June 21, 2017

What's New with The Barbie Girls Project?

It's been an interesting year so far.  In addition to changes in my professional career, I embarked on a new journey by the release of my debut fiction novel series: The Ellises, Book One: A Place to Call Home with Rebel Ink Press.  The series, inspired by my love of literature and culture, was my go-to writing project for years, and I have much to owe my writing mentor and former Washington Township educator, the late Mrs. Lois Poteet, who sadly passed away a year before I could finalize book 1 for publication.  However, I am blessed to have her artwork gracing the book's cover, so that a piece of her remains with me. 

As you could imagine, getting the book ready for publication has been my main focus - but of course I've also been thinking of what comes next for The Barbie Girls Project.  Certainly, we want to continue helping Child Advocates again this Christmas season, if we are still needed.  Given the stellar year they had, they might not!  And if that's the case, we are happy to move on to focus on other foundling or lesser-known organizations who could use our "girl power" resources.  Our current problem rests with not having a physical address for toy donations, as we previously offered with Sylvan Learning Center.  And quite frequently throughout the year, I receive emails from people who wish to donate used Barbie dolls to us - and at the moment, I don't have the space nor the immediate need for them (unless we plan to do another virtual doll sale yet this year to raise funds for an organization or event). 

Overall, there are a lot of children who live in Central Indiana - encompassing the city of Indianapolis and its suburbs.  Many of the poorest families already receive assistance through several charitable entities; moreover, not all of these families accept gifts for holidays (as well as birthdays) for religious reasons.  It then becomes the issue of simply providing toys for ALL children, just because.  All children are special, and toys are an integral part of their development.  On that note, we'd like to explore some new ideas, and we welcome any and all of your suggestions on how we can reach children in need throughout the year!  Feel free to email us at thebarbiegirlsproject@gmail.com.

-Natasha

January 15, 2017

Congratulations on Another Spectacular Year!

We are so happy in knowing that Child Advocates, Inc. was able to collect over 15,000 toys during the toy drive!  What an amazing group of volunteers, donors, and community we have!  That means ALL of the children in the foster care system who are represented by Court-Appointed Child Advocates have received toys for Christmas!!!!  With such a great response, Indianapolis has proven that it can take care of its local community, and that makes us so proud of the organizations with whom we partnered.  So thank you to all who helped spread the word, and donated your time and money to the cause.  You can read the Child Advocates, Inc. blog here.

December 22, 2016

Updates from the Holiday Toy Drive

The numbers aren't yet in on how many children will receive toys for Christmas, but from all indicators thus far, this year's toy drive was another success!  There were several highlights of the season to report:

  • We established a partnership with The Advancement Center - to help promote the event and serve as an advance drop-off site.  They were very eager to help spread the word, and many generous donations were received.
  • The Girl Scouts of Central Indiana continued to be a valuable asset for promoting the toy drive.
  • Sylvan Learning Center North Indianapolis was once again instrumental as an advance drop-off site.  We appreciate all their assistance in collecting and greeting members of the community who dropped off donations during and even after the dates of the toy drive!  We bid Sylvan a fond goodbye, as their franchise locations in the Indianapolis area have merged with the Northern Indiana network of Sylvan centers.
  • Over $60 was raised from the sale of Barbie dolls donated to us earlier in the year, which we used to purchase new-in-box toys for girls and boys for the toy drive.
  • The remaining 3 dozen donations of Barbie dolls were gifted to needy girls at a local shelter here in town thanks to a new and unexpected partnership established with Grace Church.  Many thanks for helping make that happen so easily!

Once we have the final results, I will post them, as well as photos, for you to see!  Until then, thanks everyone for helping make the season bright for children who need it most!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

- Natasha

October 31, 2016

The 2016 Holiday Toy Drive Has Begun!

We are so pleased and excited to announce that the Child Advocates Inc. toy drive starts today and runs through November 30th.  The Community-Wide Collection Day Event will be on Saturday, December 3rd.

There are 3 great ways you can be of help!

  1. Collect and donate toys for ages 0-14 or gift cards for 14-18.
  2. Contact Nikita Garner to receive a wish-list for a child or sibling group (nikita@childadvocates.net or (317) 493-2227).
  3. Make a monetary donation directly to Child Advocates Inc. (through Nikita) OR if you live in the Indy area and want to help The Barbie Girls Projects' efforts, you can participate in my virtual garage sale for Barbies and what I earn through those sales goes toward the purchase of new toys for the toy drive.  Drop me a line if you wish to purchase Barbies.

Whichever way you would like to help, we appreciate your donations!  2 advance drop-off locations are available for unwrapped TOYS ONLY at the following locations and times today through November 30th:

Sylvan Learning Center North Indianapolis

8450 Westfield Boulevard, Suite 210, Indianapolis, IN 46240

Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.

-OR-

Advancement Center for Washington Township Schools (H. Dean Evans Community Education Center Building)

8550 Woodfield Crossing Boulevard, Indianapolis, IN 46240

Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Suggested Giving for Toys and Gift Cards

For Girls: Barbie clothing sets, arts and crafts sets, baby dolls, bike

For Boys: skateboards, Nerf items, action figures, bike

Gift Cards: Target, Walmart, Aeropostale, fast food restaurants

What's the Collection Day Event?

Last year, the Pillow Logistics Warehouse generously donated the use of their space for housing all toys received so that Child Advocates volunteers and staff were able to sort and allocate gifts to the foster families.  During the event, members of the community were allowed to come to the facility to drop off toys throughout the day if they were not able to drop off donations at the designated advance locations.  This year, the warehouse will still be used, but has a new address, and will ONLY include Child Advocates Inc. employees for Saturday, December 3rd, as well as Monday, December 5th, and Tuesday, December 6th, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. all 3 days.

The Pillow Logistics Warehouse is located at:

5150 West 76th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

October 2, 2016

Virtual Garage Sale In Progress

It’s almost toy drive season again! Although we’ve not received the official word on the particulars of this year’s event as yet, we are doing all that we can to be ready! A great big thanks to all who sent in doll donations this year from all over the world!!! It has been amazing to receive dolls and their vast number of accessories. However, at this time, because we are trying to prepare for the toy drive, we have to go forward with collecting much more than just Barbies – that way, even boys can benefit from receiving toys, too. I want to definitely thank all the lovely ladies who sent us boxes, and because of YOU we can do what we are launching for the month of October: a virtual garage sale for Barbie dolls held in our local vicinity. That way, the dolls are still being used by girls who could need them, plus we are receiving money for them that can be used towards the purchase of brand new toys for girls and boys for the toy drive! I’d say that’s a win-win situation!

Keep in mind, if you would like to help The Barbie Girls Project, please read our homepage description before submitting an inquiry to us. That way, we can be sure to have your donation can be best matched to what we are currently doing. While we USED TO solely collect Barbie dolls and accessories as our means of passing them on to local shelters and places where there are girls who could use them, we expanded our cause last year to Mattel brand toy collections for girls and boys in need so that we could donate toys and cash to the Indianapolis chapter of Child Advocates, Inc. The best way to accomplish this is by the sale of the donated dolls, where 100% of the proceeds are being put right back into the toy drive as the means to purchase brand new toys for the children in foster care. Unfortunately, any of the girls in that demographic cannot use these dolls as part of the toy drive itself, because of the stipulation of presents received needing to be new-in-box. Some of these children may otherwise not have received any new presents of any kind all year. The toy drive, then, is a way to help them feel special. It’s such a great feeling to be of help in that way, and we truly were blessed last year in being part of what turned out to be a banner-year of donations for Child Advocates!

To keep apprised of how the sale is going, check back on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for real-time updates and totals. Feel free to send us your comments or questions, and if you live in the Indianapolis area, contact us to help out our virtual garage sale!

March 6, 2016

Homeless Girls Are in Need

Our newest campaign is to help supply homeless young girls with feminine products and undergarments.  Together along with other groups devoted to this cause, TBGP is collecting such items as sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners, feminine wipes, bras, and underwear to girls who need them.  Contact us if you would like to find out more information on ways you can join us in this worthy cause.

January 14, 2016

Helping in All Seasons

Helping children in need shouldn't have to be limited to the Christmas season. Every day, children in need face challenges at home and school. And when things go wrong at the hands of the people who are caring for them, they often have no hope, no help, and no future until someone or something intervenes. Otherwise, those same children are the ones who grow up to repeat the cycle.

But that's where all of us can do something!!!

By donating time, funds, or resources to provide children with: 1). shelter 2). adequate housing and care, 3). necessities, 4). schooling & medical care, and 5). friendship, we can help shape today's youth into the tomorrow's leaders and achievers, not the next crime news lead.

Places like Indy CASA, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and United Way are just some of the many organizations devoted to youth services. Churches, schools, and even non-youth-related businesses are teaming up to volunteer in whatever ways they can. The saying "it takes a village" holds true; by working together, all are able to help children from all walks of life. This means in any season, any day of the week, and any age. Things like poverty, abuse, and neglect have no boundaries, and can happen at any time!

So the next time you are looking to help children in need, start with the places nearest (or dearest to) you. Your neighborhood. People in your place of worship, school, or work. Keep your ears and eyes open to know of the needs all around you - because chances are, there is always someone who needs something, without you even being aware! And when you help, something amazing will begin to happen. What started as a small neighborhood endeavor might lead to a wider reach as you go, until you find yourself connected to enough people and resources that you are able to accomplish way more than you ever thought possible.

Find a need on VolunteerMatch today!

December 5, 2015

Christmas 2015 Toy Drive for Child Advocates, Inc.

Read all about it on our GoFundMe Page

**Together with the help of countless volunteers, we raised enough for over 3,000 children !**