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Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service

4/13/2008 - 07:34 PST

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Author Interview with Lisa Umina, Milo and the Green Wagon: A Life Lesson to Give
By Lisa M. Hendey

With her newest book Milo and the Green Wagon: A Life Lesson to Give, Lisa Umina helps parents teach their children about the importance of acts of community service. Uminas lovable character Milo rescues an old, broken-down green wagon from the trash and proceeds to use it, with the aid some very special children, to change our world for the better. Milo and his buddies canvas their neighborhood with a mission: ACT Action Changes Things. Before they know it, their small green wagon is overflowing with donated food, clothing, and blankets for those in need.

Beyond simply coming up with a cute picture book, Lisa Umina is a woman on a mission: to use this story to inspire children to take up acts of service and to become instruments of Christ to others. A case in point is the special event Umina is planning in conjunction with the St. Augustine Hunger Center in Cleveland, Ohio on April 19. Umina hopes that schools, churches and families will respond to the very real need of rising hunger and diminishing resources in our communities today.

Milo and the Green Wagonis a true gift for families. This precious story teaches children that they, too, can make a difference in our world by reaching out to people in need. Small efforts can add up to tremendous results! Author Lisa Umina and Milo teach us that there is true joy in giving to others. I am pleased to share the following interview with author Lisa Umina and to support the work of ACTMission.org.

Q: Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Lisa Umina and I am the owner of Halo Publishing International. I not only publish books but I also enjoy a successful career as an author, motivational speaker, missionary and literary consultant.

Q: For those who have not read the previous Milo books, please introduce the character and share how you came up with the concept.

Milo was designed as a little angelic figure, often confused as a bear or goat or a piece of Swiss cheese. He is my angel that uses humor to teach us about life's frustrations in a thoughtful and light-hearted way.

Q: Please tell us about the latest Milo book, Milo and the Green Wagon. Where did the idea come from and what message do you hope to spread with this book?

Milo and the Green Wagon: A Life Lesson to Give is an endearing tale based on a true story drawn from my own childhood. Similar to an experience shared as a youngster with my brother David, Milo and his friends find an old, discarded green wagon and decide to fix it up and use it to collect food and clothing for those in need. This heartwarming story teaches children about generosity, selflessness and, most importantly, about love and respect for all people, no matter what their stature in life. As you read through Milos journey with your child, he or she will learn what it means to donate and will realize the good that comes from a mission such as Milo s, a mission he calls: ACT Action Changes Things. The story will entice the reader right up until the very end when Milo and his friends compassion is rewarded with a surprise Visitor at Sunday service; a Visitor that makes all of their acts of kindness well worth the effort.

Q: Could you please say a few words about ACTMission.org and the work you are doing to empower children in service and to end hunger?

We are a catalyst for hunger centers around the country. We will use new book, , Milo and the Green Wagon to spark interest in starting more food drives with schools and other organizations with the purpose of promoting Action Changes Things (ACT) Mission food drives.

Q: What can families do to make a difference in their communities?

Families can volunteer at local hunger centers to prepare and cook an evening meal; they can donate items, like food, clothing, blankets and toiletries.

Q: I know that you are involved with visiting schools to spread your message. What types of things do you share with the students and how do they respond to you and to Milo?

Milo and I share our story and we ask the children to share with us what they do in their communities to help. Every school participates in donating and volunteering. Here is what we learned from the Cleveland Catholic Diocesan schools this year: The students have adopted a cow in another country to provide milk for a small village, donated books, collected change for their theme change changes things, battle of the bottles was one theme and the students filled baby bottles with coins to help local centers with the need of baby clothes, diapers and baby food, students volunteer at local hunger centers, sing at local nursing homes, and so much more.

Q: Please tell us about your event on April 19th at ...

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