child what perseverance means, what it looks like, what it sounds like and especially how it feels like. When you are a role model is extremely powerful. Think about how you react when you fail at a task. Are you throwing a hissy fit? Or, do you say, hmmm....that didn't work, lets try it again, and again and again? We know that there are many things in like that are difficult, life is difficult, relationships, learning a new skill, meeting new people, beleiving in who we are all can be difficult. Once you have your mindset to not get discouraged, go in thiniking that this might be a bit hard, but, I'm pretty sure that I can complete this, that I can learn this or that I will do this, your tasks become easier.
The same is true when teaching our children about perseverance. Think about it, they are learning so many new things from the day they're born. While nothing comes easy, anything worth knowing is worth learning. Patience is important, encouragement is crutial, and follow through matters. If and when your child throws a tantrum or shuts down because the task is difficult, stop and breathe, how is your approach to the task? We need to explain things to our children, and sometimes more than once. Be patient, be consistent, be a role model.
Tips To Teach Perseverance To Kids
1. Discuss what Perseverance is
2. Introduce your child to Do'er Duck to relate to
3. Print out Do'er Duck, discuss the trait, put your child's name on the pencil, let your child color the page, display and use as a sticker chart
4. Print out the above and use as a Journal cover for your child to draw in and write in about their daily activities which they work hard at to persevere
5. Print out the Perseverance Checklist below, read it with your child, display it eye level so your child uses this as a visual reminder
6. Building off of the Checklist below, build a reward system, when your child has accomplished these, use it for a weekly or bi-weekly reward system. What does your child cherish, more game time, a special treat, use this as encouragement and watch them keep trying to keep trying.
Now, some of you may feel that a child shouldn't be rewarded for things that they should be doing. I encourage you to think about yourself. When you have accomplished something in your life, do you reward yourself? When you lose your first ten pounds, do you allow yourself a cheat, or when you earned a promotion at work, do you celebrate? Celebrate with your child their accomplishments, no matter how small it may seem to you, it is huge to them. We raised our children with praise, it build their self-esteem and always gave them something to strive for. There are no rules here, do what you feel is appropriate for your family, however, when we are role models, when we encourage our children, when we have visual reminders and when we listen to our children, we're building a better tomorrow.
Click here to download your own Perseverance Chart for your child and you.
When I used Do'er Duck in the classroom, the children related to the character and then internalized the trait. I received a phone call one night from one of my students who shared this: "Miss Joni, I lost my keys, I was frantic running around the house and looking for these keys, when my daughter said, "Mom, be like Do'er Duck, Don't Give Up, we'll find your keys" and low and behold, once I calmed down, I did find my keys! I wanted to say Thank you for teaching Jessica about Do'er Duck, we will never give up!
High`5 to Perseverance!
If you enjoy our free print outs, please consider a donation to our organization. Characters of Character is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a firm foundation for children to establish strong civic values.
You can donate here. You can learn more about the characters here. You can learn more about our Tennessee Superhero Activity Box project here for Children's Hospitals. You can learn more about our Texas Superhero Activity project here for Children's Hospitals. You can learn more about our Mindfulness Project here for Hendersonville. Learn more about getting involved here.
March is my Birthday, and I am having a Fundraiser on our Facebook page to raise funding so that we can donate our Superhero Activity Boxes to the Children's Hospitals in Tennessee and in Texas. Please consider a donation or sponsorship, thank you.
Married with children since 1981. Love working with children and sharing the Characters of Character.