Category: good causes

Disasters, Kids, Japan, Helping…

By , March 18, 2011 9:47 pm

 

The first thing I did on 9/11 was head down to my local Red Cross to join the giant blood donation line, something I had never done before.  Unfortunately there were not enough survivors to need blood, especially mine that was located way far away in New Mexico.  But of course no one knew that at the time.  I felt shocked, confused, helpless.  The only way to regain an illusion of control over life was to attempt to help in some way.

Children are prone to even more confusion and fear than adults when disasters strike somewhere on our planet.  With very young children, avoiding any TV or radio news coverage in their presence is probably the best solution.

With older children, viewing news together (or, in the case of our family, listening together) and answering questions is a better technique.  Children will hear talk at school that might be sensationalist, inaccurate, or incomplete.  Even those who are home schooled and perhaps more sheltered from school-yard talk, need to learn eventually how to analyze news broadcasts and understand the world.  This will be an important learning moment.

  • Stick to facts.  If there is something you don’t understand, research the answer together.
  • Stress that sometimes media coverage can be exaggerated.
  • Reassure them that such extreme events are rare and that they, and family members, are safe.
  • Brainstorm together ways to help, even if only in a small way.

HELPING (my favorite topic!):

Of course this post is inspired by Japan.  Here are some ways for you and your children to help there:

“Hope Letters will find ways to deliver the messages to local schools and school boards.  The messages may be posted electronically if that is available, placed as a hardcopy journal or broadcasted via local news agencies.  (Hope Letters is currently working to establish these distribution channels.  If you have suggestions, please get in touch with Hope Letters at HopeLettersCanada “at” gmail “dot” com.)”

  • Quick Fundraising Ideas (able to be organized within several weeks at most):

For schools – try bake sales, used book sales (like the one we did for Haiti), a penny war, yard sale, car wash, raffle off something cool (shh… for a good cause, people will buy tickets … even if your prize is really not that cool…), 50/50 fundraiser, guessing game.

For home – How about a lemonade stand, garage sale, birthday parties (donations in lieu of presents), street-side bake sale, car wash.

  • Be sure to donate your money to an official disaster relief organization now working in Japan.

It has been exactly one week since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  It has taken me one week to attempt to comprehend what has happened there.  My thoughts are with Japan.

Thrift Store Success!

By , March 9, 2011 7:27 pm

I am not one of these stylishly-dressed women with elegantly-decorated homes who swear they acquired their every single AMAZING possession via flea markets or thrift stores.  Their homes are usually white, their clothing black.  Do you know what I mean?

What is it with all the decorating magazines that feature “Thrift Store Style.”  Clearly those people are not from “these parts.” (Sorry, I am a bit obsessed with this topic.)

I really like thrift stores though.  I don’t like gambling, but I do get a teeny, tiny electric (gambling?) thrill every time I smell that unique thrift store scent.  I walk into a disorganized, messy, smelly space and see Possibilities (and junk). I have the chance of finding a treasure, the next Hope Diamond, or maybe just some cool books (or junk).

Books are my major weakness.  We have so many and we need no more. Yet I still crave the occasional unexpected thrift store book-find to keep me going.  I discovered  Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr at the thrift store.  Also, the amazing Cynthia Rylant Cobble Street Cousins series.  I found Science Experiments You Can Eat there too.

Today I went in searching for books for our school’s charity used book sale.  I know, you’re not supposed to SHOP for that!  You are supposed to purge, not acquire.  But I rationalize it this way:  I get the addictive thrill of thrift store book shopping, and when I buy, I have the satisfaction of knowing that my money goes to a good cause.  The books I buy will be sold at a sale benefiting a different good cause!  I am using books to help two worthy charities (and myself because it is fun).

I found a lot of great kids’ books today, but my favorite find was a giant collection of Origami books that had been dropped off mere moments before.  I left the 3D origami books behind (seemed too complicated and time-consuming), but bought nearly all the rest – for $5.00!!  I gave them $10 because it was for our local pet shelter, and it was a much better option for me than adopting yet another cat …

I hope you all like Origami and paper crafts.  I see big inspiration here!

 

Random Acts of Kindness

By , February 16, 2011 12:08 pm

kindness

Apparently it is Random Acts of Kindness Week.  Who knew?

But now seems like an excellent time to teach your children about Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) and the concept of Pay it Forward.  I just gave a successful class on this very subject at my children’s Montessori School and here is what I suggest:

  • Make sure everyone understands what the words “random” and “act of kindness” mean.
  • Read the book Because Brian Hugged His Mother by David L. Rice (illustrated by Kathryn Dyble Thompson).  An excellent introduction to the concept of “Pay it Forward” in a story that children can relate to (NOTE:  I have LOVED this book for a long time.  If you want, please read my review).
  • Suggest some easy things kids can do to make a positive difference in someone’s day.  Here are a few:
    • Smile at someone  :-)
    • Hold a door open for someone
    • Do a daily chore normally performed by a sibling
    • Do a household chore without being asked:  feed dog, do the dirty dishes you see in sink, etc.
    • Leave your change in the soda machine for someone else to find
    • Shovel your neighbors’ steps
    • Plant a seed
  • Have the kids brainstorm some more easy ideas.
  • Let them give it a try.  Give them one week to complete one RAK and report back on what they did and the outcome (how it felt, consequences to them if any, etc.).

HELPFUL LINKS:

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

Kid Activities – Acts of Kindness

KindSpring – Kindness Ideas

[Image thanks to Kid Activities!]

Charity Birthday Party Idea: Stuffed Animal Party

By , May 7, 2010 5:51 pm

birthday

Birthday parties don’t have to involve a depressing influx of cheap, unwanted (at least by parents!), commercial toys.  If you can convince your children that family gifts suffice, you might be able to turn that excess of birthday party gift generosity into birthday giving generosity.

I really believe that children are charitable by nature.  They just need to be taught about the needs of others and encouraged to engage in charitable work and giving.  My hope is that this will help create more sensitive and socially conscious adults.

My 9 year-old daughter has enjoyed charity birthday parties for many years now.  I already wrote about her first Humane Society birthday party (she has had several of these and one of her friends is doing it now too).  After a few more years of charity parties, I now have more ideas to share with you.

+++++++++++++++

Today’s idea is the Kids-in-Need Stuffed Animal Party.

One year my daughter had a birthday party where she asked the guests to each bring one, new (tags on) stuffed animal to take to our local hospital Emergency Room.  They give them out to very sick or injured children who come in and need a little extra comfort.

I am such a proud mama when I say that she came up with this idea entirely on her own.  My sister is a physician in our local Emergency Room and having visited her aunt there, my daughter knew that they handed out stuffed animals.

In keeping with the stuffed animal theme, our party craft was stuffing our own animals with easy and inexpensive kits that I bought on Amazon.  The kids LOVED this!  My intention was that they add their animals to the donate basket, but this proved to be very unpopular and every single child elected to keep their animal (including my children).  That’s OK, at least they had fun and went home with a much-loved party favor.

TIPS:

  • Make sure you check with your local Emergency Room first to see if they would even want stuffed animals, and if so, what kind.  Ours wanted tags on and no buttons or other things that could be pulled off to become choking hazards.
  • Police and Sheriffs also sometimes carry stuffed animals in their cars to comfort any children they meet in accidents or other bad situations.  See if your local law enforcement departments might be interested, and what they would want.
  • Based on experience, I recommend that the donated animals “disappear” after the party or younger family members might start falling in love with them!

(More ideas to come!)

Book & Bake Sale for Haiti

By , February 2, 2010 11:51 am

haiti

$1,350.03


That’s how much a class of thirteen 6 to 9 year-olds raised for

Partners in Health’s Haiti relief fund

with a simple Book & Bake Sale!

If they can do it, you can do it too!

How they did it:

Two weeks ahead of time:

  • They hung a sign on the school door asking for donations of books and baked goods for our Haiti fundraiser.
  • They placed an empty box in the school entryway for collecting the books.
  • They also put a sealed box in the lobby for any impromptu donations.

Day before, set-up:

  • The day before the sale they accepted baked goods.
  • After school they sorted the books into children and adult piles.
  • They organized the children’s books into separate boxes and baskets based on level (picture books, readers, chapter books).
  • Everything was set up on tables in our tiny school entryway with a simple pricing system posted.

The Sale:

  • The morning of the sale, they set up the baked goods outside the door on a table (it was so cold and snowy that there was no danger of spoilage!).
  • The school is on a side street, so they put out a sign on the main road nearby.  They also put signs in the grocery store and the library.  All signs said clearly that proceeds would be for Haiti.
  • The sealed box went to a prominent location on the book table, with a basket nearby with a few small bills and coins for making change.
  • They hung a Haitian flag and also posted some information about Partners in Health so any interested people could read more about where their money would be going.

Post-Sale:

  • I helped them sort through the leftover books and we separated the ones that were fairly recent and looked pretty new.
  • We took these “good” leftovers to our local bookstore so the owner could buy any that would work for her used book section. She ended up buying almost all of them, and even gave us more than her normal cash price since we were doing this for Haiti!  (Be sure to let a bookstore know that you are selling for Haiti)
  • The kids packed up the other books and we put them in storage for our annual school yard sale.

Counting:

  • Practical math lesson:  The children counted the cash and were SO excited, especially when they found a $100 bill in the box!
  • Their teacher counted the checks for privacy reasons (NOTE:  For ease of accounting, we made sure people made their checks out directly to Partners in Health and not to our school).
  • I took the cash to the bank and traded it in for a cashiers check made out to Partners in Health.

And voilà!  Not a whole lot of effort really, but now we have a nice donation to send off to Partners in Health and the kids feel GREAT!

Why not try it with your school?

Stand With Haiti

For more fundraising ideas, please read Help Your Kids Help Haiti.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Panorama Theme by Themocracy