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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Family Matters: When you teach to give, you get so much more

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  • Some children may be unable to pronounce the word philanthropy yet are actively involved at a young age in giving to others.
    Those who are raised with giving and philanthropic projects grow to become heartfelt givers. Children across the country are finding ways to lend a hand, dedicate their time, raise money and make a difference. They learn that one person can, in fact, make a big impact. Consider the benefits of raising a child to give, because they are our future generation of generosity.
    Although National Volunteer Week (April 6-12) is over, you can set your sights on April 24, International Pay It Forward Day. One dedicated day each year is devoted to selfless giving; perhaps buying someone a cup of coffee, or paying a toll for the car following behind you. Model it for your child, who may then hold the door for a classmate or greet someone outside her circle of friends. One act of kindness can develop a positive ripple effect with the motto of, “Together we can change the world - one good deed at a time.”
    Lisa Ryan, author of “The Upside of Down Times,” writes, “Those who give of themselves also receive many benefits in return, including the positive feeling referred to as ‘helpers high.’ ”
    While searching for inspiring stories of childhood philanthropists, I found 11-year-old Olivia Bouler, who has raised over $200,000 for the National Audubon Society. She made watercolor notecards to support a rescue mission to save water foul caught in an oil spill.
    Brittany and Robbie Bergquist began a fundraising-turned-cellphone-recycling project, now known as “Cell phones for Soldiers,” providing 7.5 million cellphones and 90 million free pre-paid minutes to soldiers.
    Five-year-old Phoebe Russell began an aluminum-can recycling project, aiming to raise $1,000 for the San Francisco Food Bank. Her innocent efforts snowballed, raising $3,736.30.
    These stories send a clear message that even a young child can change the face of poverty and pain. What will you do with your children this year to raise them with the gift of giving?
    To join a community project, consider contacting your place of worship or a nursing home in your area. Other ideas include:
    • Offer small household chores in exchange for earning money. Divide earnings or allowance into three containers: save, spend and give. Suggest organizational options, such as adopting a child from another country, donating to an animal shelter, or the American Red Cross for disaster relief. Search for areas of interest, perhaps selecting a different one every few months, donating in any small amount and piquing interest in worldwide causes.
    • The HumaneSociety.org can nurture a love for animals by keeping them healthy and safe.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Operation Smile treats children with clef lips, palates and other facial deformities. My daughter traveled with Op Smile on medical missions to China and India. Their motto, “If you don’t have a smile, I’ll give you one of mine.”
    • Nick Jr. offers giving ideas for children to become involved. www.nickjr.com.
    • Toys for Tots delivers toys that your child purchases and donates.
    • Youth.foundationcenter.org offers ideas for youth and teen activism. DoSomething.org hosts suggestions for animal welfare, environment and poverty. TheHero.org is a place to post information about your community event, with an opportunity to receive grants for funding your project. ChildrenForChildren.org offers a calendar of 25 national events for children to participate. PayItForwardDay.com inspires with family projects and activities.
    How many lives will you and your children touch this year? When you teach your children to give, they are guaranteed to receive far more. Pay it forward!
    Diana Boggia, M.Ed., is a parenting coach who lives in Ohio. She is author of “Parenting with a Purpose.” Send your child-rearing questions to FamilyMatters@cantonrep.com or The Repository, c/o Family Matters, 500 Market Ave. S, Canton, OH 44702. Find parenting resources at her website, www.yourperfectchild.com.

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