• All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club
    Image result for yoyofactory2012-2013 All Wound Up  Image result for yoyofactory
     2012-2013 All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club
    The All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club
     2011-2012 All Wound Up Yo-Yo club
    So... you're checking out the website to learn about the legendary (well... at least in our own minds) All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club, huh?  I'll try to put a positive spin on the ups and downs of the yo-yo revolution that started here at Baker Elementary.  Could I possibly have put more cliche yo-yo terms into one sentence??? Um... probably.  I spared you though... so you didn't feel like you were going around in circles as you read.  Wait, I did it again.  Oh well, you were the one who navigated to this site to begin with.  You could have easily enough logged off before you got here, but now it's too late.  You must read on to know more... so I'll tell ya...
     The All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club started as just a few students wanting to learn some of the yo-yo tricks that I knew.  Once those students learned a few tricks, others wanted to learn as well.  The passion for being able to yo-yo spread like wildfire through 3rd grade.  I decided that the passion the students had would be a great opportunity to teach a life lesson as well.  The lesson of generosity... of giving back to others when we are so very blessed. 
    So, I developed an 8 week session (with 4 separate classes per week).  The was to raise money and awareness for The Children's Institute (amazingkids.org).  The facility is amazing.  It is a rehabilitation facility for children with cognitive and physical needs.  The initial response was overwhelming.  Within 24 hours of sending home the application, I had 32 students registered.  We generated $1,155, and presented the check to Michele Mehal from The Children's Institute.  But we didn't stop there.  I contacted the YoYoFactory in Arizona, who graciously donated VERY GOOD yoyos to the children there.  YoYoFactory is a class act business, and didn't hesitate when they heard what we were doing.  I know the enjoyment that my students receive from playing and practicing, and know it will be a welcomed activity for the children at the Children's Institute. I will make a trip in to teach the children a few tricks, and do a few demonstrations. 
     So, where do we go from here you ask?  Well... maybe you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway.  Again, you were the one who navigated to the site!  We are about to start session two, sometime around the second week of April.  I've added 2 more classes per week to the 4 existing ones.  Our goal this time around remains to raise awareness and money... but this time for Operation Second Chance (operationsecondchance.org).  This organization serves severely wounded, injured, and ill combat veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.  These are the TRUE heroes.  They gave so very unselfishly of themselves for people they had never met.  I have the utmost respect for these men and women.  We continue to be sponsored by YoYoFactory, who is donating 50% of the cost of the "ONE" (specific model) yoyo to Operation Second Chance through the All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club.  Again, they are a class act business.  Think about that... 50% of each yoyo that the students purchase through me here at school goes to those in need.  UPDATE to Operation Second Chance:  We had a very successful session.  We had a great time learning new tricks and making new friends.  In the process, we raised over $2,000 for the men and woman returning from combat overseas. 
    All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club 2012-2013 School Year:   I have changed teaching assignments this year, but the All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club is still going strong.  We are raising money for The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank this year.  Did you know that the food bank serves over 120,000 people a month in our very own city?  Sadly, 30% of that number is comprised of children.  This is a great opportunity for our own children to help other children.  Once again, YoYoFactory has agreed to make custom yo-yos specific to the organization we are supporting (in addition to selling us the yo-yos at cost in order to raise additional funds).  In addition to raising funds, we are also getting ready to start a food drive.  YoYoFactory is providing a gift basket for the classroom that brings in the most food items in our school-wide food drive!  We are having a great time learning new tricks, but more importantly, we are having a great time making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.  
    All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club 2014-2015 School Year: After a year off due to shoulder surgery (Sorry to the students of the 2013-14 school year), the All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club gave it another "go-around." We raised money for the Make-A-Wish foundation. We were so very happy to work with an organization that does so much for so many children in the Pittsburgh area. YoYoFactory once again sold us yo-yos at cost to help us increase our donation. In addition, YoYoFactory sent yo-yos to be used as a reward for the class who donated the most money during our school-wide coin drive. For the first year, our club had Baker yo-yo alumni return to help instruct the new members of the club. We had a great time learning new tricks, making new friends, and raising $1,370 toward the wish of a well-deserving child.
    The All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club 2015-2016 School Year: We raised an amazing $3,589!  $3,000 was to provide a hand-drilled well in a third world country through World Vision. This well will provide much needed clean water, that will not only eliminate thirst, but will also improve the quality of life through a decrease in illness. In addition, we were able to supply five separate micro loans: One loan specifically for a woman, one for a man, one in Africa, one in Asia, and one in Latin America. Through the micro loans, individuals can learn the principals of microfinance loans without being taken advantage of by local moneylenders. With a low interest rate, recipients of World Vision micro loans learn the value of building their own business and repaying a loan so that others can be helped. We didn't stop there. We were also able to provide SEAPC with $200 to help pay for medicine during a medical mission to Laos. Our goal during this session was to think both globally and locally. For our local outreach, we were able to generate $250 for Beverly's Birthdays. This organization provides disadvantaged children with their very first birthday party. The money donated will cover the expenses for 15-30 guests, including: food and beverage, dessert, party entertainment, treat bags, paper products, and decorations.
    YoYoFactory once again partnered with the All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club. They are unbelievable, and actually increased the amount of yo-yos and yo-yo related items donated for the coin drive gift basket. They are always ready to support us in any way possible!
    The All Wound Up Yo-Yo Club 2018-2019 School Year: We donated $4,179.50!

    The money raised supported:

    Save the Children: 10 Childhood Health Essentials Kits sent to Africa, each containing antibiotics and other treatment items for children under the age of 5 - including education for the parents to enable them to recognize and treat illness.

    One Acre Fund: Ending hunger for 12 families in Africa - including over 50 children for one and a half years.

    Easther Children's Home: Sponsored two years of education for a Nepali girl- including room, board, tuition, books, meals.

    Feed Our Students: 200 meal bags for disadvantaged students in Pittsburgh. Providing food over the weekend, each bag contains six meals plus snacks.

    The Braddock Free Store: Diapers, formula, clothing, and other necessities

    Blankets Over Pittsburgh: Provided funds for blankets, sleeping bags, tents, clothing, and first aid supplies for the homeless.

    Light in my City: When it gets dark at night, the homeless can't see what they're eating, can't read, or even have a face to face conversation with a friend. The lack of light can also be dangerous. Light in my City provides hand-crank/solar LED lanterns with AM/FM/Weatherband radios. Our goal is to provide Light, Dignity, and Safety to Pittsburgh's homeless population. You can find more information at lightinmycity.org

    It is truly amazing how much the Baker Family accomplished by working together. We were able to support wonderful organizations both globally, and in our very own city of Pittsburgh!

    This is about so much more than a toy... it truly is.  It is also about how a simple children's toy can make a difference in the lives of people we have never met.  It is about a small toy, in the age of incredible video game graphics, that was the number one holiday gift request in my classroom.  I have heard from a parent that told me their child hasn't turned on their Wii in almost 5 months (since getting his first yo-yo).  I've had kids tell me that they watch less TV.  I've seen students making new friends, and displaying confidence that they never knew they had.  I'm proud to be a small part of this club, and I thank all of the parents and students who have made the club successful. 
    Well... that's it.  When I finish typing this sentence, it will be time for you to go... unless you want to give the information another "go around!"