News & Events

Plant A Seed Foundation Helps Teen to Boost Confidence Through MMA Training

Plant A Seed Foundation Helps Teen to Boost Confidence Through MMA Training

When facing a personal challenge like leaving all your friends behind and starting at a new school or dealing with your parents divorce, it helps to immerse yourself in a new activity or hobby. That was the case with 15-year-old Chase Wallace of Makefield. With the help of Plant a Seed Foundation, Chase was able to enroll in Muay Thai training at MPR Endurance in Langhorne which gave him the confidence to overcome social conflicts and build his self esteem. Click here to find out more about Chase’s story....

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Foundation Helps Children Pursue Their Dreams

Foundation Helps Children Pursue Their Dreams

The Plant a Seed Foundation helps children pursue their dreams and passions while interacting with positive role models. We would like to give big thank you to Chris English of the Bucks County Courier Times for writing this great article about the rewarding work we do here at Plant a Seed.  Click the link below to read the full article and don’t forget to check out our donations page to show your support! Bucks County Courier Times: Chris English on Plant a Seed...

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Brotherly Love: Bucks County Foundation Helps Needy Kids

Brotherly Love: Bucks County Foundation Helps Needy Kids

By Ukee Washington BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) – Two years ago, we introduced you to a Bucks County couple on a mission to help kids. The couple sponsored classes, like karate and dance. We caught up with Michele and Gene Rice last week. Their foundation, Plant A Seed, helped pay for lessons for 80 children last year, giving needy kids fertile ground to grow. See Video...

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People Magazine: Gene and Michele Rice Help Make Kids’ Dreams Come True

People Magazine: Gene and Michele Rice Help Make Kids’ Dreams Come True

By Kristen Mascia and Lorenzo Benet Gene and Michele Rice (center) with Lenora Thompson (equestrian), Mateo Sanders (in karate gear) and Shanaya Chavis (with microphone) Courtesy of Andrew Brusso When a child has a dream – to be an actor, or a singer, or a basketball star – there is one couple in Upper Makefield, Pa., doing all they can to make it a reality. While running a basketball camp for kids, Gene and Michele Rice were shocked when a boy participating explained he’d had to take a 10-mile bus ride from his trailer home, had gotten off on the wrong stop and had to walk the remaining half mile. Despite the difficulty he’d had getting to camp, he was still excited to be there. Thinking of their own kids’ acting classes and sports camps, “we realized we took for granted they could do these things,” says Gene, 56, a recruiting executive. “Other parents love their kids, but the resources aren’t there.” Out of that moment grew the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation plantaseedfoundation.org, a nonprofit that gives low-income kids ages 8 to 21 the kinds of camps and lessons other children enjoy. Starting with $10,000 of their own money and through fund-raising, the Rices have awarded $200,000 in grants and services to 254 kids in the Northeast. Interviewing children and screening mentors, they’ve helped kids stretch their talents. “We have kids in karate, dance, gymnastics, sports, art, music and horseback riding,” says Michele, 56, a former speech pathologist. “Helping these kids to explore their passions has been life changing – creating relationships with adult mentors and other children who share their interests.” Shanaya Chavis, 20, knows all about that. Not sure if she’d attend college, Shanaya wanted to sing, yet her mother, a retired nurse’s aide, couldn’t afford lessons. Now, two years after training at a private studio, she’s hoping “to make it big” and is working with a producer on an album while she takes classes at a community college. “I have more confidence; I want my degree,” she says. “The Rices have helped me so much.” Since the Rices’ four children – Shannon, 27, Mackenzie, 25, Courtney, 22, and Owen, 18 – are grown, the couple continues to expand their organization’s efforts, helping children to pursue their passions for multiple years and recruiting volunteers to drive kids to their activities. “We don’t expect them to be stars,” says...

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Yardley equestrian inspires others through ‘Plant a Seed’ Foundation

Yardley equestrian inspires others through ‘Plant a Seed’ Foundation

If you were to meet Erin Torbert, within a few minutes of conversation, you would be able to conclude that she is an average 24-year old woman balancing a full-time job with a social life. If you were to dig a little deeper, you’d soon realize that unlike most 24-year old women, Erin’s full-time job includes managing a major portion of her family’s business, Cambria Stables.Built on 107 acres of farmland in Yardley, Cambria Stables was formed in 2001 by John Torbert on his family-owned farm with the purpose of acting as a boarding facility for local horse owners in the Bucks County area. Now, more than nine years later, Cambria Stables still offers boarding for horses, in addition to open houses, riding lessons and summer camps. The additional services can be credited to Erin Torbert.Erin has been working part-time at Cambria Stables since its inception, and started working full-time teaching riding lessons, planning open houses and running summer camp every year since 2003. Because of the implementation of these additional services, awareness of Cambria Stables has increased drastically; over 100 children have received riding lessons and attended the summer camp since they’ve been offered, helping to give the small family-owned business its great reputation.Cambria Stables started working with the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation in 2009; Erin was contacted by founder Michele Rice and asked to provide riding lessons for a local 15-year old girl. The mission of the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation is to provide financially challenged children, between the ages of 8 and 21, the opportunity to pursue their passions while interacting with positive role models.Once Erin learned about the charity and their mission, she was immediately onboard and worked out a plan that allowed the 15-year old to lease a horse for one year, take riding lessons and work at the camp. As she continued to progress at Cambria, Erin let her take on more responsibilities that paralleled her interests, which included helping with the upkeep of the barn and aiding in the open houses. Erin valued this young woman’s time at Cambria Stables and continues to reach out to her.At the end of this month, Erin will take on two more Plant a Seed referrals at Cambria Stables; a 10-year old girl and a 16-year old girl both from Bucks County. Erin is looking forward to forming a bond with the girls and helping them in any way she can. Erin also wants to continue Cambria’s bond with Plant a Seed; she truly enjoys helping children enrich their lives through their passions. Her advice to any child is, “Don’t give up!” Erin believes that by making the calls, offering to volunteer and putting in the work your efforts will not go unnoticed!To learn more about the Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation, please visit www.plantaseedfoundation.org. To donate, please visit http://plantaseed.wpengine.com/involved/ and choose the “donate” option.If you have any questions regarding the foundation, please contact Michele Rice...

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L.A. PARKER: ‘Plant a Seed, Inspire a Dream’

L.A. PARKER: ‘Plant a Seed, Inspire a Dream’

This is a column about dreams and free money. I know, momma told you not to come (whoops, that’s a Three Dog Night reference). Momma probably told you that nothing’s free, but keep reading and you will realize that Michele and Gene Rice are offering about as complimentary a gift as ever created. The Rices are making dreams come true through their “Plant a Seed, Inspire a Dream” foundation, which provides financially challenged people between the ages of 8 and 21 with an opportunity to pursue their passions while interacting with positive role models. Want to be a dancer? Call Michele. Basketball player? Phone Gene. Play the piano? Contact the foundation. Michele and Gene are sowing seeds as clients line up for a chance to chase life aspirations. The Bucks County pair and supporters have helped more than 50 starry-eyed dreamers and have launched a search for more. More than 200 supporters showed for a late-February fundraiser at Jericho National Golf Club in New Hope, Pa. Michele Rice smiled throughout while her husband Gene worked the room for guests interested in participating in a silent auction that ratcheted up a Foundation bank account balance. More money for miracles. “Our organization is having an impact with kids in our own back yard, Philadelphia, Trenton, Scranton, and as far away as Boston,” Gene Rice said. “A couple of years ago we asked you to believe in a charity built around the fact that we were parents with children who had dreams, kids who looked forward to participating in things like music, sports and other activities on a weekly basis. We knew that those activities built self-esteem, gave them a social network of like-minded kids, gave them something to look forward to even on a bad day.” Rice recognized that many of his foundation’s clients reside in single-parent homes challenged by insufficient incomes and lack of continuous support. “That is what our organization is about, giving kids a chance and connecting those children with a role model who can help cultivate their passion,” he explained. Two years ago, Michele and Gene Rice contacted me and requested help in a circulation of opportunities available for Trenton-area children. In typical Trenton fashion, apathy overwhelmed opportunity as no city residents responded. Undaunted, Michele and Gene Rice have made another attempt to give a chance to a deserving person who may foster a dream. “The charity is based around a premise that if kids are passionate about something, that passion will build their self-esteem. There are a lot of kids that need some help,” Gene Rice said. Applying for a scholarship remains an easy task. Just log ontowww.plantaseedfoundation.org. Yeah, a lot of people profess that nothing grows in Trenton, but Gene, Michele and I hold out hope for little miracles, moments of clarity that highlight passion and promise. Take a moment today and think about a worthy young person who deserves a shot at life, someone who needs just a modicum of support for his or her dream to take hold. Major ups for Gene, Michele and the Rice family, plus, Foundation supporters for their understanding that much is required to whom much is given. Your generosity, care for others, and desire to inspire youth is a wonderful expression that showers our world with love. L.A....

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10th Round Boxing in Bristol

10th Round Boxing in Bristol

Plant a Seed members and scholarship recipients gathered at 10th Round Boxing in Bristol, one of the many local business partners that help the foundation deliver positive, life-changing activities for children. Plant a Seed, based in Bucks County, connects deserving young people with mentors who provide instruction and coaching for a wide range of activities such as karate, singing, knitting, and football. Children ages 10 to 18 receive scholarships that fund after-school and summer lessons, team participation, and artistic exploration. Pictured here, from left: Michael Tucker, Foundation Director; Pedro Rivera, 10th Round Boxing; Anthony Daniels, Tyler Lieggi and Colin Gibson, scholarship recipients; Michele Rice and Lynn Cohen, Foundation Board Members. PAS scholarships help young people gain self-confidence and pursue their interests under the guidance of positive role models, such as the instructors at 10th Round Boxing. For information on Plant a Seed call 267-503-2998...

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Monica Yant Kinney: Helping youngsters get back into extracurriculars

Monica Yant Kinney: Helping youngsters get back into extracurriculars

Holiday charitable requests can overwhelm those with big hearts but modest means. Every penny matters in trying times, but surely no one believes a $100 donation will end homelessness or cure cancer. My second grader desperately wants to protect polar bears from extinction, but how do I break it to her that the $50 we gave in her name was devoured by bureaucracy? How might we, as a family beholden to a budget, perform tangible acts of generosity? Gene and Michele Rice found a way to make their donations have an impact on a basketball court, in a recording studio, onstage, and on a karate mat – places that children go to pursue passions or even fleeting interests. Because when money is tight or nonexistent, as it is for so many these days, extras are expendable.   “What happens to kids whose parents can’t afford piano lessons?” asks Michele, a speech pathologist. “Those kids miss out on moments and mentors,” sacrificing life-altering experiences and interactions. The world feels smaller and that much colder. In 2009, with just $10,000 and no set agenda, the Upper Makefield couple embarked on a recession adventure. This week, their Plant a Seed Inspire a Dream Foundation (www.plantaseedfoundation.org) landed a splashy write-up in People magazine. The national attention thrills, but the couple grow most animated talking about the ripple effect of small gestures: Next month, one of their charges – a high-functioning autistic 11-year-old – will audition for a competitive music magnet school. A year ago, the young percussionist had never played a note because his parents could afford neither lessons nor drums. The power of play Gene Rice grew up working-class in Long Island using paper-route earnings to help pay his way to basketball camp. “Playing sports built my self-esteem,” recalls the 55-year-old recruiting executive. “It gave me a group of like-minded friends and a social network.” Michele came from affluence, but blames “wild” teenage years in part on not having a passion of her own. The couple’s four children all excelled in extracurriculars. But as a businessman and coach in Bucks County, Gene knew that kids from the city and suburbs are increasingly being shut out of opportunities by the economy. What if he and Michele could fund modest dreams? What if they could partner with inspiring instructors and host annual fund-raisers to make the impossible a reality – say, riding lessons for a year? Temple Law students handled the paperwork to get the group recognized as a 501(c)3 charity. In appreciation, the Rices pledged to focus on “kids in our backyard.” Young people are referred by social workers and the juvenile-court system, though many families find the foundation through the Internet and word of mouth. Recipients must demonstrate financial need and parental involvement, plus a desire to try something – anything – new. Remarkably, all 150 qualified applicants so far have been served. Each grant totals about $1,000. Children take dance, study sculpture, design video games. One pursued puppetry. A homeless suburban middle-schooler regained confidence through martial arts. A Trenton teen recorded a CD of her original music, then sang her way through community college.  The difference a year makes Kurt Snyder opened All Star Kenpo Karate in Quakertown after being downsized from a trucking job. He teaches Plant a Seed students...

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