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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Feb 03, 2020

Children Making a Difference in the World Through Their Kindness Club

The Monmouth County 4-H Kindness Club officially started meeting in November 2019, but the idea of the club started earlier that year when friends Brie Verrinder and Stephanie Paden were watching their kids play in Verrinderโ€™s backyard. They talked about how much their children love to volunteer and how important it is for young people to have a sense of community and connection, especially now when people seem less connected than ever. They talked about how most charities have a minimum age that limits younger people from volunteering and brainstormed ideas for how they could merge all of these concepts into a club. On that day, the idea of the Kindness Club was born.

Although the Kindness Club is a fairly new club, the members have been quite busy. They donated almost 65 pounds of leftover Halloween candy to Holiday Express, made and delivered 140 thank you snack bags to the Middletown Police, and in their proudest moment to date, they raised more than $2,000 at a bake sale for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in Australia which is helping care for animals injured in the recent bush fires.

The sense of community they had been looking for was present that day as friends and family donated baked goods, dropped off tables, and residents of Middletown came out in droves to donate and support this wonderful cause. One local family was inspired to help and held their own lemonade stand the following day and donated all of the proceeds to the Kindness Clubโ€™s fundraiser.

Some of the monthly club meetings will consist of service projects, kindness activities and hosting founders of local nonprofit organizations like The Blessing Bag Brigade NJ, Bridge of Books Foundation and the Hannah Duffy Foundation. These founders will speak to the club about why and how they do what they do. The club will conduct supply drives for some of these organizations at the Middletown Library who have been supportive of the club. They want the kids not only to learn about volunteering and how to give back to their community but also understand the power they each have to make a difference.

Verrinder and her husband, Andrew, live in Middletown with their 9-year-old daughter, Lily. Verrinder started a private psychotherapy practice in Colts Neck in 2016 where she helps children, adolescents, teens and adults. In addition to volunteering together, she and her family enjoy traveling, movie nights and spending time laughing and being silly.

Co-founder Brie Verrinder and daughter Lily

Co-Founder Stephanie Paden and her children

Paden is a wife and mom of four children: 10-year-old Lilliana, 9-year-old Seraphina, 7-year-old Max and 5-year-old Elowen. She is the founder and executive director of Coping With LM, a local, all-volunteer nonprofit organization that provides support for families coping with infantile airway disorders. In addition to 4-H, Paden enjoys gardening, hiking and summer nights at the beach with her family.

For more information about the Kindness Club, email or message them on Facebook.