Teaching children to do good for others can be quite a challenge sometimes, especially with all of the competing priorities out there today. Parents can lead by example, get their kids involved when they can, and hope it sticks. It is a pretty good sign that a parent’s efforts are succeeding when a child takes up the torch and does something on their own to help others in need.
Two young friends in North Carolina were inspired by examples they had seen, and decided to do their part to help a cause that they had become passionate about. On March 1st, 2014, Charly and Fiona, in celebration of turning 4, chose to spread their joy to other little girls. At such a young age they have built a love for books and the stories they contain. When they heard about other little girls across the world in India that didn’t have the same access to books and stories, they knew just what to do.
Instead of having their party guests bring presents, the girls requested that the VIP ticket to their rock star party be a book for the girls at the Home of Hope orphanage in India. The overwhelming generosity of their guests allowed the girls to collect over 50 books for donation. These books will go to help educate young girls in orphanages across Southern India, and help Homes of Hope India transform the lives of children who may have no other chance at a better life.
Charly and Fiona decided to make a difference for their birthday, and to sacrifice their gifts in exchange them for gifts for other kids in need. If you would like to apply for a grant to help fund a kids effort to help the world around them please click on the button at the bottom of the page.
“Homes of Hope India-US, a 501c3 registered charity, works in 32 orphanages, schools, junior colleges and social empowerment centers throughout South India to: rescue, shelter and educate orphaned and at-risk girls, provide education for the poorest of the poor, both girls and boys, empower women and improve the lives of poor families, both rural and urban.” http://www.homeofhopeindia.org/
Kids have huge hearts and a gift for helping others without thinking. Sometimes they don’t understand who it is that may need help, or that those that need help may be closer to them than they think.
Makenzie from Forsyth, Georgia wanted to do something to help other children for her 8th birthday party. At first, she wanted to collect shoes for kids in need of them. After having a hard time finding a program that handles shoes for kids in need, she found a program in her county called Books and Bears. According to their website, “Project Books & Bears is dedicated to providing joy, and improving the overall well-being of a child, by providing reading book and stuffed animals to children in group homes, shelters, and other organizations within the state of Georgia.” This program enables social workers to give toys and learning materials to children that are shifted from place to place, helping these kids become grounded and feel valued during hard times. Books and Bears are in need of book bags, books and small toys, and stuffed animals. The book bags allow the kids have a way to keep their belongings in a way that can be quickly picked up and taken with them when they have to leave abruptly. The books are educational and don’t require batteries or power. The children are able to make a connection with someone when they sit down to read together. The stuffed animals are cuddly and are “someone” the kids can hug. This brings them a special comfort they may not otherwise have. Mackenzie learned about this and asked people to bring book bags, books or small toys, and a stuffed animal to her birthday instead of presents.
Makenzie got a huge response! She was thrilled to take everything she collected to the board of education for distribution and had quite the experience when she delivered her gifts. She realized kids that are in need don’t have a badge around their neck or look a certain way. It could be a child in her class or at her lunch table or beside her on the bus. She is excited about how much she was able to collect for the kids in need, and looks forward to doing another project again soon.
Many times all it takes to inspire kids to help others is for them to connect with those that need help.The feeling they get when they help their peers can go a long way towards building a life-long desire to help others.
Kids Helping: Birthday Party for Alley Cats and Angels
It is always inspiring to see kids helping causes that they feel passionate about. It is even more inspiring to see them doing it as a celebration for their birthday, when they are willing to trade the chance to get presents with the chance to give to a cause they love.
Maggie, from Apex, NC, loves animals and dreams of becoming a veterinarian when she grows up. For her 6th birthday in November 2013, Maggie had a pet adoption themed party and asked for donations to a local cat rescue organization, Alley Cats and Angels, in lieu of gifts. The party was a huge success and Maggie was thrilled with the generosity of her friends and family. Items donated included food for the adoption program, food for feral colonies, canned food, dry food, great kitty toys, lots of Temptation kitty treats for when the cats are in the adoption center, and litter. Maggie was so proud to load up the family car and deliver the supplies the following day. Her favorite birthday present was knowing she had helped cats and kittens. The volunteers at Alley Cats and Angels were so grateful for the donations. They called her “a generous little girl with a big heart” in their Facebook post thanking her.
Teaching kids about giving is one of the best gifts a parent can give their kids. Birthdays are a great time for younger kids to learn how good it can feel to give back. Check out the Start A Snowball Birthday Mountain to read about other kids that used their birthday as a time to give. If you are interested in applying for a grant to fund a kids’ community service project or donating please click on the buttons below.
The Brewer Family, with 4 kids ranging in age from 4-8 years old has a family tradition of service. Each Christmas, they set up a neighborhood hot chocolate stand to raise funds for someone in need. Each year the kids get to choose a different charity to receive the proceeds of their hot chocolate stand. With their close proximity to Fort Bragg, and Seymour Johnson AFB, this year they decided to dedicate all of their proceeds to help Train a Dog, Save A Warrior, a Texas based group dedicated to training and providing medical alert service dogs to veterans returning home from battle at no charge.
December 21, 2013 was their 4th year doing this and during the previous 3 years they have raised over $2,000 in donations selling hot chocolate to their neighbors. This year during their 4th annual sale they raised over $1,000 for Train a Dog, Save A Warrior with more donations still coming in the mail. So far, they are very close to their goal of $1,250, which will cover half the cost of training one dog. Their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, Firemen, Scouts, Y guides, and strangers showed up to support the cause. The kids all had a great time seeing their friends and the adults enjoyed connecting with both new and familiar faces. They are already planning for next year saying, “We have captured our lessons learned and ideas for what to do different next year, so we can continue to increase our goals.”
The Brewers have made a family tradition out of this because, in their own words, “It not only raised funds to train a dog, but brought our community together.” It is amazing how much difference can be made in our world by one person or one family deciding that they are going to dedicate some time and money to helping a cause that touches them. One hot chocolate stand started quite the snowball of projects for this family, and what a great affinity for service they are cultivating among the children in their community.
Have a party with a purpose! You can find numerous stories across the internet about generous children turning their birthday into an event for giving. A birthday collection drive is a very easy yet powerful project to get children giving back.
You may already be planning a birthday party
It allows your child to make a conscious sacrifice in order to help others
It inspires others to do likewise
It feels better than any other present they could receive
This is a great first step to creating a lasting sense of philanthropy and to get your children giving. We would like to encourage kids to find a cause they are passionate about leading up to their birthday, and make their birthday a collection event.
Check out these inspiring kids’ Philanthropy Stories
Anyone can change the world. Take a look at what these kids did when they started something to try to make a difference. Their philanthropy efforts SNOWBALLED into something huge!
11 year-old Olivia Bouler wrote a letter to the national Audubon Society, offering to sell her drawings to raise money for oil spill clean up in the Gulf of Mexico. She has done 150 illustrations and raised over $200,000!
When Cameron Cohen was 11 years old he spent the time he was recovering from surgery to write an iPhone app and donates a portion of his earnings to buy electronics for other hospitalized kids!
Phoebe Russell saw a homeless man begging for food, and decided to do something about it. She decided to ask people to bring in their cans to school and through recycling these cans she raised $3736.30 for the San Francisco Food bank 1 nickel at a time! This is the equivalent of 17800 hot meals.
After his parents took him to “skid row” in Los Angeles to feed the homeless, 10 year old Jonas Corona wanted to do more. Since he was too young to volunteer in the shelters he started his own non-profit to help kids without food or shelter.
These are great examples of projects that started a snowball. Your project could do the same, but it does not have to be something that gets on the news, or that turns into your own non-profit. Think of your own project and go for it. You have the power to make an impact on your community. If you have an idea and want money for it click on the button below to apply for a grant. If you need help check out our cool tool to help you find some ideas. Any one can change the world you can too. All you have to do is get started.
If you have never seen it you must watch the movie , “Little Red Wagon”. It is a true and inspirational story about a young boy that took on the challenge of raising awareness of homeless youth. It has now turned into The Little Red Wagon Foundation.
I don’t want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want it to be defined in what is etched in the lives and hearts of those I’ve touched.
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free