#RealWishes Recap: How We Gave Back

This December has been all about #RealWishes. We’ve been giving back in our community and encouraging our girls to join in and help make a difference, no matter how big or small.

We kicked off our project by asking our girls to share their #RealWishes with us, and Iskra surprised our winners with a PJ party. Congrats again to the Sigma Kappa Theta Theta chapter at Albright College! These girls give back to their community all year with monthly visits to their local senior living home, and we were so excited to celebrate them.

Check out more of our #RealWishes below!

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1. #RealWishes & REAL dogs!

We collected pet toy and supply donations for Animal Friends, then hosted a puppy break with adoptable and therapy dogs.

2. Sweet break at the University of Pittsburgh 

We surprised Pitt students with a much-needed coffee and sweets break during finals week.

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3. Mini Christmas trees at the Ronald McDonald House

Families stay at the Ronald McDonald House while their kids receive treatment at Children’s Hospital, and many will still be there over the holidays. We brought dinner and mini Christmas trees for them to decorate so they could feel a little piece of home while they’re away during tough times.

4. Local women’s shelters

We visited two Pittsburgh women’s shelters this month. We brought cozy accessories and sweet treats to the first group of women, and treated the next group to care packages and manicures.

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It’s been a big month! Thank you for joining in, and keep sharing your #RealWishes with us.

 

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25 Ways To Give Back #RealWishes

To us, the holidays are about giving back. Whether you’re donating toys to kids in need or just holding the door for someone, it’s easy to make real wishes come true. Throughout the month, we’re giving back to our communities and sharing our #RealWishes along the way.

We want you to join! Check out our list of 25 easy acts of kindness and share how you’re making a difference with #RealWishes on social.

  1. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
  2. Bake cookies for your colleagues.
  3. Send a note to a friend.
  4. Donate toys or supplies to pets at a local animal shelter.
  5. Buy a meal for a homeless person.
  6. Compliment someone amd tell them they’re beautiful.
  7. Write a note of encouragement and leave it in a random place.
  8. Sit with someone who is eating alone.
  9. Buy groceries for someone behind you in line.
  10. Give an extra generous tip to a server.
  11. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  12. Say hello to five strangers today.
  13. Write a note to thank someone who positively influenced your life.
  14. Donate books to your local library.
  15. Shovel snow from an elderly person’s driveway or sidewalk.
  16. Send flowers to someone who is having a rough day.
  17. Shop at a small, family-owned business.
  18. Donate Christmas presents to a local charity.
  19. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
  20. Leave a treat for your mailman.
  21. Donate your clothes to a non-profit thrift store.
  22. Hold the door for someone.
  23. Send a care package to an active duty military unit.
  24. Donate board games to the Children’s Hospital.
  25. Leave $1 in a random spot with a note encouraging others to pay it forward this holiday season.

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How are you giving back this year? Comment below & tell us!

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Help Us Give 20,000 Back Packs to Students in High-Need Communities

As we know all too well, students in high-need communities can face many barriers in their pursuit of a high-quality education. Having access to school supplies doesn’t have to be one of them. That’s why American Eagle Outfitters, STATE Bags, and Teach For America are teaming up to give away 20,000 backpacks to students across the country – with your critical support.

For every STATE backpack purchased at American Eagle Outfitters this back-to-school season, we’ll be giving away a backpack to a child in need.  You can click here to purchase the backpacks online or find your local American Eagle Outfitters store here and turn your next shopping trip into one with far-reaching benefits.

Our partnership will equip students across 20 urban and rural communities with the supplies they need to enter the classroom ready to learn. In addition to receiving STATE bags, students at participating schools will also receive essential tools such as pencils, crayons and binders.

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In New York and Los Angeles, we’re excited for students to receive their bags during STATE’s signature bag drop events – motivational rallies led by STATE’s dedicated team of “PackMen” and “PackWomen” that leave participating kids with a renewed spirit and belief in themselves. Packmen and Packwomen are experienced child development specialists who grew up in low-income neighborhoods themselves and serve as role models and mentors.

In addition to purchasing bags to support deserving students, you can donate at the register of American Eagle Outfitters stores to support Teach For America. Funds will be matched by the retailer – up to $100,000 – to help Teach For America recruit, train, and place committed individuals to serve in our nation’s highest-need classrooms and open doors of opportunity to students.

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Our three organizations are committed to providing all students with access to opportunities that will allow them to succeed in school and life. We’re thrilled that with your support we can put essential school supplies into the hands of 20,000 students and can help make the 2015-16 school year one that’s filled with endless promise and potential.

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AEO, STATE & Teach for America “GiveBackPack”

You walk to the register to buy your annual new backpack. The usual scenario plays out. You decide which color suits your vibe, pull it off the rack to check out all the features, throw it on to make sure it’s comfy and then of course casually glance in the mirror. You then decide, “Yup…I’m getting this bag.”

Maybe it’s not a big deal to spend $59. Perhaps you’ve been working all summer to pay for the bag you’ve been coveting since seeing it in the American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) stores. Or maybe it’s a future gift from your parents. Whatever the case may be, we want to say thank you. Because you’re not just buying a backpack for yourself, through your purchase AEO will donate another STATE backpack to a local child in need.

Back in 2009, we created Camp POWER – a nonprofit summer camp for hundreds of kids growing up in Brooklyn’s most underfunded, turbulent neighborhoods. The goal of the program was to get kids out of the loud, hot city. But more than that, we wanted to provide positive role models, and give kids a space to try different things and meet new friends. A place that allows them to simply act their age. So many kids in these neighborhoods grow up far too fast. What our program does is slow down the speed of life, and remind them of their incredible value and remarkable potential.

Each summer, we witnessed countless kids carrying all their belongings in trash bags. It became more and more clear that in addition to a week away from Brooklyn, the kids also needed new bags, new jackets, shoes, and a whole bunch of “stuff.” But we also noticed that “stuff” could only go so far. It was encouragement from aspirational figures and love that would propel them to beat the odds stacked against them. All of this inspired us to create STATE Bags.

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We built STATE on two cornerstones: 1) for every bag sold, one will be donated to an American child in need – bringing the buy one give one model to our own backyard, and 2) providing inspirational role models in the STATE PackMen/Women – young men and women who have successfully risen from the very neighborhoods we help serve. This is what our GiveBackPack Program is all about.

So as you make your way to the register this season with your (very) cool new bag, take pride in the fact that you’re not just wearing a backpack, but a GiveBackPack. A statement that you made a choice to help improve the world around you.

Thank you to American Eagle Outfitters, its millions of dedicated customers, and Teach For America for making our dream come true in donating thousands of brand new bags – packed with supplies donated by AEO associates – to kids across the US this back to school season.

We promise that every purchase makes a difference. STATE and AEO have your back!

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