Teaching Our Children About Philanthropy - Part II
In Part 1 of this 2-Part series on Teaching Our Children About Philanthropy, we looked at how we share our philanthropic values with kids and how many people like to volunteer with their children this time of year.
In fact, Saturday, November 21st is Family Volunteer Day. Family Volunteer Day, sponsored by Generation On, an initiative of Points of Light, is a day of caring designed to engage youth and children in caring about the world around them.
It’s not too late to get involved. You can sign-up online and can participate in projects that are organized in your community, you can engage in a project in your neighborhood like a park clean-up, or you can undertake an activity in your home like making cards for people in the hospital or serving in the military or create treat bags for animals in a shelter.
The great news is that kids seem to be charitable by nature. In Women Give 2013, a study of the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy, done in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, researchers found that 9 out of 10 children ages 9 to 18 give to charity each year. That finding holds true irrespective of a child’s race, gender, or household income.
Some child development specialists suggest that you can encourage giving from an early age by teaching good financial management and discipline. Practices like teaching children that money should be managed so that 10% of all that is earned is saved, 10% is given away, and the rest can be spent are good practices say some or, for children 1/3: 1/3: 1/3. Others like piggy banks divided into 4 (save, spend, give, and invest). This store sells divided piggy banks for children to make sorting money visually more interesting for children to help drive the lesson home. You can also make divided piggy banks or give a child multiple piggy banks (or jars) and label them for their different purposes. Have a child put money from his or her allowance in each one weekly.
Check out my Pinterest Board on DIY Piggybanks. You can make these piggy banks with your child and talk about giving while you make them. (These are adorable. You’re going to want to make them for yourself!)
The Women Give Study study found that parents have an impact on kids’ behavior. Even more significant than parents’ role modeling was parents’ conversations with their children about philanthropy. Parents who talk to kids about giving and volunteering had children who were more likely to give or volunteer.
We talk to our children about so many other important topics—drugs, alcohol, sex—why shouldn’t we talk to our children about our values with respect to giving and philanthropy?
In sum, do give with your children and do volunteer with your children, but don’t neglect to talk with them also. The holiday season can be a good time to volunteer with your children and teens, but choose a project wisely, one that is appropriate to your child’s age, interests, and abilities. Some great ideas include raking the yard of a neighbor who is older or disabled or picking up litter in a community park.
Want some other great ideas for projects to do with your family on Family Volunteer Day? Check out:
Know of some other good opportunities for family volunteer projects this Family Volunteer Day (11/21)? Share them with other families by posting them in the comments section below.
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