Teaching Kids About Charities
Thank you to my reader Ali who asked me to post on charities that kids can support. These non-profits below have touched me. If you have your children working on personal finance with a system to Spend, Save and Donate, perhaps some of these organizations will be lucky recipients.
Another way to teach kids about helping others is to have a no gifts birthday party and ask guests to instead make a small donation in lieu of a gift. My son’s birthday is coming up and I struggle with the idea of gifts, especially when I know it’s going to be a large party.
Thank you notes are the first hurdle. My kids know that if they have a gifts birthday party, they are expected to write a handwritten thank you note to every guest. This means careful tracking of gifts to guests, as well as the labor intensive actual writing of the notes.
But it’s not like my kids need more stuff. They get presents from relatives and from us and our house is brimming over with toys. An influx of toys requires an equal amount of outgoing donations.
My kids are still not down with the idea of No Gifts Parties, even with the burden of Thank You notes and selecting old toys to donate. I’m wondering if having them choose a charity that is meaningful to them will be motivating. We don’t need more stuff and this is the season to give back.
This year will mark the first time my kids will Donate from the Spend/Save/Donate money allocations that they are theoretically making. They are definitely good at Spend. They did some Save but it has petered out. I’ll keep you posted on where they Donate.
Our elementary school has a Social Action Committee that introduces charities and ways in which kids can support them on a monthly basis. Presented as a monthly offering and tied into Walk to School Day, my kids walk to school — a novelty for them — typically accompanied by a donation which varied from canned food, used sneakers, warm used coats to handwritten cards to veterans.
It’s never to early to teach your kids to care about those who have less and I’m thankful that my school helps with this important life lesson.
Please add your charities that you think kids will want to support as a comment and I’ll add them to this list. What do you do to teach your kids about supporting charities? Please share!
World Altering Medicine
I learned about World Altering Medicine after reading this great post on The Fourth Musketeer. Shana Berg, author of Laugh with the Moon, writes about conditions in Malawi and was also the guest post author. Her book would make a great book club for kids!
Our friend Sydnie is in this video with Boston College soccer player alumni Julia. My kids ask for new soccer cleats whenever they shoes feel tight and they think nothing of it. They ask for new shin guards when their old ones rub blisters on their feet. But what if you can’t afford soccer cleats? In the United States, you can’t play soccer. It’s part of our requirements; the kids line up for the referee to show that they have no jewelry on, tap their shins to show they have cleats and turn around with their shoe facing up to show that they are wearing cleats. Since soccer is a popular sport for lots of kids, this charity might really resonate with them.
Though this organization is based in Boston with outreach to New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, kids know the importance of celebrating their birthday. Birthday Wishes allows homeless children to have that special celebration that they otherwise would not.
The first no-gifts party that my oldest attended asked for a donation to First Book in lieu of presents. The thought of kids who have no books at all personally moves me. A steady diet of good books give kids literacy skills that give them endless opportunities in life and so this organization is especially dear to my heart.
Helping animals is something all kids support so this organization has mass appeal.
Locks of Love
It’s great for kids to realize that they can make a difference simply by growing their hair long enough to donate 10 inches (as measured from the pony tail holder). It’s also such a personal donation that requires sustained motivation.
It takes my kids about two years to grow their hair long enough that 10 inches still leaves them just enough hair to pull it back in a pony tail. My hair stylist normally only cuts adults, but she will give them a free amazing cut whenever they are ready to make their hair donation. After the cut (and a lot of before and after photos), we go to Starbucks to celebrate. It’s such a great feeling of accomplishment!
When you are a little kid and don’t get much money, it might not be easy to make a financial contribution to a charity but you can always grow and give up your hair. It’s one personal way to make a connection about charity and realize that you can, even as a child, make a difference in someone’s life.
And, as I stroke their silky soft hair, I know someone will appreciate it very much, especially knowing that it came from a stranger with love.
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