Susie Kirsch works for the Red Cross and volunteers in her community. But she was still surprised when her 2nd grader started a charity with three classmates. At recess, the girls decided to collect toys for a local shelter for abused children and nearby children’s hospital.
Although parental support was needed – the adults managed a Facebook page and set up an Amazon wish list – all direction and momentum came from four small girls. The result? More than 700 gifts that brightened the holidays for some deserving kids, and a commitment to do even more this year.
Kirsch is justifiably proud of the girls. But helping a good cause is only one of many reasons parents encourage children to give back. Getting involved with a cause can help a child feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment, gives them an escape from academic pressures, helps them make friends and learn new skills, and provides life lessons that may make them more empathetic and kind as adults.
Giving back takes many forms so you can find (or create) an activity that suits both your child’s interests and your family’s values. Some kids give money, such as a percentage of their allowance or birthday cash. Others give things, such as donating their gently used toys. Kids can fundraise via a lemonade stand, car wash or dance-a-thon. And, perhaps most beneficial of all, they can give their time by volunteering.