Raise children who give back by volunteering


| February 2009



Children volunteering

GETTING INVOLVED: Let children choose a cause that interests them for their volunteering efforts, and they’ll be more likely to see their commitments through with enthusiasm.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Family Features

There’s a saying that charity begins at home. When it comes to raising children to be generous, giving people, that expression is quite literally true.

Schools, clubs, religious organizations, nonprofit organizations and civic groups often involve students in fundraising efforts or donation drives, but the best way to raise caring kids is to be a caring role model at home. When it comes to volunteering or donating money, for example, children are more likely to follow their parents’ lead. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, nearly nine out of 10 young people who give their time have parents and siblings who also volunteer.

Major corporations are also lending a hand to encourage and support volunteerism by young people. One example is Build-A-Bear Workshop and its Huggable Heroes program, which recognizes young people between the ages of 7 and 18 who are giving back in their communities and beyond, and rewards them with scholarships, charitable contributions, networking opportunities and leadership training.

“Kids today are very aware of what’s going on in the world and want to make a difference, and we wanted to create a program that recognized their worthy efforts – large and small,” said Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive officer at Build-A-Bear Workshop. “We’ve found that the first step is often as simple as identifying a problem and taking action to resolve it.”

It doesn’t always have to be about raising money, either. Whether it’s deciding to collect suitcases to give to foster children after seeing them carrying their belongings in a trash bag, or working to assemble packs filled with goodies and school supplies to send to children whose lives have been torn apart by a natural disaster, children are finding creative ways to solve problems.

These are just a few real world examples of young people making a tremendous difference in the lives of others. Here are some easy ways to help your children put their feelings into action and develop a lifestyle of caring.





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