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Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 | 0 comments

You Can Only Be Perfect at Being Yourself by Rylee

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N: Not Perfect

O: Opinions of mine aren’t always right but I don’t care as long as I am having fun

T: To be Not Perfect means that I can’t do everything

P: Perfectly NOT perfect

E: Even if I get a great score at gymnastics it is still not perfect

R: Really great times aren’t even perfect

F: Fun times means not being perfect but you still get excited

E: Even sometimes I get things wrong

C: Cause I’m not perfect makes me happy

T: The Not Perfect Hat Club is something to show people you can’t be perfect

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In school we started talking about the Not Perfect Hat Club. The Not Perfect Hat Club helps show kids that even though they aren’t perfect, they can still do awesome things. We all have different things that we are good at and different passions. You can only be perfect at being yourself. That’s what makes us perfectly not perfect.

My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said either something that has to do with designing or animals or art, because they are my passions, and mom thought we could find a way to put them all together. That’s how we started making dog clothes for shelter dogs. I wanted to pick shelter and rescue dogs because they don’t have owners or families to take care of them yet. Shelter dogs have to be shaved sometimes because they can be dirty or their fur is ruined and they will need to keep warm. The problem is, neither of us knows how to make dog clothes. But the dogs don’t care if the clothes are perfect, they just want to be warm.

For Christmas I got a sewing machine from my grandma and my other grandma taught me how to use it. We made a practice shirt for our dog Opie. Opie is a rescue dog. We made the shirt out of my brother’s old onesie. We are collecting more onesies to keep making clothes.

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One day when my mom and I were home alone we made more clothes. They are not perfect. It took a lot of tries to make them, but we did it. The sewing machine kept eating the shirts and making holes. We kept getting fabric and thread stuck in the sewing machine. We had to re-thread the sewing machine, so we used YouTube to tell us how to fix the bobbin. We just have to keep learning. The shirts are not perfect. We tried the orange one on Opie, and told him, “Sorry for the lace on it!” We added the lace to the shirt to make it look pretty and to cover a hole. We’re going to keep working on our designs.

My favorite quote I found on the internet says, “Don’t judge me. I was born to be awesome, not perfect.” Even though I am not perfect I can still do awesome work and help animals who need someone to love them. Being able to make something for the animals makes me feel helpful. Everyone should find a way to use their passions to keep learning, keep trying, and keep helping others.


About Rylee
Rylee is in third grade. She loves animals, sewing, gymnastics and helping others. To read more about Rylee’s perfectly Not Perfect world, visit:


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The Not Perfect Hat Club is raising funds to complete the Not Perfect Hat Club book and make visits to classrooms like Rylee’s possible around the world. Please click on the link above to support our efforts and see the wonderful rewards your school and classes can receive.

To learn more about Not Perfect Hat Club , please visit:

If you would like one your children to be featured in the Not Perfect Hat Club blog, please contact:

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Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 | 0 comments

CritterKin & PACER Lead with Our Hearts!



CritterKin is proud to announce that our third book, Lead With Your Heart, has been chosen to appear on PACER’s (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) National Bullying Prevention Center BOOK CLUB page:

Founded in 1977, PACER Center was created by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help other parents and families facing similar challenges.  Then, in 2006, PACER developed the National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week campaign  in response to the need to raise awareness of bullying.

You can meet the characters and learn more about the anti-bullying messages in Lead With Your Heart by going here:

More information about PACER’s history and its wonderful anti-bullying efforts can be obtained by visiting this site:

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Posted by on Feb 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Not Perfect Hat Club on CBS6



There’s nothing quite so rewarding as seeing the results of your hard work and dreams reflected in the smiles of kids. Today, the very first official Not Perfect Hat Club  launched in Whitehall, New York as Deb Aubin’s 12 “Special Ed” kids proved once again that they are VERY special indeed.  Watch this amazing video that is airing on CBS 6 news in Albany, New York. Then read the inspirational story that appeared in the PostStar, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.


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Click the image to be taken to the article



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Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 | 0 comments

Be Awesome – Not Perfect

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Love me. Don’t judge me. I was born to be awesome, not perfect.”  – Unknown

Something extraordinary is happening in Whitehall, New York where a class of 12 special needs kids and their remarkable teacher, Deb Aubin, have embraced CritterKin’s Not Perfect Hat Club and made it their own.

I first met Deb’s students when she invited me to visit her classroom via Skype. There we read, drew and discussed what it means to wear Not Perfect Hats. These are kids who live with the stigma of being “different” every day of their lives.  Our goal was to give them a place and the tools to explore how those differences make them special/awesome – to find and foster the unique gifts they have to share with the world.


To say that we’ve been astonished by the kids’ response would be an understatement. They took the concept of hosting a Not Perfect Hat Club Day fundraiser at their school and turned it into an entrepreneurial extravaganza!  With the help of their teachers and CritterKin they:

  • Created a simple template to make actual Not Perfect Hats;
  • Did the math required to figure out the cost of making the hats: fabric thread, needles, pins and decorative elements;
  • Learned how to use a sewing machine;
  • Sewed and decorated hats for themselves;
  • Began taking and filling orders for hats when friends, family, faculty and other students asked where they could get their own hats;
  • Set up a retail booth in the lobby of the school to sell their Not Perfect Hats;
  • Made a wooden, Not Perfect Hat Club tree to display the hats;
  • Created a Not Perfect Hat Club bulletin board;
  • Got permission to hold a Not Perfect Hat Club Day fundraiser for the entire school;
  • Planned activities, contests and a school-wide assembly for the Not Perfect Hat Club Day;
  • Created and posted flyers and posters to promote the day;
  • Wrote and began doing morning announcements about the event; and
  • Flipped the teacher-student equation by teaching other students and teachers (including me) how to make their own hats and hold Not Perfect Hat Club Days at their schools.


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Saying we are proud of Deb Aubin and her kids doesn’t begin to express the wonder we feel when we look at what they’ve accomplished.  Their story is inspiring, but it also validates a belief we share with Deb who likes to say, “Every child deserves a champion. Every child deserves someone who believes in him/her even when the odds are against him/her.”

You can read more about Deb Aubin’s awesome kids and their remarkable journey here:

To find out how  you and your students can become part of our global campaign to give each kid a place to hang a hat by launching your own Not Perfect Hat Club, visit:

Questions? Contact:

Jena Ball
Phone: (919) 454-9917

Copyright 2015 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.


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