Learn how to teach children to be charitable through these 6 examples and find out what kids from the International School of Belgrade learned about philanthropy.
Last week, NDF team visited my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop at the International School of Belgrade to talk about philanthropy and to encourage the 7 and 8 year olds to help others.
By involving young children in philanthropy adults help foster important values like empathy, generosity, sharing, community involvement, good citizenship and gratitude. Children feel empowered by helping others – a confidence that permeates their lives at school and home. Along with learning values, children also learn the difference between wants and needs, to manage money, and to organize an event.
Donating has always been a part of my children’s lives. They keep a box in their closet to place clothes or toys that they have outgrown. When the box is full, we donate it. I teach my children to be charitable. I have had the privilege of volunteering at charitable organizations in Guatemala, Macedonia, and Serbia. I have made a point of bringing my children with me so they can see first-hand the places their donations are needed. They have witnessed poverty, homes without heat, running water, or beds. They have also witnessed the joy of children playing with their former toys. They have seen their childhood clothes keeping a small child warm. They have learned that a person is never too young to make a difference in the life of someone in need.
Serbian Floods: Reminder of the Importance of Philanthropy
Last spring during the floods that rocked Serbia, people here were reminded of the importance of philanthropy. The floods affected around 1.6 million people and communities are still trying to rebuild. The Novak Foundation was working to rebuild kindergartens that were damaged or destroyed during the floods. They have raised over 1 million dollars and have helped thousands of children return to school. Without the aid of generous philanthropists, rebuilding would not be possible.
When the floods began in Serbia, my husband went to fill sandbags while the kids and I combed our closets and toys for donations. Together, we went to the store and bought toiletries and food for the people who had been evacuated. After the floods, my husband and I went to Obrenovac to help clean-up. Our photos of muddy teddy bears, toys and trash outside of wrecked homes, along with the mud that covered our boots and clothes, and the smell of rot that permeated our skin, brought home the reality of the tragedy to our kids.
A Person Is Never Too Young to Help Another
In the late spring of 2014, my 8-year old daughter Haley and her two friends surprised us all. All on their own, they sold homemade juice door-to-door to raise money for the flood victims. After raising 3,000 RSD through sales, Haley wrote an email to friends and family asking them if they would like to help. In the end, Haley and her friends raised over $1,000 through sales and donations. They donated the money to several families who lost everything in the floods and were rewarded with photos of a baby with a new crib and stuffed animals and personalized “thank you“ photos from the three families she helped. Haley and her friends’ self-initiative prove that a person is never too young to help another. Our family’s involvement in philanthropy over the years had created a true philanthropist.
Haley and her friends were an inspiration to her fellow Girl Scouts. This fall the group held a bake sale/clothing exchange where they sold baked goods as a donation or exchanged a baked good for an article of clothing. As a result, they donated several kilos of clothing to a local orphanage and raised 20,000 RSD. Through the help of organizations like the Novak Djokovic Foundation, the girls are now learning about the various philanthropic organizations here in Serbia to help them decide where to donate the money.
Five Easy Ways to Teach Children to Be Charitable
Involving young children in philanthropy is a win-win situation. The giver and the receiver both win.
Here are five easy ways you can involve your child in philanthropy:
- Make it tangible. Talk with your child about children that do not have toys to play with or shoes on their feet and how their unused items would make a child very happy. Set up donation boxes in your closets and together put outgrown or unused items in the box. When the box is full, donate it. If possible, bring your child along so they can see for themselves how their donation helps.
- Donate as a family. Involve your children in your charitable donation decisions. Go online together to research philanthropic organizations of interest. During natural disasters research ways you can help. When Hurricane Sandy ripped through the northeastern United States and typhoons and tsunamis through Asia, we found sites online where we could donate.
- Be a Charitable Role Model. Be a volunteer. Help raise funds to help others. When possible involve your children in your volunteering activities.
- Teach money management. “Three Jars“ is an easy way children learn to manage their money. With the money children earn or receive as a gift they divide the money into three jars labeled saving, spending and sharing. 50% of their money goes for saving, 40% for spending and 10% for sharing. Help your child decide where to donate her “sharing” portion.
- Make it fun. My daughter, her friends and the Girl Scout troop had a blast organizing and executing their juice and bake sales. During the sales, they danced, sang, and chanted advertisements and every amount earned was met with a triumphant “whoop!”
Therefore, teach children to be charitable, since giving will become a habit that will enrich their lives and the lives of others. A person is never too young to be a philanthropist. Children can help other children believe in their dreams.
How do you teach your children to be charitable? Can you share some of your tips for our readers?