Your Stories

Volunteer ideas from Martha and her mom Shirley to share

Hi everyone.   I just wanted to share this email that I received from Martha and her mom Shirley with some great volunteer ideas.  Thanks so much for writing in and  sharing with all of us.

Hi Sophie!

I just wanted to send a note to thank you for the volunteer ideas and info on your site, our family is getting a lot of inspiration from it! We educate our children from home and this month we have been learning about compassion, gratefulness, and helping others in need. We decided that we wanted to participate in more community service projects as a family and in our search for inspiration we stumbled onto your page here:

It’s been tough finding non-spammy sites for the kids so you have our thanks! Plus you gave us some great ideas to brainstorm. As a token of our thanks we wanted to share some of the service project ideas we had thanks to your page and a few other sites like which has a lot of good suggestions. 

Our oldest daughter Martha found a great list of service project ideas that lists some organizations that accept donations from all over the country. It gave us some great ideas for household items we could start collecting to donate like jeans and shoes. Plus it lists some resources for making care packages which is something we are really interested in. (link below)

Hopefully you like it too! Maybe you might even find it useful for your page? If you do I’ll be sure to show the family you liked her find. I love sharing so if you ever have any needs or cool project ideas please feel free to pass them along. Sorry for rambling- thanks again and have a wonderful day!

Blessings and well wishes,

Shirley  (Craig, Martha, Mia, Steve)

Your Stories

Visiting my friends at the Bath VA for the holidays!!


IMG_1556 (500x375)I so enjoy each year for the holidays and all year long, going with my mentor Dick Walters to visits the Veterans at the Bath VA.  If you have time,  reach out not only at the holidays but all year long to the veterans and seniors of your community.   They really enjoy the visits and they have the best stories to tell.    I love to see their smiles.  Keep volunteering everyone and keep making a difference.   And never forget,  keep Dreaming Big!!

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Your Stories

FTC Gorilla Bots Team 5485 at the Corning Youth Center

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The Corning Inc.  5485 Gorilla Bots FTC  Robotics team, led by outreach coordinator Joshua, has been so excited to bring their STEM robotics camp to the Corning Youth Center.  This is the 2nd year of the STEM robotics camp started by Josh and it is going strong.  The Laura Richardson Houghton Corning Youth Center is a local afterschool program that provides meals, activities and homework help for the neighborhood students.   What  a perfect partnership to join the students of the Youth Center with the High School students of the 5485 Gorilla Bots Team.  For the past 4 weeks, the students have had a chance to learn about the team’s world champion robot,  build their own computer systems and learn about electronics.  They have questions about their own STEM ideas and would like to eventually have their own team one day.  The program has been such a success that it will continue for the rest of the  year.   Many thanks to all the robotics team members, Adam of the Corning Youth Center for hosting the STEM camp and all of the students.  We are so proud of all of you.

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Your Stories

Great day to see a Solar Eclipse

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We already had plans today to go visit the Bath VA with my mentor Dick Walters and friend Noah.  What luck that it happened to be right during the Solar Eclipse.  A group of us gathered outside,  with just the perfect view in the garden,  and fortunately Noah just happened to have Eclipse viewing glasses.  We had the best time and a great experience getting to see the Solar Eclipse with the Veterans and Staff of the Bath VA.  Thanks for having us.

Your Stories

Visiting the Bath VA with my mentor Dick Walters

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I have always enjoyed visiting the Bath VA with my mentor Dick Walters.   For kids that are looking for a volunteer opportunity in their community, visit a VA or a nursing home.   It really makes a difference in their lives and as you can see has made a big difference in mine as well.  Keep Dreaming Big everyone and send me your stories.  I would love to see how together we are changing the world.

Your Stories

The President’s Volunteer Service Award

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I was so excited to be honored again this year with The President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award during our 8th Grade Awards Ceremony.   This is a great program sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service  and the Points of Light Foundation that all students across our country can participate in for recognition for their volunteer service.  I also got a letter from President Obama with my award.

Your Stories

My town is the best!!

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I always thought Big Flats, NY was the best town ever and now I have more reason to think this.  They helped me collect and reach my goal for the card drive for the past 3 years.  Then on April 26, 2017 the town board issued  a proclamation naming this day Sophie Kartzman Day for setting an example for youths in America.   Thank you so much again for all the help.  I wouldn’t have made it without all of you to help me along the way.

Your Stories

2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist for NYS

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I was so honored to be chosen as a Distinguished Finalist for the 2017  Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.   A representative from Prudential came to the Horseheads School Board meeting held at this Ridge Road Elementary to present the award.   I was given a beautiful  bronze medallion as well as a State of NY  Legislative Resolution by Assemblyman  Christopher Friend.  This resolution was presented at the recommendation of Senator O’Mara,  Assemblymen  Palmesano and Friend.  While I was so honored, I must say my favorite part of the evening was the performance about reading from the Ridge Road students.  They did a wonderful job.

Your Stories

Many thanks to everyone


When I started volunteering at the Bethany Nursing Home,  I became friends with a senior named Casimir Krolak.  He taught me so much about our countries past and the important role my generation could have in our countries future.  He taught me about giving back.  He taught me lessons I will never ever forget and Cas will always be remembered for all he did for our country    Along the way I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to be mentored by many wonderful people, such as Colleen and Linda from the Red Cross, Sue Pirozzolo of the Horseheads School District,  LeAnne DeRosa of WENY and my good friend Dick Walters of the Bath VA.    I have always liked meeting people and helping out.  I never planned to have a big card drive that would eventually  involve our entire country and whether your idea is big or small you too can make a difference.  While this is my last year of of my card drive project ,   I hope to continue to hear from all of you on my website about what great things you are doing.  Thanks.

Your Stories

A Thank You We Received From a Veteran

“It’s with great pride I see this participation. I am an Army Veteran Class of 1974. I’ve been in the VA clinic as cards were passed out and have seen veterans smiles, laughter and tears from Veterans Day and Christmas cards! I want you to know how much your hard word and love means to so many veterans. It’s my turn to say “Thank You”…”

Joy,  HHDS  Class of 1974

This means so much to hear back from those that have received the cards.  Thanks so much.