Last week, my blogger friends and I got a sneak peek at From Me To You, a seasonal retail store operated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. My son, F.T., got a chance to learn about budgeting, shopping, and giving. It’s a fun concept for a good cause, and I think you’ll want to give it a try.
The store is divided into two sections, a lounge and a shop. F.T. and I went to the lounge side and asked for help from an Elf—a community volunteer. He gave us a holiday gift list to fill out. An adult sets the budget: I put down the amount of my donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, and the Elf converted that into points. (For example, a $10 donation means 20 points to spend.) Then, F.T. wrote down the names of people to buy gifts for.
There is a curtain between the lounge, appointed with comfy armchairs and an electric fireplace, and the shop, where the Elves help your kids choose gifts that fit their budget. There are sections of Dad gifts, Mom gifts, beauty gifts, sporty gifts, and gifts for little ones. F.T. chose a sparkly pink bouncy ball for his little sister and an orange one for himself. His Elf helped him fill out the gift list and add up the points.
There is a gift wrap station at one end of the shop, and F.T.’s Elf was ready to help, but F.T. wanted to keep playing with the bouncy balls. The nice thing about having an Elf to help with wrapping is that it keeps the gifts a surprise.
From Me To You is located at Rolling Oaks Mall, on the second floor near Macy’s. It opens this week, on Black Friday (November 29), and closes on Christmas Eve.
Proceeds support the programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. What’s special about Big Brothers Big Sisters is the careful matching between the Bigs and their Littles, and the long-term, one-on-one mentoring relationship that develops. An intensive program like Big Brothers Big Sisters makes a huge difference in the lives affected, but it depends on donations.
From Me To You is set up so that Bigs can bring their Littles to the store for holiday shopping. The store even carries Big Brothers Big Sisters T-shirts.
I liked giving F.T. the opportunity to shop independently and learn about budgeting. Filling out the holiday gift list used his writing, spelling, and math skills. He also got to decorate a gift card. They even have a mailbox for letters to Santa.
From Me To You is built around giving: helping your kids learn about giving to friends and family, and giving to back to the community via Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas. Give it a try, and tell me what you thought about it.