Charitable work part of Hughes family life
BY IRENE LABOMBARDE
“Search Inward, Look Upward, Reach Outward” is the message inscribed on the brick the Hughes family donated to the newly rebuilt Ann DeNicola Memorial Playground. It is also the philosophy behind the Color My World charity Angela and Brian Hughes founded, along with their children, almost 10 years ago.
“Brian and I just wanted the kids to get involved in service, and this is a way for the whole family to give back,” said Angela Hughes.
Color My World’s first outreach program provides school kits for Third World countries.
“We waste so many things here, and there is such need elsewhere. Even young kids could identify with pencils, crayons, glue. They hear about people who erase homework to reuse the paper, and this takes it to a higher level. Our whole vision was to get kids to do something that matters,” she said.
Her 10-year-old son, Chase, said he loves helping with the school kits.
“We’ve been delivering things to help people who are suffering and can’t afford school supplies. It makes me feel very happy to help them have a better life,” he said.
As the kits have grown in popularity, Color My World has received help from school and Scout groups who collect materials. The kits are stored in a warehouse in Boston, ready to be flown as soon as they are needed. Assembled kits are kept on hand, as well as money to purchase additional supplies.
Approximately $18,000 in school supplies have been donated the past two years.
“We’re not looking at the dollar value, we just want to get the help out there. But having people make even a minimum donation really adds up,” said Hughes.
In addition to school kits, the organization also provides hygiene kits to disaster areas. Hughes said they are considering assisting victims of the recent floods in London, England.
On a more local note, Hughes said Color My World hosted benefit dinners and silent auctions in 2006, raising more than $12,000 for the John Hills family, whose house burned down, and about $13,000 for cancer patient Jacob Schaffner of Goffstown.
Hughes said her biggest regret is that they were on vacation in May 2006 when the Goffstown floods hit.
“We were helping Indonesian earthquake victims at the time, and got a lot of negative feedback. We were looking so globally, we missed what was happening locally. So we pulled out of Indonesia and helped our own neighbors,” said Hughes. That year’s school kits were donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Salem rather than Africa.
She said they hope to stay on the international scene by providing relief kits, but also want to do things that would help Bedford. They have begun a radon awareness campaign, and she said they would like to donate to the libraries at the new schools.
“There is so much need, even in Bedford. It’s hard to decide. We do whatever tugs on our heartstrings, whatever we can do. We’re small, we’re not the Red Cross, so we look at the resources and decide what we can do,” she said.
In July, Color My World donated the plants and labor to help landscape at the playground.
“I had fun putting in the plants,” said Noah Hughes, 7.
Hillary Hughes, 13, was one of 10 youths across the nation honored with a Prudential Spirit of Community Award in 2006. Recognition for her volunteer efforts has been highlighted in magazines, such as Disney Adventure All-Stars and American Girl Magazine. Although she said she doesn’t seek the limelight, she doesn’t mind raising awareness of what Color My World is trying to achieve.
Last November, Hillary attended the New Hampshire Board of Youth Volunteers conference on youth volunteerism at the Wayfarer Inn in Bedford.
“It was a lot of fun. There were about 200 kids there, legislators and senators. For a service project, we collected about 185 school kits to give the Boys and Girls Club,” Hillary said.
In the future, Hughes hopes to establish a youth board for Color My World.
“Our goal is to educate and empower youth to get involved. We have kept the organization tight with our family, and now we hope to have the resources to branch out and bring people in,” she said.
For more information on their projects, awards, media coverage, and how you can get involved, visit www.Colormyworldkids.org. Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007 2:34 PM by Bedford Editor