A helping hand, even if it's tiny, can make a big difference.
Claire Rossow, a pre-kindergarten student at Heritage Elementary, saw that as she hauled a large cardboard box through the gymnasium at Sunnyside Elementary.
Lyla Everett, a first-grade home school student from Olathe, understood it as she carefully selected spiral notebooks for the care package she was putting together.
And Maci Emerick, an eighth-grader at Chisholm Trail Middle School, grasped the concept as she boxed up the assembled care packages.
"It's really cool to see all the changes that can be made in the community," Maci said.
All three students were recent volunteers at KindCraft, a local non-profit organization started by Courtney Smith, an Olathe mom of two who wanted to create volunteer opportunities that families could do together.
Each month, KindCraft brings together families from across Johnson County to participate in hands-on service activities that benefit different charities. The activities range from painting mugs for cancer patients seeking support from Gilda's Club Kansas City to packing bare necessity bags for the homeless for Evolve Outreach Inc.
Families might also be found pouring rice, soy, dried vegetables and vitamins into individual meals for Something to Eat.
At May's event, volunteers assembled 500 bags with pencils, colored pencils and notebooks to be used by Mission Southside this summer as they visit area children. The local organization serves the hungry and homeless population in Johnson County.
Whatever the activity, the focus is always the same: finding ways to engage children in helping others.
"We really want the kids to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it, so it has to be something physical or hands-on," Smith said.
"It's got to be something that can be accessible to a variety of ages because we have everything from 3-and 4-year-olds, all the way up through middle and high school kids who come with their family."
The idea for KindCraft began in 2015 when Smith and her friend, Stephanie Whisner, were looking for service-related activities they could do with their young kids.
"We kept hitting stumbling blocks," Smith said. "We could find things, but a lot of them were like, 'We need these supplies,' and we might go and buy supplies, but then our kids don't really see the connection with what we are doing."
Smith wanted to find something more interactive that helped her children — Tyler, 11, and Brady, 8 — see the impact they could have in the community.
After finding an idea on Pinterest about making no-sew fleece blankets, Smith and Whisner decided to spend a night in December of 2015 making blankets for others. They invited a few other families to join as well and reserved space in the gymnasium at Sunnyside Elementary in Olathe.
"It was really cool to see so many different ages come together and the parents chatting. It just felt like a total bonding experience," Smith said.
After many of the parents shared pictures on social media, more families wanted to participate, and Smith and Whisner set out to find another volunteer opportunity.
"After that we were like, OK, 'I feel like this is a calling for us.' I feel like somehow this was meant to be and we need to keep going with this," Smith said. "It just kind of spiraled from there."
By April of 2016, they had named the group and had officially become a non-profit organization.
Today, most of the monthly events are capped at 300 participants and usually fill up in a matter of days after an activity is announced.
Due to its popularity, the organization has also created a Kindcraft kit that includes instructions on how to host three of the organization's most popular events for those who can't make it to the monthly meetings or just want to host their own party.
Whisner's family has moved to Iowa, but Smith continues to watch in amazement as the organization continues to grow.
"It is a lot of work...and so sometimes I get overwhelmed with that, but then every single month we have an event and it's just so rewarding," she said.
KindCraft's success, in part, has been because its mission resonates with so many parents.
"It's pretty cool to have kids realize they can do things to help other people by just giving their time," said Tyler Brannen, an Olathe resident who attended the May event with his children.
But perhaps more importantly, it has also resonated with the children.
"I like helping people in need because it's good to do this stuff," said McKenna Lee, a first-grader at Morse Elementary School, before turning to assemble another bag of supplies.
To learn more about KindCraft, visit kindcraft.org.