google-site-verification: google0e688bd979c6ae6e.html The Preferred Life: Jun 12, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kids Give Back Through Birthdays That Benefit Charities

Birthdays That Benefit Charities
What makes a child want to give birthday presents away instead of keeping them?  “Mom, I don’t really need anything.  For my party why don’t we have people bring things that we can donate to someone,” said Leilah Mizer to her mom Crystal Macfarlane.  For Leilah’s seventh birthday party, she asked guests to give to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.  She was familiar with RMH because one of her teachers volunteered there.

The theme of giving back through Charitable Birthday Parties seems to be catching on.  Kids want to share their birthday celebrations with others in need.  How sweet and wonderful is this?  Laura Klinger Doyle, communications manager at Ronald McDonald House, said she’s seen “a lot of success” with children asking for donations instead of gifts.  Leilah Mizer raised more than $1,000 through the online fundraising page they set up with FirstGiving.

Claire Hall and Sydney Brown insisted that friends and family give to the Animal Protective League for their birthdays.  Sharon Harvey, president and CEO of the Cleveland APL, notes that contribution-minded kids are influenced by contribution-minded parents, and sometimes kids don’t need prompting as children nine years and older can volunteer at the shelter with a parent.  Claire, who is now 11, has been donating her birthday wishes to the APL since age 4, and Sydney has donated pet toys and treats two consecutive years in a row.

Children imitate their atmosphere.  With active volunteering from parents and other role-models, kids realize that excess is not all that it’s cracked up to be.  Noting that the world and the people in it may require a helping-hand every now and again, children tap into a self-less concern for others.  Maybe they experienced a family crisis, in which the family successfully overcame and the unit became stronger.  Researchers say as kids shift from receiving to donating, they get many immaterial gifts in return.  Studies show that children who take on altruistic responsibilities exhibit higher self-esteem, gain a deeper understanding of the needs of others, and improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills. 

All kids may not jump on board the goodwill bandwagon, but here are some suggestions for parents to consider. 
·       Talk with your kids about the blessings in their lives and what’s their perception about others who are less fortunate.  Ask them what they can do to help.
·       Get kids enthusiastic about causes that reflect their interests.  Margaret Hall says this about her daughter, Claire, “She feels bad for the dogs and cats that don’t have a home.”
·       Learn more about charities in your area that hold the interests of your child and its requisites.  Many charities have specific wish lists of their needs.
·       Make it a reality for your kids.  Have them go with you when making a donation or contribution on their behalf.  Seeing is believing for the kids.  When children witness how their efforts bring happiness, comfort and peace-of-mind into somebody else’s life, they learn the importance of giving, and develop a greater appreciation for what they have and the needs of others.

Not all adults agree with birthdays that benefit others.  According to the New York Times, Judith Martin, who writes the Miss Manners syndicated column fears that kids may “grow up hating philanthropy because it’s done him out of his birthday presents.”  Or maybe, it’s best to let the kids decide how they want to celebrate their birthdays.  Wouldn’t that be the proper thing to do?