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Million Lego For Kids Making an Impact for Children

Anne Evans Anne Evans Million Lego For Kids Making an Impact for ChildrenMozart's Cafe opened for snow days during the school day to allow children time to play LEGOs.
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There’s a reason why LEGO remains one of the best selling toys of all time. The toy debuted in the late 1940s, but that was enough time for it to be named in Time Magazine’s list of the All-Time 100 Greatest Toys for the 1940s. What began as a set of simple interlocking red and white blocks has grown to a world-wide business of 320 billion blocks and counting. They’re kind of the toy that you never get rid of, and when you see them in a yard sale, you consider yourself extremely lucky to find them!

Non-profit Million LEGO for Kids has been helping get the popular toy into the hands of children, many of whom may not have the opportunity to play with LEGOs due to the toy’s cost.

“Anand Saha, co-owner of Mozart’s Bakery and Piano Café and founder of Million LEGO for Kids, had noticed how focused his youngest son, Colin, became when he was creating with LEGO bricks,” says Joan Harless, who now serves as manager of the non-profit.

“He also realized that sets of LEGO are so expensive they are out of reach for many families,” she says.

In March of 2012, Saha decided to found and underwrite Million LEGO for Kids in order to get sets of LEGO into classrooms, after-school and summer programs in the Clintonville-Beechwold community, as well as surrounding areas. The group collected over 10,000 bricks in the first two months.

Support by cash and in-kind donations, allows Million LEGO for Kids to place the popular building toy into areas serving underprivileged populations.

“And, since LEGO bricks are practically indestructible, we also accept donations of bricks that have been lingering in people’s attics,” says Harless.

Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center, which serves as the fiscal agent for Million LEGO for Kids, received the first donation of bricks for their Kids Club.

“Additionally, we have delivered LEGO sets to Dominion Middle School, Colerain Elementary, Helping Hands Center for Special Needs, Avondale Elementary, the Morse Road location of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, and Gladden House,” says Harless.

Children attending the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services playing with recent LEGO donations from Million LEGO for Kids.

Children attending the Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services playing with recent LEGO donations from Million LEGO for Kids.

The group has a long way to go before reaching that ‘Million LEGO’ mark, having donated about 31,000 to date.

“That is the exciting thing about this charity,” says Harless, “that there’s a lot of room to grow!”

Once all schools, after-school programs, and the like in the Clintonville-Beechwold area are supplied with bricks, plans are to keep expanding until children in Columbus are able to experience the creativity and thought that goes into playing with LEGOs.

“I love being a part of this charity because I know the benefits of creating and collaborating with LEGO bricks are so many,” says Harless. “Not only do kids develop skills in engineering and physics, but creating with LEGO and DUPLO bricks supports artistic and language development, spatial reasoning, fine motor development, the ability to stay focused on a project, and more.”

Million LEGO for Kids will host a benefit concert tonight, Wednesday, May 21st at Mozart’s Cafe. The event begins at 7pm and will feature the Clintonville Community Band, with support from the North Columbus Civitan organization. A donation of $5 per person, $10 per family, or donation of bricks is suggested.

Find Mozart’s Cafe at 4784 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214. For more information about Million LEGO for Kids, visit MillionLEGOforKids.com.

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