TIF Toy Bank Donor Highlight: Ann Williams Group

August 14, 2017 | Ann Williams Group, the Bloomfield Hills, MI-based company known for crafting activities such as the Loopdeloom and Loopdedoo, has been a partner of the Toy Industry Foundation’s Toy Bank since 2014, donating more than 2,000 crafting kits totaling upwards of $50,000 to underprivileged children. Toy News Tuesday editors recently sat down with Sheila Wright, president of Ann Williams Group, who shared insight into how the company’s crafting kits can benefit disadvantaged children.

Why is it important for Ann Williams to support TIF’s Toy Bank? How does philanthropy fit in with Ann Williams’ mission?

Giving has always been an important part of our culture. We’ve been donating toys to those in need since our inception in 2010 and are thankful that over the years we’ve been able to help thousands of kids. In addition, we have a handful of products that are centered around giving, such as the Craft-tastic Kindness Kit, which features eight cute crafts for kids to make and give to friends and family, because we want to teach kids about the joy of giving to others. The Foundation does some truly admirable work and we feel it is important to support their cause. After all it is children who benefit from The Toy Bank and no matter what situation they are in, every kid deserves to have toys and games that give them joy.

What are some of the life skills that crafting activities teach kids?

Through crafting, kids learn to follow directions and further develop their fine motor skills. Crafting also encourages kids to express themselves, explore their imagination, and it empowers them to just … create. That unbridled freedom to experiment, along with the feeling of pride they get from creating something all by themselves, does wonders for their self-esteem and confidence. These are all skills that will serve children well beyond the craft table.

How can these skills help disadvantaged children or those going through a difficult time?

When children are anxious, frustrated, or feeling disadvantaged, activities like crafting can help them feel better by diverting their attention to focus on the task at hand, rather than focusing on the stress they’re feeling. Crafting can emotionally transport kids out of challenging situations. Imagine a child working with new techniques and materials, making something completely their own – suddenly the activity becomes more than just a craft, it becomes a truly joyful experience.

What other charitable work does Ann Williams take part in?  

Ann Williams has also donated to national, regional, and local charities serving military families, children in hospitals, and other at-risk youth.

Why is it important for the toy community to give back?

It’s important for us to lead by example, especially since toys and crafts are vital to every child’s well-being. Additionally, crafts can help some children escape to a happier place, while helping others with basic overall developmental skills. At the end of the day, crafts help all kids become better thinkers and problem solvers and, ultimately, they teach children that they can do anything they set their mind to.

This article is a part of a new series focused on the philanthropic work of toy companies that runs quarterly in Toy News Tuesday. TNT previously highlighted Bananagrams