I was bringing two bags of groceries to our local food bank when a couple with their young daughter stepped into the elevator with me. They were loaded with bags including paper towels and food. They also had piles of toiletries to donate, so much so, that they needed to bring their car around and get some help. Where did all this bounty come from? Their little girl who looked around ten or eleven had asked for donations to this food bank instead of birthday gifts.
My son and his best friend did this for their 10th birthday. Instead of gifts, they asked for dog toys and collars for a local dog shelter. They delivered it themselves and were allowed to play with the dogs. It was the best birthday ever!
Here are five ideas for kids to change the world by donating to these charities. I picked organizations whose missions would resonate with kids. And even a very small donation can change someone’s life. These are gifts that give back more: they teach children gratitude. And it turns out that gratitude is the fastest path to happiness.
1. Light is Life. A soccer ball provides light.
Soccket, a soccer ball that generates renewable energy for kids in developing countries. This ball produces electricity for light so kids and adults can read and function when it gets dark. A little bit of power can make such a huge difference.
The Soccket Education Kit is $199 or a more comprehensive set is $299.
2. Rescue youth in the most desperate situations in the world.
The HALO Foundation helps homeless and at-risk youth heal and create a future through art therapy.
HALO provides housing, healing and education to youth in the greatest need. HALO serves more than 1,000 youth each year through 21 programs. Internationally, HALO supports youth homes and programs in Uganda, Kenya, Mexico, India, Guatemala and Nicaragua. This includes providing food, water, shelter, cl
othing, education, art therapy, caretakers, and vocational training or college for youth in the greatest need. Domestically, HALO operates Learning Centers and TLP (housing) programs in Kansas City, and Jefferson City, Missouri, and programming in New York, Portland, and Los Angeles.
3. Rescue abandoned & abused dogs from Puerto Rico
The Sato Project saves abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico’s “Dead Dog Beach.”
4. Your $15 Dollar Donation Feeds a Child Lunch for the Entire Year in India, thus breaking the cycle of poverty in which kids have to work in order to eat.
Akshaya Pata: Unlimited Food for Education
My neighbor told me about Akshava Pata. She interviewed the founder for an article in The Boston Globe. She and her husband are both from India so she understands the issue around food and education for children. Her kids held two bake sales to raise money for this charity that feeds children in India. Rather than attend school, many children in India must work to earn their daily meal. The result? Poor health and educational outcomes that trap them in the cycle of poverty. A mere $15 donation feeds a child lunch for the entire school year. This organization procures, makes and distributes the meals to 1.5 million school children every day. If you want a charity where your money is hugely impactful, please consider Askhava Pata.
5. Of the 250,000 children and 8,000 youth enrolled in Magic Bus, 98% of girls make it to high school and 71% of all children graduate high school and go on to college, against a national average of 9% in India!
Magic Bus Foundation: a non-profit that lifts communities in India out of poverty by creating youth leaders while utilizing the power of play. They work with local partners to educate and employ these youth, maximizing their potential and breaking the cycle of poverty.
Here’s how to start a fundraising campaign for Magic Bus Foundation. An easy way is for kids to ask for donations in lieu of birthday or holiday gifts.
p.s. Here are more ideas for kids to make an impact in the world by donating to charity or doing service work.