Teaching a 5 year-old about charitable giving isn’t necessarily easy. At that age, the mindset most likely exhibited by a child is this:
“This is mine and I’m going to keep it!”
The Grossery Gangers
Teaching compassion and the need for charitable endeavors in our lives becomes increasingly harder if you involve giving away the one true love of your child. In this case, it’s Jett’s Grossery Gang collection. If you want to see Jett discussing his collection, check out his YouTube channel.
Jett initially devised an idea to set up a web site to trade his duplicate Grossery Gangers. After I explained to him that this would be possible to do, it would take a lot of time and work to accomplish. We realized that although it would be a great learning experience for him, I really didn’t have enough time to make it happen anytime soon. We decided to save that idea for later.
Instead, Jett had another idea of how to handle his duplicate Grossery Gangers. One day, he looked at a Grossery Gang figure while making a painting, as he often does (Figure 1).
He looked over to me and said:
Daddy, let’s make Grossery Gang bracelets that we can give to our friends.
He explained to me that he wanted to share his collection with people in his family and his friends. I thought this was a great idea, so we headed over to JoAnne’s to get some bracelet making materials. I must have been our lucky day because these materials were all on sale! (Figure 2).
Making the Bracelets
Although Jett had the idea of making these bracelets and giving them away, we had to work together to figure out how to actually produce them. The characters are rubber, so drilling through them isn’t exactly clean and easy, even with a sharp drill bit. We had to do a little brainstorming down in the shop to come up with a solution. This type of problem solving is great when you are 5!
After a bit of experimenting, we decided to melt a hole through them with a soldering iron (with me doing the work, of course!) as shown in Figure 3. On some characters, we had a great laugh because the melted rubber formed ears on the character! You can see the holes that have been melted on the characters on the right side of the vice.
Once the holes were made, the fun began. We unpacked our beads, stretchy string, and other things and got to work (Figure 4).
Jett had to learn about symmetry, bracelet design, color selections, and other things that I wanted to be a part of the Jett Black Experiment (Figure 5). He also learned about sizing and assembling the bracelets.
The Charitable Mission
At this point you may be wondering how this work is charitable? Well, while making the first batch of bracelets for Jett, Colton, Sarah, Mom, and Me (Figure 5), we discussed making some additional bracelets and selling them.
With the proceeds generated, Jett is going to give the money to a charity of his choice. It might be an Angel tree purchase, or it might be some other charity. Once he collects the money, produces the bracelets, mails the bracelets to the new owners, he is going to decide how to give the money away before Christmas!
Well, that’s not quite the end of the story. By his very nature, Jett is a negotiator. At first, he wanted to keep all the money. After negotiating with him, I told him that he can keep enough of the money to buy new materials if he needs them, but all the remaining money had to go to the charity of his choice. After thinking about it for a minute, he agreed that he would do that. He actually told me that it was a good idea to do that. He also wanted to put more than one Grossery Ganger per bracelet, but I convinced him that one was good enough and that he had to make as many bracelets as he could using his duplicates.
Call To Action
If any readers want to support Jett in his Grossery Gang charitable mission in November-December 2016, all you have to do is send him a request in the mail with a donation between between $3 and $7. I thought about making this easy via Paypal, but I want Jett to comprehend the receipt of the donation, making the bracelet, and giving the money away. I want this to be as real as it can be for him, including making the bracelet tailored for each person.
You can ask for a particular character or color scheme, or you can even request a ring! (Figure 6).
You should also tell us if this is for an adult or child so it can be sized properly. Please mail your check (made out to Ken Black) and specific request to:
Mr. Jett Black
10343 Nora’s Path Lane
Knoxville, TN 37932
This is a limited-time offer good through December 15, 2016, so that the bracelets can be delivered in time for Christmas. Thanks for your support!
P.S. There will be a group of these headed over to Africa, in the name of Alteryx for Good, as shown below.
Update January 2017
Jett wanted to say thank you to everyone that bought Grossery Gang bracelets for his charitable project. He was able to purchase a special gift for a special person in a small town in Tennesse. This gift was wildly successful, we are told, as the recipient immediately opened the gift and was very happy. In fact, this special persons love Alabama football, and tonight the national championship game will be played. We suspect he will be wearing his Alabama gear for the game tonight!