What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m not really sure yet.
What’s your favorite food? Steak.
What’s your weird talent? According to his mom, Brad has an excellent memory for baseball statistics and can name an individual player’s stats off the top of his head.
Who inspires you and why? My mom, who came up with the idea for me.
Especially during the month of July when we’re celebrating our country’s history, it’s important to take time to remember our troops stationed around the world. Thirteen-year-old Brad Steinweg of Lansing doesn’t need a holiday to remember the troops, though—he’s been sending care packages to soldiers for the past two years.
Through his project, Samples for Soldiers, Brad collects toiletries, bags of snacks, magazines and other small comforts from home to send to soldiers. And it all started as a simple school project.
"When he was in sixth grade we were homeschooling him and I gave him an assignment to do a service project. I gave him a bunch of choices to do and he picked that one," says Brad’s mom, Carrie. "We did one big mailing and he asked if we could keep doing it. We still have donations coming in, so we’ve just continued it."A collection box is housed at the Lansing Public Library where anyone can make a donation. About once a month Brad and his mom send packages to soldiers they know through friends or who they find through anysoldier.com, focusing first on soldiers from Illinois. The packing process becomes a family event, with younger siblings helping to put together boxes and occasionally adding pieces of hand-drawn artwork. The main cost of Samples for Soldiers is postage for the packages, so Brad added a place for people to donate money at the library and he’s received some monetary donations from a local Kiwanis group.
So far Brad has sent out about 90 packages through Samples for Soldiers. "I just hope for the same stuff, more and more supplies, so we can keep sending them," he says.
His mom, however, is more vocal about the impact her son’s charitable work is making on our armed forces.
"He’s gotten so many e-mails and letters from people thanking him," she says. "He gets pictures from them, Iraqi money and certificates from different units. They’re really appreciative."
If you’re interested in donating items to Samples for Soldiers, stop by the Lansing Public Library, 2750 Indiana Ave., Lansing, or call (708) 474-2447.
Know a great kid age 14 and under who’s done something amazing? E-mail information to firstname.lastname@example.org.