LEGO Counter

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Why?

It all started in the toy aisle at a Target in 2010. I took my 2 daughters out to do some Christmas shopping. I explained to them on the drive over that this outing to Target was not about buying things for them, but that instead this would be a time to think about others. I did not realize how hard this concept would be for them to understand. It only took 2 minutes in the toy aisle for my girls to start asking, “Dad can I have this? Dad can I have that?”

It didn’t matter how many times I pulled them aside for a refocusing pep talk, they just couldn’t help themselves. The wanted all the toys for themselves.

So I decided to look for opportunities to help teach my kids the importance of generosity, selflessness, and giving.

One opportunity came at church when the girls’ Sunday school class took up a collection for a local charity. What my girls learned that day is that all they need to do is ask mom and dad for money to put in the basket. It was simple and easy. It also lacked one important part to giving, sacrifice.

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Another opportunity was a food drive at their school. The girls loaded up their backpacks with cans of food and lugged them to school. At first I thought this was the perfect teachable moment, however what I noticed, is that they only grabbed items they didn’t like. For them the food drive became a self serving way to eliminate undesirable vegetables and tuna.

I needed to create my own teachable moment.

When my kids were old enough they learned to love LEGO just like their old man. With our shared love of LEGO it seemed every time we went to the store we would end up in the LEGO aisle picking out something new to build together. In December of 2013, once again we found ourselves shopping for LEGO kits.

unspecified-21I let my daughters both pick out a box, letting them believe that the LEGO would be theirs to keep. When we got home I explained to them that we would not be building the LEGOs but instead we would be gift wrapping them to give away. They weren’t too thrilled about it at first, but they finally got the point about sacrificial giving. Kids don’t understand the value of money, but they do understand the value of toys.

Those two LEGO boxes started it all. That first year we ended up giving away around 60 sets. Our second year we gave away close to 100 sets. All the LEGO we collected those first two years were paid for from auctioning off my artwork at certain events where I was a guest speaker. unspecified-16In 2015, we had the opportunity to partner with three new organizations, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, The Julian Center, and Dotted Line Divas. With our new partnerships the amount of LEGO needed tripled. This gave birth to the Chalkguy LEGO Christmas Drive. With the help of several churches, church youth groups, private donors, and local business, last year we collected 423 sets valued at over $10,000. That’s was three times more than what we collected in 2014.

This year, our goal is to raise 600 sets, and not only work with our existing partners, but add two new partners to the line up. 

I have come to see brick play as not only a fun activity for the whole family, but also a great way to help kids much needed life skills like creativity, patience, resilience, social skills and team work. I’ve even written a couple of books about it!

Let’s face it, LEGOs are a lot of fun and they’re good for us too!

Who?

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Hi! I’m Ben Glenn also known as the Chalkguy! I’m a speaker, artist and author who loves to play with LEGO! I’ve been a passionate lover of brick play since childhood. I’ll be honest and admit that I lost touch with my passion once I graduated high school. Once I had kids though, it all came back with a vengeance!

The Chalkguy LEGO Drive is a personal project that I created to share my love of LEGO with kids who don’t have a LEGO kit of their own. Since 2013 I’ve expanded our reach to also include schools looking to use LEGO in the classroom, local children’s hospitals, Church outreach programs, and a few others. Lets just say our need for LEGO has grown!

If you have LEGOs that are looking for a good home, I’m going to help them get there!

FAQs

Are you 501c3 non-profit?

Not yet! This project was started as a teaching tool for my kids, and we never really envisioned it growing as it has. Logistically and financially we are not quite ready to take a leap to the 501c3 status. However, we have been fortunate to secure a fiscal sponsor for this project – Mercy Road Church – which means that your financial donations are tax deductible! You just need to make your checks out to Mercy Road Church, and put LEGO Project in the Memo line.

Why LEGO?

My girls have always loved LEGO and I wanted them to give something that was dear to them. Plus LEGO is the best, and only the best will do.

What types of LEGO do you collect?

We collect new and used LEGO.

What happens to the used LEGO?

Some of the LEGO is donated to local schools to be used in the classroom. Some LEGO is used in the LEGO Leadership workshop. And some is auctioned off on eBay to raise money to buy new LEGO sets to give away.

Who receives the LEGOs?

All LEGO sets go to kids ages of 6 – 15. 75% of these kids come from urban and underprivileged communities. We facilitate the distribution of the LEGO through partnerships with various community, religious and educational groups. Our current partners are: TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Mercy Road Church, Dotted Line Divas, & Julian Center

How can I help?
  1. Donate money. 
  2. Collect used LEGO (No MegaBlocks or LEGO substitutes please!) and ship it to us. 
  3. Buy and ship us new LEGO sets. I recommend Amazon.com and Target.com for the best prices and free shipping.
  4. Make it a service project for your group to collect used LEGO from your community.
Where do I mail my donation?

Please send your check or LEGO donations to: CMI, Inc, 12664 Tuscany Blvd, Carmel, IN 46032

I’m in Indianapolis, IN. Is there some place I can drop off my donation?

Yes! Please drop off your LEGO donation at
Mercy Road Church, 2381 Pointe Parkway, Carmel, IN 46032

 

Feedback

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING!

“The Lego Christmas Drive Ben Glenn does each year has made an incredible impact in our community!  We gave gifts to all underprivileged students at the local elementary school near our church facility.  Not only did we get lots of thankfulness from families in the community, it also connected people to the life of our church.  In fact, one family is a major part of our church who became followers of Jesus and were baptized.  The mother of the family now runs a pantry to help others’ in need in the very same community!  None of this may have been possible without the incredible generosity of Ben and the Lego Christmas Drive!”

Josh Husmann
Lead Pastor of Mercy Road Church
www.MERCYROAD.ccc

 

“The kids we serve have seen and experienced things some adults couldn’t even imagine. The smiles on the children’s faces and the way their eyes lit up when receiving their very own LEGO set is so heartwarming. The Julian Center is grateful for Ben and his team for the role they play in helping to provide a happy, memorable holiday to our youngest residents.”

Faren Jones
Development and Communications Manager
www.juliancenter.org

 

“Ben Glenn and his Chalkguy Christmas LEGO Drive were such a wonderful addition to our FLL qualifying tournament at the Learning Curve @ Central Library. He not only donated LEGO kits so that each of our almost 200 students received one for free, but also participated in the awards ceremony giving them out. He really brought excitement and fun to the event and I know the kids all loved their LEGOs – it was hard to get them to wait until after they left the event to open the kits!”

Maggie Cline
Program Director, TechPoint Foundation for Youth
www.TechPointYouth.org

 

“Each year Dotted Line Divas passes out holiday gift baskets to families in need and last year Ben provided us with 50 LEGO sets to include in those bags! Many of the kids enjoyed being able to open up such a fun toy during their Christmas celebrations. We’re so grateful for Ben’s partnership and support!”

Christina Huffines
Founder, Dotted Line Divas
www.dottedlinedivas.com

Contact

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Contact Info

ben@giveyourbricks.com

Indianapolis, Indiana