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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.

Back to school: Philanthrophy

photo via: Grades of Green
photo via: Grades of Green

Today was my sons first day back to school. Along with the traditional photo-op on the front porch, the new shoes and sharpened pencils comes another opportunity. One more year to think about how to plant the seeds of compassion in my sons.  What are a few ways to get them thinking this school year about ways to help another?

1. The first suggestion is to ask your children what they think they can do. You will be shocked and inspired by their ideas. When I asked my high school son his plans for philanthropy this year, he responded that he was going to continue reading to low-income students who struggle at Reading Partners, his adopted cause. It is a wonderful organization where you commit to one or two students a couple of times a week and make real one and one impact.

2. For my younger son, he prefers the team approach. Like all good ideas, especially involving kids, they are usually best involving friends. Get a group together and make a plan. It can be as big as adopting a low-income school with your school or as small as creating a back to school backpack stuffing party for the local family homeless shelter in your neighborhood. He will do anything if it involves a team effort.

3. Find out what the school has planned and encourage your kids to get involved. If the school doesn’t have a philanthropy, suggest one. One of my favorites is Grades of Green. Grades of Green is an amazing organization that teaches children how to make their schools greener and be environmentally aware of simple things that make a universal impact. In addition to being a great organization for any school or team, they also have a new Youth Corp for future environmental leaders.

There are so many ways to plant the seed of compassion in your student. Once that seeds takes root, it is up to us to nurture and develop all the wonderful possibilities that go along with new pencils and a new year of possibilities.

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.

Reading Partners Follow Up

Hearing these words from 9-year-old Tavan last week was pure joy!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

I was invited to see the opening of a new chapter of Reading Partners, a literacy program for elementary school children, here in town.  You may remember the  post on Reading Partners from last spring.  It was so exciting to witness progress in action. When 9-year-old, Tavan got up and read Dr. Seuss in front of a group of strangers with pride, you can’t help but get excited.

Reading Partners began a decade ago, as three women noticed their local elementary school in trouble and wanted to help. Their goals were simple:

  • Focus on children from low-income communities.
  • Give one-on-one instruction at the student’s reading level.
  • Recruit and train community volunteers to work with children.
  • Partner with high-need elementary schools to offer an effective program on campus.
  • Provide a way for volunteers to give a small amount of their time to make a huge difference in a child’s life.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvcVGPm–ww&feature=plcp]

These three women started out with one school and today Reading Partners has over 5,000 volunteers in 65 schools in 5 states…all because a few women cared about their community and committed to making it better. Do you have an hour to spare a week? Maybe do you know someone who might? Simply click here and go under volunteers. You can change a child’s life simply by helping them read.

“Oh! The places you’ll go!”

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.

 

Reading Partners

Last week, I had the great fortune to be introduced to an amazing non-profit called Reading Partners. If you are reading this post right now, you are blessed. There are thousands of young children across our country that are not so lucky.

However, it just takes a few people to care about something enough to take action. In 1999, Mary Wright Shaw, Molly McCrory and Jean Bacigalupi saw their neighborhood school in need and launched a reading  program at Belle Haven Elementary School in Menlo Park.  These women saw children that needed help and decided to make a difference. They took their skills as teachers, mothers and entrepreneurs and mobilized a community to join them.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUemtM8bS-U]

Today, many states count prison beds based on illiteracy numbers. That is just so wrong.  Rather than being reactive Reading Partners is proactive to get in there and simply:

  • Focus on children from low-income communities.
  • Give one-on-one instruction at the student’s reading level.
  • Recruit and train community volunteers to work with children.
  • Partner with high-need elementary schools to offer an effective program on campus.
  • Provide a way for volunteers to give a small amount of their time to make a huge difference in a child’s life.

Their goal is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction and get results. These three women started out with one school and today Reading Partners has over 3,000 volunteers in 65 schools in 5 states…all because a few women cared about their community and committed to making it better.

Charity Matters.

Copyright © 2012 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.