Meet Savannah | 2017 Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Savannah of Elk Grove, California. Just a few months shy of 10 years old, Savannah is a bright, young spirit with a big smile and an even bigger heart. She’s held bake sales, participated in charity runs and even donated some of her own savings, all to help support local foster child advocacy organizations.

Once a foster child herself, the plight of foster children without forever families has always been near and dear to Savannah’s heart. And today, she is an advocate for other kids like her who are waiting to find their forever homes.

Savannah Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Lucky for Savannah, she found and joined the Bailey family through foster care adoption early on in life. Her parents share with us her story…

Tell us how Savannah (and her siblings) came into your lives.

Savannah entered our lives as a happy, boisterous two-month-old nearly ten years ago. She was technically in foster care until just after her first birthday (when her adoption finalized), but there was no doubt from day one that this little girl was the center of our world. We knew then that we wanted a bigger family, so we returned to fostering in the hopes of adopting, and ended up being placed with our oldest son, Miles, who came home at seven months old. After a few years, we decided as a family to return to fostering again and this time were matched with our youngest daughter, Cora, who came home at four months old.

We thought we were done with three kiddos, but Miles kept mentioning that he wanted a brother so we decided to go back one last time and ended up being matched with our youngest son, Amari, who joined the family at two and a half years old. While our first three kiddos joined the family as babies, Amari  came to us after being in 8 other homes in just two years. I think for Savannah it really drove home the point that not all foster children end up with permanency at such a young age, and many bounce from home to home like her brother Amari did. She now understands on a different level what a huge difference it makes for a child to have the love and care of a forever family as early as possible.

Not only does Savannah understand firsthand the importance of finding a loving foster home, but she believes “all foster kids should get a say in where they end up and where they feel safe” and is going the extra mile to help make sure that happens.

With your help and Tea’s contribution, she plans to donate to her local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) organization, which provides volunteer advocates to children in the foster care system to help ensure their voices are heard in court.

Savannah Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Head to TeaCollection.com and shop through August 3rd to support Savannah in her efforts to help foster kids around the country!

Meet Lillian | 2017 Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Lillian from Kansas City, Missouri. At just 7 years old, Lillian is an accomplished baker and lemonade-maker extraordinaire. But she’s not just making cookies and squeezing lemons to entertain friends and neighbors—this little citizen has bigger plans in mind. Lillian wants to make sure that all kids have enough to eat, so she’s selling her delicious treats to support No Kid Hungry.

Lillian H Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

What sparked this great idea? We asked Lillian herself, and here’s what she said:

When and where did you first learn about this global problem?

At my school, I learned about hungry kids in Haiti during chapel and wanted to help. My school and church run a food pantry, and I started collecting food for them when I was three. 

And just like that, Lillian helped raise money for the food program at an elementary school in faraway Ravine a l’Anse, Haiti.

Over the years, Lillian has had the great fortunate of meeting many of the children and adults she’s helped raise money to support. So we asked her…

Lillian, how does it make you feel to know that you are helping kids less fortunate live better lives?
It makes me feel very good and happy. 

Lillian loves doing what she can to help children throughout the world, and can’t wait to do more. In fact, she’s participating as a youth baker in the No Kid Hungry Kansas City bake sale this fall, and all proceeds will go to feed hungry children across America. With Tea’s contribution, she plans to further support No Kid Hungry, knowing that every dollar will provide 10 meals for children in need…and with $1,000 that’s over 10,000 meals!

Head to TeaCollection.com and shop through August 3rd to help her reach her goal!

Lillian H Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Lilyanne | 2017 Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Lilyanne from Asheville, North Carolina. A young budding artist at just 4 years old, charismatic Lilyanne is as charitable as she is creative. When asked “what is something you would do to make someone who is unhappy at Christmas time feel better,” Lilyanne responded “I would paint them a pretty picture.” And that’s just what she did. In fact, she didn’t just paint one…she spent months painting 150 8″x10″ delightful works of art.

Then, with the help of her mom, she wrapped and hand delivered each painting to local nursing and assisted living homes and communities on Christmas Eve.

Lilyanne Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

We were so impressed, that we wanted to hear more about the inspiration behind these paintings, so (with the help of her mom) we asked Lilyanne a few questions.

Tell us a little bit about the pictures you painted…when you first sat down to paint, how did you decide what to fill the blank space with?
I wanted to use lots of pretty colors that would make people happy. I painted them in layers, one color at a time. “I liked making complicated pictures”, were Lilyanne’s exact words.

Your paintings are so colorful and lovely! How did you decide who to gift them to?
My mama and I decided that we really wanted to give my pictures to people that needed some holiday cheer. I love my Pop Pop, my Nana and my Great Grandma and decided I wanted to give my pictures to grown ups. I wanted to give them to people that didn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with, because everyone should get a present at Christmas time–even grown ups!

I bet you’ve made a lot of new friends at the local nursing/assisted living homes you’ve donated to. Can you tell us about some of the friends you’ve met?
Everyone was really nice to me. It took us all day to give away my pictures, because everyone invited us in to visit. I got to watch everyone open their present. I got a lot of hugs, cookies, candy and even a stuffed bunny. But my favorite part was making people smile. A lot of the people sent me thank you cards, and I really liked that because I love getting mail and making friends.

How does it feel to know that your paintings are brightening people’s days?
It makes me feel happy. I wish everyone was just happy all of the time.

You’ve decided to use your donation from Tea to help make sick kids’ dreams come true through Make-A-Wish. Do you think you’ll continue to make your paintings as a holiday tradition, either for the kids at Make-A-Wish or for the friends you’ve made at the elderly homes in your community?
I do want to keep doing my paintings for people at Christmas time. This year, I want to make them for the sick kids in the hospital so I can cheer them up. I don’t like it when I’m sick, so maybe I can help them feel better. I hope I make lots of friends when my Mama takes me to bring them to the kids.

And there you have it! With a ways to go until the holiday season, Lilyanne is currently helping her mom raise money for Make-A-Wish Central Carolina. With your support and Tea’s contribution, together we can help them towards their team goal of $100,000 and personal goal of $1,000.

Head to TeaCollection.com and shop through August 3rd to show your support and give back to this great cause!

Lilyanne Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Cash | 2017 Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Meet Cash from Marshall, Minnesota. He may only be 7 years old, but young Cash is quite the little entrepreneur. On a mission to help critically ill kids and their families get access to the medical services and support they need, Cash has been passionately raising money for the Ronald McDonald House since before he could walk through his service project, Cash’s Cans.

Cash Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

What do cans have to do with helping children in need? We asked Cash’s family, and they let us in on the whole story…

How did the idea for Cash’s Cans come about?

Cash had an extensive hospitalization including multiple surgeries as an infant. The Ronald McDonald House, Upper Midwest provided a warm and comfortable stay for us during this difficult time. For his 1st birthday party, we asked guests to bring pop tabs (which the Ronald McDonald House collects and turns in to generate revenue for their programs) and wish list items for the Ronald McDonald House in lieu of gifts. Following that outpouring of support, Cash’s Cans was born!

For those who aren’t familiar with the organization, the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families to be together during a health crisis. This includes a warm place to stay and rest, a place to do laundry, a home-cooked meal, etc.

His mom recalls just how supportive they were during the family’s time of need…

When Cash was critically ill we were 3 hours from home. The Ronald McDonald House literally became our new home for three months – a safe place, with compassionate caring staff there to support us while we cared for Cash.

Ever since, Cash and his family have continued to show their deep appreciation for the Ronald McDonald House through the form of donations. Cash himself holds annual wish list drives (typically on or around his birthday) and collects pop tabs year round. He also distributes small pop tab collection houses to encourage others to save pop tabs.

Cash Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

By our calculations, Cash has collected over 6 million pop tabs! Does Cash partner with schools or restaurants to collect pop tabs?
Cash has collected and donated 4,690 pounds of pop tabs or approximately 5, 590, 480 (we stand corrected) individual tabs. Pop tabs come from a variety of places that partner with us including several area schools, businesses and organizations. Cash’s Cans Facebook page has also helped get the word out. Cash has collected pop tabs from almost every state – often pop tabs are anonymously dropped off at our door or mailed to our house. His project has also inspired lots of his friends to save. 

How has Cash’s Cans made a difference in your lives?
Cash’s Cans has provided a simple, yet impactful way to give back, assist families with sick children and encourage others (no matter their age) to help others.

It’s clear to us that Cash loves helping others, so we asked him what he loves most about the work he’s doing and what it’s taught him…
It feels good to save pop tabs and help people and sick kids. Even kids can help others. More people should do what they can to help those in need.

With Tea’s contribution, Cash plans to continue his contributions to the Ronald McDonald House, Upper Midwest. Head to TeaCollection.com and shop through August 3rd to help him reach his goal!

Cash Inspiring Little Citizens Finalist

Pack Their Bags | Back-to-School Bags + Books They’ll Love

It’s that time of year again…summer is winding down, and little citizens are getting ready to head back to school. Whether it’s their first year or their fifth, the first day of class is always full of newness and excitement. But that same newness—new faces, new teachers, new schedules, new lessons to learn—can also be a little overwhelming, even a little foreign. What better way to ease those first-day jitters than to gear them up with a cool, new backpack filled with familiar goodies and globally-inspired books?

Fall Back to School Backpacks

Flying Scot Backpack | Scots Triangle Backpack | Scotland Garden Backpack | Moggy Cat Backpack

Whether they’re feeling bold and floral, or bright and graphic, our back-to-school packs (in fun new prints) are just what they need to start their new adventure in style. Choose a favorite print, then check out these Scotland-inspired favorite reads. They’re great for passing time on the bus, and some you just might recognize.

Behind The Design | The Celtic Knot

Scotland is steeped in Celtic culture and tradition. So when our designers went on their trip in search of inspiration, it’s no surprise that they drew a great deal of artistic influence from the ancient Celtic art that adorns the country. From traditional textiles like tartan and tweed, to the decorative motifs found in Pictish and Viking stone carvings, you’ll notice a strong sense of heritage and lot of classic Scottish elements playing through our fall and winter collections.

One of the prominent motifs featured in our latest back-to-school graphic styles for girl, boy and baby is the Celtic Knot. An intriguing symbol of Scottish pride, learn more about this ancient decorative art form and the meaning behind its various interwoven patterns.

Gales, Whales and Sea Tales | The Seafaring Spirit of Scotland

With 790 islands and 6,200 miles of coastline, the Scots seaside is a world of crashing waves, windswept shorelines and picturesque fishing villages. Surrounded by water on three sides, and home to thousands and thousands of lochs (lakes), it’s no wonder Scotland takes its fish and ships seriously. For hundreds of years, local lads set out to sea in search of a catch, in hopes of returning home with a hold full of “silver darlings”, as herring—a fish of legend and song—were called.