Rozanda Thomas, best known as Chilli from the iconic R&B group TLC, has a passion for her community and for education. Chilli has established a foundation, Chilli’s Crew, that helps young ladies achieve and maintain positive self esteem and self respect for themselves. Additionally, Chilli has become a spokesperson for the the Box Tops for Education Program, which is the nation’s largest school fundraising program which offers parents and kids easy, everyday ways to earn cash for their school.
Last month, Lamar and I had the pleasure of meeting Chilli when we hosted the Box Tops for Education Townhall Panel at the Blogalicious 2012 Conference. In addition to Chilli, the panel included: Tommy Hillman, the Brand Manager of Box Tops for Education and Multicultural platforms, Dr. Jackie Jackson Fleming, President of the LifeLearn Association, an education consulting firm that is based in Maryland, and Natasha Nicholes of “Houseful of Nicholes.” Natasha is minister’s wife, and a mom of four, and has been a Box Tops Coordinator since 2004.
The focus of the Panel was to discuss how we can help our kids through programs like Box Tops and to discover new ways to get involved in our communities. I really loved that we had a panel balanced with educators and parents because it really gave us different perspectives and ideas on how to support our kids in their educational journeys.
For instance, we asked Chilli how she got her community excited about fundraising. Chilli told us that at one time she was a very private person. But, she realized that she needed to be a part of her community and she needed to know her neighbors. Now, Chilli can be found talking to her neighbors and stopping folks in the supermarket to talk about the Box Tops program (and healthy eating.) Chilli has also gotten her family and friends involved. Her married sister, who does not have any kids, is now clipping Box Tops and sending them to Chilli. It’s good to know that even a superstar like Chilli is doing something that we call can do: get to know our neighbors and motivate them to support educational programs at the schools such as Box Tops for Education.
Additionally, Natasha Nicholes stole the show as she provided many examples on how to get the schools, parents and children involved in the Box Tops programs. When asked how to get the middle school-aged kids interested in box tops, Natasha said buy gift cards to places that age group likes, such as Game Stop; you have to meet them on their level.
Finally, Dr. Jackson Flemming made an awesome point. She said she really appreciated the Box Tops for education program because it gives schools the opportunity to expose kids to things beyond just what they need like science equipment, musical instruments, and updated text books . The funds from the program can also be used to expose the kids to a variety of cultural experiences that they otherwise would not have.
BMWK – how are you involved in your kids’ school and educational process? Do you volunteer, talk to the teachers, and support education at home?
Disclosure: Lamar and I are paid spokesbloggers for the Box Tops For Education program. We will be providing information and stories throughout the school year in hopes of encouraging our community to take advantage of the millions of dollars that are being given to schools across the country each year. All opinions expressed are our very own.