Giving back to the community and how to get your kids involved

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giving back to the community & teaching kids how to give

As parents, we want to raise good kids. One gift we can give our kids  is to teach them the art of giving. I say *teach* them, as its not always natural for kids. Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

It’s easy for kids to become focused on the issues going on in their lives. The good news is that there are many ways to start getting your kids involved in giving back that are fun and will be lasting lessons in giving.

Kids of all ages can start volunteering in their own communities. Take them to visit senior centers or volunteer at local soup kitchens or food banks. Make Blessing Bag kits with your children and let them hand them out to people in need in your city! Don’t forget to check out our BIG list of Northwest Food Banks & other resources on places you can give through your couponing stockpile – have your kids go thru your pantry or toiletry supplies to bring a box of items to those who can use it the most.

More Ideas:

Young kids

Operation Christmas Child – Pack small gifts in shoe boxes around the holidays and send to a child in need in another country. Your kids can follow where their package is delivered too, and learn about that community.

We Give Books – Read a book to your child and a book is donated to another child! Let your kids pick the charity to donate too.

Heart for Heart Girls – Purchase a doll, and support that community. Girls can learn about that community. They can also sponsor a child in that community and write letters back and forth to make a personal connection with another child they are helping.

Older kids

Fund a Small Business Loan – Let your older kids choose a small business to fund on sites like Kiva, and follow their progress building their business and supporting their families!

30 Hour Famine – Teens can raise money for the hungry and experience a little about what it feels like to be hungry. Run it with a small group of friends, or run it through a youth group, etc.

Host a movie party  Order a free kit to host a party showing Jamaa, the story of Derik and Margaret — two children who lose much in Africa. The kits includes pictures of kids that need sponsors (among other supplies). You can let your child sponsor another child, and give them a chores list to do each month to raise the money to pay for it.

Meet Molly – Kid can watch a video of Molly and what her life in Kenya is like. They can then take a quiz and the World Food Program will donate a meal to a hungry child for each quiz they are taking.

Let kids get creative with their own ideas. They can share what they are doing on Instagram, to inform others (teaching advocacy). This gives kids ownership over their giving, and teaches them to get involved independent of parents facilitating the process too. You can use sites like Charity Navigator to help them find one to support if you do not already have one in mind.

What are your favorite ways to get kids involved in giving? We’d love to include your ideas, too, if you have any creative, fun suggestions!

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2 Comments

  1. I believe we lead by example. I work for a local spay and neuter group here in Bellingham, WESNiP. Over the years my son has helped out in many ways, from helping to calm the nerves of those waiting to check their pets in, to helping at garage sales to raise funds, to searching for used cat carriers to donate. He can see the results at the local shelter, with the drastic reduction in the numbers of waiting pets. He has also learned to talk to friends, family and casual aquaintances about how important spay/neuter is and can explain the benefits of fixing pets at 3-4 months. It’s amazing how much better his stutter is when he is explaining something that is important to him. I think a long term approach has a much bigger impact than just a few random volunteer opportunities. I want him to have a sense of community involvement and to know that he can make a difference.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Rebecca & it sounds like you’ve done a wonderful job providing those opportunities for your son. The key is to find what interests your child & how to get them excited about giving & then find ways to really foster that so they can see & feel that they are making that difference. These ideas are just a springboard for creative ways to give, but finding specific needs in your community are so important to really see the impact up close & personal! Thanks for sharing!

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