In The News

Elkhart seventh grader debuts Janis' Care and Share Inc. nonprofit

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By Allison Preston, Morning News Co-Anchor
Posted: Mar 23, 2016 10:16 AM EST -article

ELKHART -

A seventh-grader at John Young Middle School is inviting the public to the grand opening of the new non-profit, Janis' Care and Share Inc, inspired by her passion to help others.

Janis White started the outreach program to help those in the community who are in need, she also hopes it inspires others in the community to care and share with their neighbors.

Janis' Care and Share Inc will be holding an open house on April 16 from 2-4 p.m. and on April 17 from 1-3 p.m. The public is invited to tour the new space located in the Shepherd's Cove building at 347 W. Lusher Ave in Elkhart.

White's passion for community service started at age three. Since then she has donated 133,355 items to the community including 2,306 pounds of food, collected $4,5609.00, and has given 6,576 volunteer hours to her community service work.

For more information on volunteering or donating, call 574-370-4418 or email janiscareandshare@gmail.com.

Janis' current project list includes the following:

1. Care and Share Hospital Care Bags- including newborn hats, chemo care bags, and wait room activity bags

2. Care and Share Activity bags- serving nursing home residents and children

3. Care and Share Sports kits- for kids who might not be able to afford equipment to play

4. Care and Share Meal Bags- for afterschool meals and homeless care

5. Care and Share Book Bags- for hospitals, nursing homes, reading programs and children needing reading hours

6. Care and Share Trauma/ Foster Care Bags- for first nights away from home or emergency situations to bring comfort

7. Care and Share Homeless Bags- to provide blankets, personal care items and meals to our homeless population

8. Care and Share Clothing Bags- to provide to homeless clothing pantries and those in need

9. Send a Card, Send a Smile- Cards for our Military, nursing home residents, and those in the community

10. Care and Share Personal Care Bags- Providing personal care items to many in the community

11. Care and Share Animal Care Bags- Providing zoo enrichment items and animal care foods and products to zoos, animal shelters and rescue units

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 Janis Care and Share now a non-profit     

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MISHAWAKA — Tax-exempt status was recently obtained by Janis Care and Share Inc., making in a 501(c)3 organization.

Now, according to Janis’ founder Janis White, contributions donated to Janis Care and Share Inc. are fully tax-deductible.

“Obtaining 501(c)(3) status is a major milestone for Janis Care and Share Inc.,” 13-year-old White, founder and executive director of the program, said. “This opens many doors for us to expand fundraising activities and fully realize my goals as a charitable organization. It is my mission to encourage others to care and share in the community and to reach out to help others.”

Janis, who is a seventh-grader at John Young Middle School, started Janis Care and Share Inc., an outeach program to help those in the community who are in need and to encourage others to care and share.

She got started in community service at age 3 when she saw a news show about a girl who was hurt by her father and wanted to help. Her grandma told her that if she cared about something she has the power to change it. Since then, she has donated more than 130,089 items to reach needs in the community and to bring joy to others. She is also a member of the Mishawaka Care and Share 4-H Club that she started to help other kids like her Care and Share.

Janis has launched outreach projects to promote care and share initiatives and is currently working on 10 projects:

• Care and Share a Meal Bags: Food collections to help support local food pantries

• Care and Share Hospital Care Bags: Handmade newborn hats, chemo care and share bags, items to bring comfort to those in cancer care, including lemon drops, puzzle books, Kleenex, pens, lip balm, personal care items, hats, scarves, books, etc.

• Care and Share activity bags: Coloring books crayons, adult coloring books with color pencils

• Care and Share Sports equipment bags: Gently used and new sporting equipment to provide equipment to kids who might be able to afford to purchase the equipment.

• Care and Share Book Bags:Provide books in backpacks to hospitals, and reading programs in the community

• Care and Share foster care bags: Providing items of need for first night away from home like blanket, stuffed animal, PJs socks, and underwear packed in a suitcase or backpack

• Care and Share homeless bags: Snacks, personal care items, lip balm sun screen, water hats, winter warmth items and other items, including blankets and warm clothing, carts. Janis recently donated 140 blankets to Chicago and the Michiana Five for the homeless.

• Care and Share clothing bags: Providing clothing to homeless and clothing pantries and shelters

• Send a Card, Send a Smile: Providing nursing home residents, military, veterans with a card and small gift

• Care and Share personal care bags: Providing personal care items to military, homeless, shelters, pantries and many others in the community

• Care and Share animal care bags: Providing zoo enrichment items and animal care foods and products to the local zoo, and animal shelters and rescue centers

Janis is conducting a giving drive for any and all of the above items.

For more information or for donation pickup, call or email at janiscareandshare@gmail.com, or visit https://www.facebook.com/JanisCareAndShareOrganization/ or http://janiscareandshare.org/

sbtSharing and caring at a young age

MISHAWAKA — By age 3, Janis White already wanted to help others when she started looking for ways to help children who are abused.

She is now going into sixth grade and is in the top 50 finalists for Build-a-Bear Workshop’s Huggable Heroes nationwide contest.

Janis’ Care and Share Bags officially began in 2008 when Janis was only 6 years old. She began with collecting about 1,300 items to send to U.S. troops. As the years passed, her program grew with her, donating items also to the homeless, art programs, children at hospitals, nursing homes and many more. So far this year, she has helped donate almost 8,000 items, more than 1,600 pounds of food, about $4,500 dollars and more than 4,000 volunteer hours.

“I really just love helping people,” Janis said. “Ever since I was little and saw this news story about this little girl who was abused, I’ve just wanted to help.”

Janis’ work doesn’t just end with her. She has also involved local groups from throughout the community, including the Mishawaka 4-H Club she belongs to. The 64-member club has now helped donate more than 3,000 knitted infant hats this year alone.

In addition to her volunteer work, Janis also manages to find time to compete in local pageants, many of which are large contributors to her donated items.

“She hasn’t had as much time lately with the Care and Share program keeping her busy, but she has been in many pageants that were more community service oriented,” said Marcia Stewart, Janis’ grandmother.

Stewart said Janis’ program is wonderful because it is geared toward different groups of people, from babies to homeless to those in need.

Shannon Herman, the senior public relations “bear” for Build-a-Bear Workshop’s Huggable Heroes program said Janis was one of about 500 entries from throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The program, which was created in 2004, was designed to recognize young people in the community and young entrepreneurs.

The 10 winners of the Huggable Heroes contest will be announced sometime during this upcoming week, and they will receive a $5,000 scholarship toward their education and $2,500 toward a charity of their choice.

“Janis is the perfect example of young people making an impact in their communities,” Herman said. “She is doing outstanding work, and we hope she will continue to make a difference.”

Janis said she feels confident she will be selected as one of the winners of the contest, but will continue her work even if she doesn’t. Her next goal is trying to make her Care and Share Bags into an official 5013-C nonprofit and expand.

“I want the program to get bigger so we can help more people,” Janis said. “I think we can do it.”

A Holiday Challenge

1,000 sock challenge

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Elkhart girl's giving is not just an act

"Dear Miss Sue," the letter began. In December, Sue Frost-Mayes, education director at Premier Arts theater organization, received a hand-written note from a member of the downtown Elkhart theater group. "I have my own help program called Janis' care and share program," it continued. "I would like to give Scholarships to people who are in need." The letter contained $100 in cash. "Enclosed is
JANIS_NWS_JFS_0305.jpg
Eight-year-old Janis White, right, laughs with instructor Jane Santerre during a Premier Arts dance mini-camp at the Railroad Museum Theater Saturday, March 5, 2011. White has raised over $200 that she donated to Premier Arts for scholarships for other students. Currently she is writing a cookbook to raise more scholarship funds. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)|123921 (AP)
 

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 7, 2011 at 3:27 a.m.
ELKHART -- "Dear Miss Sue," the letter began.

In December, Sue Frost-Mayes, education director at Premier Arts theater organization, received a hand-written note from a member of the downtown Elkhart theater group.

"I have my own help program called Janis' care and share program," it continued. "I would like to give Scholarships to people who are in need." The letter contained $100 in cash.

"Enclosed is enough money for 4 mini-camp scholarships," it went on. "can you please give these to people who need them? I am planning to get more. thank you, Janis White"

Janis has appeared in three recent Premier Arts' musical productions and Frost-Mayes believes she may be headed for even bigger roles. Still, the gesture surprised Frost-Mayes, because Janis is only eight years old.

Janis' grandmother, Marcia Stewart, said that since the remarkably young age of three the girl has made a mission of providing for needs beyond her own.

The sight of a child wearing tattered shoes prompted Janis to conduct a shoe collection drive. The next year, she set out to collect personal items desired by U.S. troops overseas. Stewart taught the youngster to crochet, which Janis practices by putting end rows onto the caps that the two create for infants at local hospitals.

Janis' preoccupation with charity took form, her grandmother said, when at 31/2 years old she saw a news report about TaraNova Glick. Janis was the same age TaraNova was then when she was killed by her mother's abusive boyfriend. Stewart remembers her granddaughter's response.

"She turned around to me and said, 'Grandma, I need to help that little girl.' We told her that if she cares about something enough, she can make a change."

Janis cares a lot. The year after the shoe drive, she enlisted Stewart's help to hook up with a group that sends care packages to U.S. troops overseas. Last year, sheorganized a collection of 2,250 socks, hats and gloves that went to the Center for the Homele South Bend. She also organized her charitable efforts by naming one "Project Shelter Care," another "Project Infant Caps" and one "Scholarship Programs."

Then the budding actress noticed that attendance was down at the Premier mini-camps she loves to attend. She asked Frost-Mayes why.

"I told her I didn't know, but that maybe they didn't have the money right now," Frost-Mayes said.

The donation Janis subsequently made will pay for four students to attend Premier Arts' vocal, dance and acting mini-camps. And more scholarship money is on the way, Janis promised.

"We're doing a cookbook. My grandma is helping me test the recipes and people have been sending money in for it. And, sometimes I find money around the house," she said.

Her family encourages her concern for others. Stewart and her husband attend church at the Salvation Army. Janis often spends the weekend at their house and tags along. Mom Shawnna Stewart thinks her daughter might also be mature for her age because most of her siblings are considerably older.

"It's all her. It's really important to Janis to do things herself," Stewart said.

It doesn't look as though Janis plans on changing her generous attitude anytime soon. Last week -- true to her word -- she showed up at voice camp with another $80 in scholarship money.