How We are Celebrating Volunteer Week at Portraits that Move

I have been trying to teach my son about the value of service, of giving back and volunteering.  National Volunteer Week is a great time to put those lessons into practice for him, for me, and for Portraits that Move. 

I have vivid memories of volunteering with my synagogue as a young child. We went to an elderly care center and performed for the senior citizens there. It was moving and emotional and made me feel proud to have added some joy to their day.  And that lesson of going into the community and sharing joy and support stays with me to this day. 


As a parent, I am often trying to find ways to weave this lesson into our daily life. This week, my son and I and made sandwiches at a soup kitchen. It was fun, easy and meaningful. He told me that he was happy that the men would not have to look for lunch that day and that it made him feel good to have helped them.


In the collaborations for Portraits That Move, we make it part of our mission to give back and to inspire others to contribute their time, attention and compassion, too. Recently, we created a Kickstarter campaign video for a local family who is opening a children’s book store in Brooklyn.


Inspired by our work with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, we walk in the Alex’s Million Mile event every fall and hold lemonade stands throughout the summer to support this organization that helps bring joy and hope to so many children and their families.



We also support the Kids In Need Foundation, an organization that supplies schools supplies to kids who would not otherwise be able to have them. 


Volunteering teaches kids that the world is bigger than they are and that it is important to give back to those who are in need. Ultimately, volunteering, and participating in Volunteer Week in whatever ways we can, is a gift we give to ourselves.  And it is easy to incorporate into our lives.


How do you and your family give back? What suggestions do you have for others looking to do the same?  Share with us! 

DIY Craft Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens

Talking with kids never ceases to amaze - and inspire - our Portraits that Move team.

This weekend, we had the pleasure of participating in the Runnin' Wild Toys Pop Up Book Fair on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

popsicle stick game diy mason jar projects kids

In addition to chatting with neighbors and friends about Portraits that Move and our work making moving portraits, snapshot films and our new video alternative to holiday cards, we set up a fun activity for kids.  And as we so often find, it was just as much fun for us as it was for them.

Here is a quick rundown of our activity and some tips for making your own DIY conversation starters for kids and tweens...

DIY Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens
What you need:
2 mason jars
1 pack of large craft sticks
markers (we chose brightly colored and metallic Sharpies to make it extra fun)
a list of creative questions for kids

conversation starters for kids diy game

How to play:
Write one conversation starter question on each craft stick and fill one mason jar.

Invite your kids to pull out a craft stick and read and answer the question.  Place that stick in the other mason jar and continue the game.

This fun activity engages kids, helps them overcome shyness, and encourages them to share their ideas and their experiences in a way that makes everyone smile.  It worked so well for us at the Book Fair and would surely be a fun addition to classroom activities, team activities and around the table during dinner or over the holidays.

Tip: Get the kids to help come up with some of the questions.  They will feel proud to hear others read and answer their questions and you will get more insight into what they like to talk about.

Sample Questions

If I could fly, I would…

When I hear music, I…

If I could be a book character I would be...

What I love most about my home is...

I am most proud of….

The hardest thing I ever learned how to do was…

The superpower that I have is….

Who is your best friend and why?

diy craft stick mason jar projects kids

Share Your Stories with Us
Join us on facebook and share your photos, questions, answers and video clips!  We would love to hear about all the fun you have creating conversations with your kids.