Most people tend to associate charity with giving money. We write a check to our favorite cause, drop a few dollars in the salvation army bell during the holidays, give a few bucks in the basket at church or get involved in a school fundraiser, and we feel good. In todays world with crowdfunding campaigns popping up all over the place and more businesses getting involved with the “Buy One-Give One” business model such as TOMS, giving back has become easier, enjoyable and more rewarding. There are many ways that kids can become involved and give back. In researching and learning about a charity and then raising or saving money for a cause, children can make a difference and gain an immense sense of pride and empathy.
So, how we get our kids on board with giving back? The first step in getting your kids excited about helping other kids is to start the conversation. Children whose parents talk to them about giving back were 20% more likely to give to charity than parents who did not discuss giving with their children, according to a 2013 study for the United Nations Foundation conducted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The study of more than 900 children over 2002-2003 and 2007-2008 is among the first to explore what parents can do to encourage charitable behavior in their children. “This study demonstrates that parents who talk to their children about charitable giving can positively impact their children’s philanthropic behavior,” said Una Osili, director of research for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Parents’ giving to charity is not enough to teach children to be charitable. Focused, intentional teaching by talking to children about charity is what works. This is true for children in families at all income levels and across gender, race, and age groups.”
The conversation should explain giving back with several practicable and relatable examples. Such as when a friend called and really needed our help but we had other plans, and how we changed those plans to help our friend. Or the time we were in line at Target and let the overwhelmed mom of 3 screaming children go ahead of us in the check out line. Another example is when your little one refuses to part with the t-shirt that is 3 times too small we explain that there are thousands of less fortunate children some who might only have 2 or 3 shirts would love and appreciate that shirt. With that said, pack a bag together and drop off your donations to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. When we communicate and show the ways in which we’re generous with our time, energy, finances, our even just moral support it becomes a more normal part of family life.
In choosing a project, offer and explain the many causes and what seems most interesting and rewarding based on your child’s interests.
Here are some of our top picks of charities that allow kids to get involved:
This is one of our top picks because we had the opportunity to take part of this awesome organization and built a playground ourselves! Check out the info and pics below!
Photos & a special Thank you Video from the KaBOOM! Detroit Playground Build
Mission: To bring balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America. Creating great places to play, inspiring communities to promote and support play and driving the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives.
Ways to Give: Build a Playground in a day!
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Mission: To raise money and awareness of childhood cancer causes, primarily for research into new treatments and cures, and to encourage and empower others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer.
Ways to Give: Children can hold their own lemonade stand events in their neighborhood, raising money for a great cause.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Mission: To advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
Ways to Give: Dedicate your birthday by receiving a personal birthday page that allows your guests to make a donation in lieu of bringing a present.
NO KID HUNGRY
Mission: To end child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. Engaging the public to make ending child hunger a national priority. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals.
Ways to Give: Hold your very own Bake Sale. The money you raise will go directly to helping kids from low-income families get regular, healthy meals.
RONALD McDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES
Mission: Keeping families with sick children close to each other and the care and resources they need. A Ronald McDonald House is that “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.
Ways to Give: Donate time and creativity to make handmade cards sent through Cards for Hospitalized Kids to be distributed to sick children in hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation.
ADOPT A REFUGEE FAMILY
Mission: Helping displaced Iraqi families reduced to the status of “refugee”, these displaced persons have lost everything forced to move to a foreign country and start from scratch. Adopt a Refugee family helps families get back on their feet with day to day necessities and basic needs.
Ways to Give: Choose and adopt a family.
We also found this great read to help you teach your child about charity.