CONNOR’S KINDNESS PROJECT founder Connor Wright delivered several Kindness Kits to Shriners Hospitals for Children recently.(Courtesy Photo)
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — Pike School seventh-grader Connor Wright is committed to making the world a kinder place.
Connor has formed the nonprofit organization Connor’s Kindness Project in order to help children in need by partnering with other nonprofit organizations. He felt compelled to start giving back to people in need in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a tough time for a lot of children and families, and I wanted to do what I could to give back to the community and help even if it was in small ways,” said Connor. “I just wanted to help.”
After Connor decided to form Connor’s Kindness Project, the first initiative he and his family undertook was delivering COVID care packages to children who were quarantining at home.
“I wanted to bring smiles to children’s faces,” said Connor.
Connor’s Kindness Project also delivered “thank you” appreciation baskets to doctors, nurses and other health care professionals working in hospitals.
“I wanted to help our health care heroes after we saw how essential the health care community was in getting us through the COVID crisis,” said Connor. “We also knew that many of them were risking getting sick themselves by putting the health and well-being of others first. Health care workers worked tirelessly around the clock, and we wanted to let them know that they were appreciated. The baskets were filled with letters of thanks collected from children at local area schools as well as self-care items and masks.”
After undertaking the two initiatives, Connor felt compelled to “do a lot more.”
“We decided to collaborate with already established nonprofits to assist them with their missions,” said Connor.
Connor’s Kindness Project decided to partner with Catie’s Closet in order to support a collection drive fundraiser that nonprofit was holding.
“Catie’s Closet provides in-school access to clothing and basic necessities to children in need,” said Connor. “We reached out to our social network to help, and were able to collect bags and bags of clothes and essential items. This came at a time during the pandemic where many families were financially in need as parents were laid off or were unable to work due to the lack of childcare available and helping children need with remote learning. Our timing was perfect.”
Connor’s Kindness Project also collaborated with Birthday Wishes, a nonprofit organization that provides birthday parties for homeless children and their families.
“Through the help of our social network, we were able to put together 42 birthday-in-a-box kits for children in local shelters,” said Connor. “It was great to help with Birthday Wishes’ mission that all children deserve a birthday party. The boxes provided all of the essential items for a family to have a party.”
After partnering with Birthday Wishes, Connor decided to create “Kindness Kits” that he said would serve as the nonprofit organization’s “signature project.”
“We knew this was going to be something bigger than what we originally anticipated and was an idea that would take Connor’s Kindness Project to the next level,” said Connor. “We formed a formal nonprofit corporation, established a board of directors, created a website and updated our logo. It was time to evolve.”
Connor said the Kindness Kits are boxes that are filled with toys, educational materials, fidget gadgets for stress relief and warm socks. He said Connor’s Kindness Project decided to distribute the boxes to children between the ages of 5-12 who were in Boston area hospitals and shelters.
“I wanted the kits to have quality items and I was passionate about them having the wow factor when they were opened,” said Connor. “The kits consist of a small Lego set, coloring book, crayons, stickers, Play-Doh, slime, a Foldscope, Bombas socks and a card game. The kits also include either a Rubik’s Cube or a Mini Etch a Sketch, or a kaleidoscope or Pop It. We reached out to all of the manufactures of these products, and were fortunate enough to have donations from Bombas and Foldscope Instruments. The Learning Express at MarketStreet donated some Pop Its to the cause as well.”
After launching a fundraising campaign in order to purchase the items in the Kindness Kits, Connor’s Kindness Project set a goal of creating and delivering 150 kits by the end of the year.
“We are on target to do so, and we are looking to create 250 Kindness Kits in 2022,” said Connor. “Our long-term plan is to see that every child in a Boston hospital or shelter gets a Kindness Kit.”
Connor said the nonprofit organization has “received great feedback and support” from the community.
“Many people have donated to our cause or offered to help in other ways,” said Connor. “Due to the community’s support, we were recently able to complete our first delivery of 100 Kindness Kits to Tufts Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Christopher’s Haven, The Home for Little Wanderers and Shriners Children’s Hospital in Boston. The feedback has exceeded our expectations. We received notes of appreciation, pictures and even a video of a young boy who is undergoing cancer treatment thanking us.”
Connor also said Connor’s Kindness Project is donating 50 Kindness Kits to Lazarus House Ministries in Lawrence and the Malden Housing Authority.
“We have requests from more organizations, and we hope that our current fundraising efforts will help us expedite these requests,” said Connor.
Connor hopes that the nonprofit organization will encourage more people to be kind.
“Being kind is very important,” said Connor. “I think of kindness as having a ripple effect. When you do something nice for someone, whether it’s big or small, it really makes them want to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else. The reason why kindness is so important is it reminds us that even if we are going through something challenging, there is still good in the world.”
Connor said launching Connor’s Kindness Project has been incredibly rewarding because the nonprofit is making a positive impact in children’s lives.
“I feel like I am making a difference, which brings me joy,” said Connor.
Connor thanked his mother Erica and his grandmother Sharon Marrama for helping guide and support him every step of the way.
“I also want to thank the rest of the team at Connor’s Kindness Project because without them, we would not have evolved as quickly as we have,” Connor continued. “I would also like to thank our community. All of the donations and help we have received is greatly appreciated, and has made our mission a reality.”
Connor attends The Pike School in Andover. When he is not giving back to people to children in need, Connor is suiting up with the Boston Junior Eagles hockey team.
“I have lived in Lynnfield for nine years,” said Connor.
Connor’s Kindness Project recently filed for its 501(c)(3) status. For more information about the nonprofit organization, visit www.connorskindnessproject.com and check out its Facebook and Instagram pages.