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Young Changemaker Brings Giggles to Children

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 by Mihaela Bogdan

Jessica Steinberg started her nonprofit, Giveable Giggles, in 2008, when she was only 13 years-old.JESS

The organization’s mission is to reproduce conditions which create opportunities for children, (specific to their context), to achieve laughter, leadership and learning on a consistent basis. The organization’s activities have been carried out all over the world, including Israel, Jordan, Uganda, Argentina, and India . Right now, Giveable Giggles is currently undergoing an organizational restructuring; this is in order to ensure a genuine long-term impact for the community members we interact with. They are in the process of finding a site (in China) to establish a “Giveable Giggles village.”

Giveable Giggles is an active organization. For the first five years of existence, the nonprofit ran five international programs. The organization and their volunteers collaborated with local nonprofits to personalize programs according to the community needs in, for instance, English education, sports, art & crafts, cultural exchanges. All the programs created were based on an interactive and playful methodology that encouraged laughter. The programs have three main outcomes: laughter, creating a sense of empowerment  and renewed happiness. Local and foreign volunteers play an important role in programming, being involved in coming up with and leading events.

One of the events that it organizes is called Giggle Down the Runway, is held during Fashion Week, when kids paired up with a Giveable Giggles volunteer walk down the runway, with huge spotlight illuminating their confidence and happiness. Before and during the fashion show, some “paparazzi” take pictures of all the kids. A majority of the clothes modeled for the fashion show have been donated.

Some of the events for example created  or participated in have been birthday parties, school lessons, sport matches, meetings with Endeavor and Argentine food making and tasting.

Jessica believes that her success emerged from the countless times she got back up after being knocked down. Jessica is convinced that ” I succeeded because I made mistakes and learned from my failures.”

In setting up her initiative, she has dealt with many challenges. One of them was securing funding, which remains a constant challenge.  Another one was being young. She gradually learned to take these challenges as opportunities to learn, reflect and grow as a person.

Jessica is a very active person. Apart from Giveable Giggles, she is passionate about writing and journalism. She currently writes for four publications. She is also dedicating a lot of her time to her academic studies, as she is studying International Relations and Social Anthropology, in Scotland. Last, but not least, she is beginning to launch a social enterprise in Scotland.

J.S.
Jessica emphasizes that it is more important to be compassionate rather than simply a volunteer. She believes that being compassionate to others, being selfless and putting others first is a state of consciousness that ought to take place every day, through acts of kindness, showing appreciation, offering to help. For her , it is a way to generate a positive impact at the micro, meso and macro level.

Jessica has some pieces of advice for  those who want to follow in her footsteps. She  encourages everyone to ”to whole-heartedly follow your passion. Take a risk, take many risks. Free yourself from your fear of failing. Success may take time, success is formed from mistakes but with dedication, motivation and innovation your goals are possible.” She added: ” passion is the building blocks to greatness, achievement and reason.”

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