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A weekend full of service

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. The weather in LA was perfection and it was a great weekend to get out and come together in our communities. For me, Martin Luther King weekend ended up being a bit of a full circle moment. Years ago when my sons were toddlers I was extremely involved with a little children’s museum called Kidspace in Pasadena. At the time it was run out of an old school and was a homegrown space for young moms and children to come together to play and learn.

I met many of my closest mom friends at Kidspace, chaired their Halloween festival, benefit and advocated for the building of a then new museum near the Rose Bowl. I was passionate about supporting something that had given  so much to my sons. This past weekend, almost twenty years later I was asked to come to Kidspace in conjunction with Project Giving Kids to celebrate the weekend of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

It was so much fun working with young families and planting the seeds of compassion in children. We partnered with three different nonprofits (St. Vincent de Paul with Meals on Wheels, a local animal shelter and Reading Partners) and did simple craft projects such as creating Valentines Day Cards for homebound seniors, cat toys and book marks.

An unexpected treat was getting on the local KTLA news to share all of the wonderful work that we were doing.

While the weekend was full, there truly was nothing greater than seeing children understand the power they had to make someone happy and give of themselves…and to see parents understand the power of compassion and kindness in their children.

As Dr. King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?” If the work that was done at Kidspace this weekend was any indicator the world is going to be just fine!

Charity Matters.

 

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Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

A day of service and rememberance

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing in service for others?”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK day 2016

 

On Monday, we will honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A visionary, man of peace and an inspiration. It is only fitting that this great man is honored with a national day of service. Martin Luther King Day, the holiday, is often referred to as a day “on” rather than a day off.  Monday will be a day where millions of Americans will come together to honor his legacy by serving others.

Many will serve in their communities, churches or schools and for those who do not know where to begin, there are a number of places to start. For young families you can go to Project Giving Kids to find age appropriate volunteer opportunities. Another terrific starting point if you don’t have a plan is to take a look at Volunteer match this weekend.

Think of Volunteer Match as the eHarmony for nonprofits connecting you to a cause and volunteer opportunity that matches your passion, whether it is animals, the environment, education, you name it….there are thousands of service opportunities by location to choose from.

So, plan on making Monday a “day on” to honor this remarkable man through serving others. I’m looking forward to sharing with you next week how I will be honoring Dr. King. In the meantime,  ask yourself, “What are you doing in service for others?”

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2018 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Charitable children, it’s never too late to start

I am always so amazed that is the same time each year that I find people asking me for suggestions for raising philanthropic children. As a result, I share this post once again as refresher for all, holidays or not.

When my sons were younger I wondered if they were really understanding what we were doing as a family for others. We wanted to raise compassionate and charitable children, good humans. While my sons are far from the poster children for philanthropy, they certainly do a lot to help others. I am proud that each of them has found different ways to give back and share the gifts that they have been given. My oldest has a passion for serving inner city children. His younger brother, has recently gotten behind Movember and men’s health through his fraternity. His house is one of the top Greek organizations in the country for fundraising this year. The youngest, at 16, has recently gotten involved with a nonprofit, Once Upon a Room, that does hospital room makeovers for very sick patients.

Each year at Thanksgiving, we sit down as a family and decide what our family will do this season to help others. We have adopted soldiers for a year, adopted families over the holidays that could not have Christmas, we have wrapped gifts at local Childrens’ Hospitals and voted on which non-profits we want to support. Each person trying to convince the others why their cause is most worthy.

The reality is that there is no simple answer to this question and that raising charitable children is an ongoing process. Families now have resources such as the nonprofit Project Giving Kids, which cultivates volunteer opportunities for young children and families. I read an article recently that said role modeling philanthropy is simply not enough. The article referenced a new study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. The director, Debra Mesch, said “the research showed that talking to children about giving increased by 20 percent the likelihood that children would give.”

Here are a few tips to remember as we approach the season of giving:

Six Tips for Raising charitable children:

  1. Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
  2. Talk to your children about what causes interest them and bring causes to their attention.
  3. Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
  4. Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
  5. Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
  6. Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.

Benefits of raising charitable children:

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. Correlates to improved performance in school

While this topic is relevant for the holidays, it is important to remember that giving does not just happen once a year. Teaching the gifts you receive from giving should be a part of the year, not simply the season. Once your children feel how great it is to give, their lives will forever be altered in wonderful ways.

Charity Matters.

 

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Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Planting the seeds of compassion in our children….

This past weekend I was in San Francisco working with the nonprofit  Project Giving Kids, an amazing organization that helps families connect with  incredible philanthropic opportunities. Their motto is “connecting kids to causes” with the hopes of planting the seeds of compassion in our children. Honestly, it was the perfect way to kick off the season of giving and to celebrate tomorrow’s National Philanthropy Day.

I think so often when we hear the word philanthropy we think of fancy parties, old school wealth and privilege, when in reality philanthropy literally means the love of humankind. In 1986, Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 15th as National Philanthropy Day to bring the world together to recognize and celebrate the work that volunteers and donors bring into our communities each and everyday to make our world better.

Watching young children participating in a multitude of service projects at Project Giving Kids Create the Change Day gave me hope for the future. With all the negatively in our world, seeing young children and families helping others was truly witnessing the love of humankind…..and that is something I hope we can all experience not just tomorrow….but everyday.

 

Charity Matters.

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Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

The Do Good Bus

Since this week’s theme is teamwork, it seemed like the perfect time to share one of the most fun team building activities to hit the philanthropic world in a long time…The Do Good Bus.  Last spring, I was at an event for Project Giving Kids and was introduced to this amazing woman named Rebecca Pontius . When I found out what she does, I knew I had to share with each of you…because it is just the coolest most fun thing EVER!

 

Rebecca is the founder of the non-profit, The Do Good Bus. The Do Good Bus idea came together when Rebecca and her brother were on a party bus for a 30th birthday party. They had friends from everywhere, who didn’t know one another and she and her brother surprised all the guests with the destination of the party last-minute. The party was such a success that Rebecca and her brother had an idea that they  could use this same format to connect volunteers and non-profits, making volunteering fun. Their mission was to give people an opportunity to get involved, do good together and learn more about their community.

Here is how it works:

Today, almost six years later, the Do Good Bus has taken over 180 rides with almost 5,000 do gooders to over 109 causes.  I asked Rebecca, if she knew when she had made a difference, and her answer was, “Every time you get on the  bus and see strangers connecting, rolling up their sleeves to volunteer and do something great for a non-profit in need and then share stories together like old friends..that’s when I know we have made a difference.” 

As Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

 

Charity Matters.

 

 Copyright © 2017 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Summer kindness in action

kid mow kindness

I know on monday, I asked the question where is the love? I thought today I would share a little piece of inspiration. A friend reached out to me when she saw this and thought of Charity Matters and it made me smile, so my hope is that it does the same for you.

Last week a Minnesota police officer came home to find his front lawn newly mowed and this note taped on his front door. The note was left by the young neighbor and lawn mower, who wanted to show his support of the local police by doing something kind for the officer.  He says, “Because your job is hard enough and I think people like you should know that we are behind you guys. Take the extra hour that it takes to mow and spend time doing what you love.”

A beautiful gesture and a perfect follow-up to Project Giving Kids Summer Kindness Challenge.…as well as the answer to the question…Where is the love? Love is all around us, we just have to look, and to share it all.

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

Ideas for summer kindness

PGK summer kindness

On Monday, I shared a guest blog post by Molly Yuska, founder of Project Giving Kids. In it, she reflected on the importance of teaching kindness, not only for the healthy development of our children but for our society and our world at large.

This summer, Project Giving Kids is challenging kids and families everywhere to get in on the action to see just how far and wide the message of kindness can be spread. You too can join the #SummerKindnessChallenge.

Any act of kindness, however big or small, will do. Quick, easy, important and the only way to make our world better, one small act of kindness at a time.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

 

Guest blogger: Molly Yuska Project Giving Kids

Since Charity Matters just celebrated its 5 year anniversary it seems time for some fresh perspectives. So I have invited our first guest blogger, my friend and non-profit founder, Molly Yuska. Molly is not only a mother but founded Project Giving Kids, a place to empower and teach children about philanthropy.

So, without further ado, here is Molly….

molly yuska pic

 

For many of us, the world has started to feel rather scary lately. Almost every week there seems to be a report of some major attack somewhere on our small planet. I can’t help but think how much scarier it must feel to kids who can’t remember a time when the world seemed at peace.

I believe when faced with these kinds of tragedies, we have a choice – to move away in fear and try to hold on even tighter to safeguard our own self-interest in hopes the tighter grip will protect us just a little bit more (or at least make us feel that way) OR to put the fear aside and see it as a call to action, a call to spread kindness and to turn that dark tide back toward the light.

I recently came across an article about kindness and kids. In it, a teacher by the name of Marlem Diaz-Brown states: “I have learned that when you teach kindness and compassion to students and they really understand the concept, everything else falls into place. This should be the first lesson of every teacher.” (Article: http://bit.ly/25IIynS)

Whether the teacher be a parent, an after-school mentor, a grandparent or an actual teacher, I think our children today, perhaps more than any generation that has come before it, need to be reminded of the power of kindness. I want my children to live in a world where they don’t walk the streets in fear of what senseless tragedy may come next. I want them to walk the streets knowing that the power of kindness is stronger than the fear that drives violence. And the sooner we turn them on to their own power to create ripples of kindness, the better off we all will be. After all, kindness is a choice like any other.

I couldn’t have said it better myself! If you want quick and easy project ideas your family can use to begin teaching kindness, visit Project Giving Kids.

Charity Matters.

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

 

Connecting

Charity Matter Founder, Gotta Have Sole Founder, Nicholas Lowinger and PGK Founder, Molly Yuska
Charity Matter Founder, Gotta Have Sole Founder, Nicholas Lowinger and PGK Founder, Molly Yuska

I am a connector, or so I’ve been told. Bringing people together brings me great joy, and bringing people together who do great work, to make our world better, is simply THE best! This weekend, I had the privilege of being with an uber connector, my friend Molly Yuska of Project Giving Kids.

Project Giving Kids is the ultimate example of what happens when people collaborate, to simply do good for others. PGK’s mission is to cultivate empathy in children by connecting them to age-appropriate service opportunities at a critical time in their development.

This past weekend, Molly brought together over eighteen non-profits under one roof, to celebrate their work and what happens when we all work towards a common goal. Everyone from food pantries, to animal shelters, environmental causes and everything in between. It was an evening to celebrate collaboration and so many non-profits and their selfless work.

The night’s honoree was eighteen year old Nicholas Lowinger, of Gotta Have Sole. A non-profit founder, at the age of 13, who has now provided shoes for over 20,000 homeless children across 47 states. It was a night to be reminded how one person CAN make a difference and that connecting good is what truly matters.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2016 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

A little love and kindness

project giving kids, pgk

This past weekend I attended a party for an East Coast non-profit that is heading to LA, which is an unusual move in the non-profit world. There are so many things that make Project Giving Kids unusual, and by that I mean, out of the ordinary and extraordinary. Most of that comes from the amazing founder, Molly Yuska.

I met Molly a few months back interviewing her for CM and knew instantly that she was extraordinary. Her mission is to teach, expose and connect busy families and children to fun, meaningful and age appropriate service activities. She does that by partnering with local (now LA based) non-profits that vary from Healing the Bay to Food for Free and Gotta Have Sole, just to name a few.

Molly is an uber connector but more than that she is passionate about instilling the values of compassion and kindness in her children and ours. She shared a story Saturday night that said it all. Molly told the crowd that her young children wanted to have a lemonade stand a few weeks back. Molly groaned, as they had just done one.

Molly asked her children, “What would you give the money too?”

Her child’s response was,” I don’t want to charge money, I want to give the lemonade away.”

Molly, ” Why would you have a lemonade stand for free?”

Her daughter’s answer,” To spread love and kindness.”

That is exactly what Molly is doing, spreading love and kindness. Two things that world can never have enough of. So welcome to Los Angeles Project Giving Kids! Thank you for bringing all of us more love and kindness.

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.

 

Project Giving Kids

project giving kids

One of the best things about Charity Matters is that I get to meet amazing and inspiring people who make our world better. Each conversation I have with a non-profit founder never ceases to leave me feeling uplifted and hopeful. Last week’s conversation with Molly Yuska was no exception.

Molly is the founder of Project Giving Kids , a nonprofit which  connects busy kids and families to fun, meaningful and age-appropriate service activities.  It all began when Molly co-founded a group at her church to connect families with young children to charitable organizations in need. Despite Molly’s graduate degree in Non-Profit Management, the challenge of connecting families to causes was not as simple as she initially thought.

Undeterred, Molly began to envision what a resource like that might look like. The criteria were simple: Fun for kids; reliable and convenient for busy families; and partnered with nonprofit organizations that could really use the compassion and energy of young volunteers.

Molly said,” I wanted to show my family how to give and realized that there wasn’t a resource for young families to begin the conversation of giving.” The result was tireless research and an incredible web-site she created as tool for families who want to start the conversation and process of incorporating service and giving into their lives.

Project Giving Kids started with a color wheel full of causes kids care about, and the belief that kids could be powerful drivers of the entire process. Molly believes that this continues with you and your family. She said,” If I only impact 100 children, imagine their ripple effect in the world? That makes this all worth it.”

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2014 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.