Category Archives: News

3 Reasons Why Giving Back to Your Community is Important

Business owners who want to ensure that their companies become increasingly productive and powerful should access strategies that help them realize this professional vision. Although there are many business-building techniques you could access to accomplish your objective, giving back to your community can be particularly effective in facilitating profound, ongoing growth. Here are three reasons why:

1. Personal Growth

Giving back to your community is a simple and effective way to help those in need. Once you experience the reality of positively contributing contributing to the life of another individual, you will likely find yourself growing in important areas, such as your capacity to empathize and use emotional intelligence to recognize the needs of others. All of these areas of personal growth will make you a more effective business person as you become more capable of interacting with people from all walks of life.

One great example of philanthropic work that likely engendered personal growth transpired when the companies Palmco and Columbia Utilities teamed up. Together, these organizations are donating a portion of their proceeds to the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). The proceeds will help children fight cancer and reclaim their lives.

2. Giving Back Promotes Team Unity

In addition to facilitating personal growth, giving back to your community can help build your business by promoting team unity. When you decide to undertake a philanthropic project, many, if not everyone in your company, will need to work together to make the event as successful as possible. Through this process, your employees will likely get to know one another on a more personal level. Also, philanthropic projects tend to be fun and put people in a good mood as they recognize that they have the power to improve the quality of another individual’s life. The feeling of team unity and positive memories created through volunteer work oftentimes results in your employees working together in more effective, amicable ways that optimize your daily operations.

3. Philanthropic Work Helps Build Your Business

One final reason why giving back to your community is important pertains to the fact that philanthropic work helps build your business. This process can transpire in numerous ways. For example, local citizens who hear that your business has done a can drive or has given a scholarship to someone in need will likely formulate a positive opinion of your organization. This type of positive brand recognition will oftentimes translate into people becoming lifelong, loyal customers. Additionally, doing philanthropic work enables you to meet prospective business owners who will likely help push your company forward in powerful, productive ways.

Conclusion

If you’re ready to take your business to a new level of efficacy and excellence, know that giving back to your community is a great way to make it happen. Philanthropic work is important because it engenders personal growth, builds team unity, and provides you with networking opportunities. With these realities in mind, be sure to start planning a company-wide volunteer project as soon as possible!

Top photo: zenlight/Flickr

Fix the World, Girls: Nonprofits Founded by Women

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

All around the world, there is hardship and suffering. There are moments of injustice and discrimination; countries at war are being ripped apart from the inside-out by greed and corruption; more and more families are trying to make ends meet under the poverty line. When you think about the human condition today, it is far too easy to get discouraged or for your outlook on the future to turn bleak. Sometimes we need a reminder of all the good that is being done here and around the world.

In times of change, conflict, and crisis, the women who founded the nonprofits we’ve rounded up below didn’t just wish for things to be different — they worked to create lasting change that is actively enriching and saving lives. Check out the slideshow below to learn how black and brown dolls are revolutionizing the way young girls of color see themselves, how survivors of human rights abuses are earning a living wage and uplifting their communities, what is being done to inspire more women to run for political office, and more.

Note: If you are running an ad blocker, you will need to disable it to see the slideshow.

Check out Fix the World, Girls: Nonprofits Founded by Women

by Woman Tribune at Mode

The Privilege of Back to School Season and Girls’ Education

All this week and last, kids have been steadily making their way back to school for another year of learning and growing as individuals. In our neck of the woods, the last of the summer stragglers will return to the classroom after Labor Day, thus completing this year’s transition from the lazy days of summer to early mornings, books, and homework.

When I was a kid, I anticipated going back to school. First day of school pictures captured my gap-toothed grin that couldn’t possibly get any wider as my hands clutched onto a brand new backpack and lunchbox. I liked going to school, and I liked learning new things. As I got older, my love for the school establishment diminished, but my hunger for knowledge stayed very much the same.

Whether I anticipated or dreaded heading back to school, one thing is abundantly clear as I look back on my school career now — I was lucky. I was lucky to have the opportunity to experience back to school season every year; to attend a school within walking distance of my home; to learn from wise teachers who took the responsibility of my impressionable brain seriously.

Many girls around the world are not as lucky as I have been. Today, there are an estimated 31 million primary-school-age girls who face daunting barriers that keep them from attending school and receiving an education. Though hungry to learn, these young girls face gender discrimination, the burden of being responsible for household chores, lack of access to transportation to get to the nearest school, or are forced to marry way too soon.

The state of girls’ education in the developing world is both shocking and humbling:

  • Keeping girls out of school sentences them to a life of poverty and poor health
  • Women earn 10-20% more for every year of school completed
  • Children of educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school
  • Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5
Laxmi Udaan Girls School
Josh Estey/CARE

CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls, is working to remove the barriers to education that are keeping millions of girls who are hungry to learn away from school. One of the ways in which they are succeeding is at the CARE-supported Udaan residential school in Hardoi, India, where girls like Laxmi Pal aren’t only creating art, but also history.

12-year-old Laxmi grew up believing that she did not belong in school. Instead, her days were filled with housework and looking after her younger siblings while her mother was away cleaning houses and her father struggled to find seasonal work on farms. In her rural farming village, girls typically marry and move out of their family’s home at 14. Laxmi became the only member of her immediate family to ever go to school when she began attending Udaan. Their program is giving adolescent girls who had either never been enrolled in school or were forced to drop out a second chance to learn through an accelerated bridge course. After, Laxmi and girls like her can be mainstreamed into a government school to continue their education.

Invest in a Girl’s Future

Education is an investment that pays off now and for generations to come. You can help CARE’s mission to eliminate barriers to education for millions of girls by purchasing a Gift of Lasting Change. Browse CARE’s catalog of back to school gifts to support their work in promoting girls’ education.

Some of the gifts you can give are:

  • $10 cash donation
  • School uniforms for 2 girls ($38)
  • 2 pairs of school shoes ($30)
  • Backpack and school starter kit ($26.10)
  • 3 feminine hygiene kits for teen girls ($30)
CARE girls education
CARE

This back to school season, help make a difference in the lives of girls around the world with CARE.

Top photo: Josh Estey/CARE

5 Fun Flower-Worthy Occasions in September

We all know the holidays in which flowers are the only acceptable form of gift. While these days are special and we can feel good about greeting our loved ones with a bouquet of beautiful flowers as a small token of our appreciation for everything they do, there are other unique occasions that hardly anyone thinks to celebrate the same way. Here are five out-of-the-box flower-worthy occasions coming up next month where a bouquet of flowers would certainly brighten up a family member or friend’s day.

National Courtesy Month

September is National Courtesy Month! It’s OK, we had no idea, either, but we can all use September as a way to help convince the pessimists of the world that common courtesy is indeed alive and well. We’re sure we can all agree that giving one of your favorite people a beautiful bouquet of flowers would certainly be seen as a courteous act.

Self Improvement Month

yellow rosesSeptember is also Self Improvement Month. If a friend or family member has been wanting to make a positive change in their lives, or mentioned trying something new that they haven’t gotten around to doing yet, give them a little token of encouragement to get started.

Grandparent’s Day

Grandparent’s Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day, making this year’s Grandparent’s Day September 13. If you don’t visit your grandparents often enough, pick up a bouquet of flowers and drop by for a visit on this day — they’ve earned it.

National Women’s Friendship Day

Our female friends play such important roles in our lives, hopefully throughout the course of years. Do something special for your closest friends on September 20 to celebrate National Women’s Friendship Day. Maybe host an intimate dinner at home or go out to your favorite meeting spot — whatever you do, choosing a small bouquet for each of your girlfriends to show them how much you appreciate them being a rock for you when you’ve needed them will definitely be appreciated.

World Gratitude Day

September 21 is World Gratitude Day. Originated in Hawaii and celebrated since 1966, this is a day where flowers from Sydney could have a positive impact on someone day. World Gratitude Day centers around the notion that we are happier people when we take the time reflect on the amazing things we are privileged enough to have in our lives. Share your appreciation for all that is good in your life on World Gratitude Day with a bouquet for someone who has consistently made your life better.

Forced to Become Dads Too Soon: The Child Grooms of Nepal #ChildGrooms #ad

Nepal child marriage
Photos: © 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE | Illustrations: Stephen Purnell/CARE

It’s Father’s Day weekend and while many of us will be celebrating the dads in our lives who have been there to shape us into who we are today, there is a devastating and widely hidden cultural pandemic occurring in the South Asian country of Nepal.

I love Father’s Day. I was raised by a single dad committed to his family and who always tried his best to do what was right. He introduced me to and instilled in me a lifelong love of video games, and he encouraged my curiosity when I began to teach myself how to design and code websites — a skill that I have retained and built upon throughout my adulthood and have even shaped my career around. He validated my passions, supported me as I found my voice and got involved in social justice activism, even if he didn’t fully understand or agree with my point of view himself, and he forgave me unequivocally each and every time I disappointed him.

For all intents and purposes, my dad became a father relatively young. He might not have been fully ready to put on the badge of ‘dad’ when he did, but he had the privilege of being an adult with a high school education and access to a job that paid well enough to financially support his family. But the child grooms of Nepal do not know this privilege; not even close.

Over the last several years we have been given intimate, soul-crushing depictions of child brides and the bleak lives many of them face after being forced to marry much older men. Their stories are heartbreaking, and they make us wonder how we can live in a world where this not only happens, but is a deeply ingrained part of a culture. But in some areas of the world, like in western Nepal, child brides marry child grooms.

CARE, a leading humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls, has released a shocking report this Father’s Day that shines a light on the fathers some are more comfortable to leave in the dark and others don’t know exists. “Dads Too Soon: The Child Grooms of Nepal” is a multimedia report on the misfortunate and suffering of forced child marriage and the plight of boys who are forced to marry as young as 7, doomed to stay in poverty with their families, and the families they have no choice but to begin themselves as soon as possible.

Parashuram, a child groom of Nepal, was forced to marry when he was 9 years old. He wet himself at his wedding because he had no idea how to untie the ceremonial garment that was placed on him so that he could use the bathroom. When he was 12, he was pressured to produce a child, even though he hadn’t hit puberty yet. Speaking about his experience he blamed himself, saying, “I couldn’t do what was expected of me as a married man.”

Soon after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, CARE was able to reach tens of thousands of people with life-saving relief due to the relationship they have sustained with the people of Nepal since 1978. One of the fears the poverty-fighting organization has is that the natural disaster will further isolate rural communities, and it could intensify the economic pressure many families feel that fuel forced child marriage.

Nepal child grooms
Photos: © 2015 Carey Wagner/CARE | Illustrations: Stephen Purnell/CARE

In Nepal’s Kapilbastu District, 12% of boys are married by age 14; 62% by age 19. Like child brides, child grooms endure psychological and physical trauma and usually drop out of school, pressured by the immediacy of having to support their wives and families. As painful as their stories are, former child grooms have become powerful voices in the movement to end child marriage in Nepal.

Emerging as key allies in the movement, former child grooms like Pannilal Yadev is sharing his story of how he was so young when he was married that he can barely recall it. Today, he works with CARE’s Tipping Point program, lending his story and life experience in hopes of changing people’s minds about child marriage, striking at the root of the pandemic to finally put an end to the custom of forcing children to trade their childhoods for marriage, a family, and poverty that they will never be able to rise up out of.

Forced child marriage is a human rights violation. Lend your support to CARE’s initiative to end child marriage by sending a letter to your Representative and Senators to make fighting child marriages a priority.

Your Taxes are Done! Treat Yo Self with Some Tax Day Freebies and Deals

taxes
teegardin/Flickr

Tax season is the worst season, and why can’t it be in the winter when we’re stuck inside anyway instead of interfering with our beautiful spring weather?

Now that your taxes have been filed you’re over the one bummer spring brings with it, and it’s time to celebrate. We’ve tracked down some ways you can treat yo self today (and the next few days for some) with Tax Day freebies and deals.

  • When you buy one Whopper at Burger King, you’ll get another one free with this coupon.
  • Participating McDonald’s locations have a buy one, get one for a penny deal on Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. No coupon needed.
  • When you buy one Individual Meal at Boston Market, you’ll get a second Individual Meal free.
  • Hard Rock Cafe will make you sing for your supper, but if you’re willing to take the stage and belt out a tune you’ll get a free Local Legendary Burger.
  • Say “Taxes Schmaxes” when you place your order at California Tortilla to get a free order of chips and queso.
  • Olive Garden is offering a coupon for $6 off a dinner for two now through April 19.
  • Outback Steakhouse will take 15% off your check when you present this coupon now through May 3.
  • Participating Hydro Massage locations and select Planet Fitness Centers are treating tax payers to a free massage now through April 17. Just call your nearest location to schedule your massage and enjoy.
  • Save $8 on Pampers or Huggies value boxes of diapers at Babies”R”Us with this coupon, valid through April 30.
  • Use coupon code X8W8L3A at Barnes and Noble for 20% off one item now through May 1.
  • Participating Office Depot locations are ready to take all the paperwork of tax season off your hands with a coupon for free paper shredding for up to 5 pounds of paper.

Know of any other Tax Day freebies or deals? Share them in the comments!

How to Make a Difference in the Lives of Military Families and the Direct Energy Military Portal #DEcares #ad


I come from a fairly small, exceptionally tight-knit family. A calling that has been passionately pursued by many of those in my family is that of military service.

My great-grandfather traveled all over the world as an ambassador of his country while providing for his family. He always brought my grandmother back a small token — a piece of jewelry, a charm — indigenous to the area he had just returned from. He passed away in the late ’90s of complications from Alzheimer’s, and while I was a young child at the time, I can still remember him telling stories of his time in the military, even when he was no longer capable of recalling my name or who I was.

My great-uncle learned invaluable skills through his time in the military, and as a result holds a prestigious job because of that knowledge. His eldest son, my second-cousin, followed in the footsteps laid out before him and also joined the military, using it as a vessel for his music and now plays in the U.S. Army band.

My aunt joined the National Guard right after graduating from high school, around the time I was born. She then transferred to the Army Reserves and retired after 26 years of service as a Sergeant First Class.

Aunt Jenn James R Minicozzi Memorial Run
My aunt finishing the 3rd Annual James R. Minicozzi Memorial Run in honor of a fallen soldier and friend.

I have always had a great deal of pride in my aunt. It isn’t just because she served in the military for 26 years, but because she proudly did so in the face of adversity as a woman soldier. She proved herself to be just as strong, hard-working, and worthy as her male counterparts, and it is through her experiences that I find strength in myself in whatever I do.

Her military career is an inspiring story of perseverance and defying odds, and I could not be more proud of her and of the life she has had.

Aunt Jenn military awards

You don’t have to come from or be part of a military family to care about those who serve our country. Here are some simple things you can do to give back and say ‘thanks’ that will have a meaningful impact on active military, veterans, and those who love them most.

Make Your Voice Heard for Military Rights

Almost exactly one year ago, it was reported that at least 40 United States Armed Forces veterans had died while waiting for care at the VA hospital located in Phoenix, Arizona. An investigation into the matter in June 2014 uncovered a harsh reality that veterans around the country were facing unrealistic wait times and unusual restrictions to their benefits. President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff reported on the situation saying that there were “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture” inside the Veterans Health Administration.

While Congressional legislation was signed into effect in August 2014 by President Obama regarding VA funding and implementing reform within the Veterans Health Administration, there is still a lot to be done in order to truly support and lift up military servicepeople.

It is cruel to expect our military personnel to be there for us when we need them, to go to war if they are asked to do so, and to selflessly give their lives in the name of our freedom, and then deny them the benefits that they have earned once they can no longer deploy or serve as active duty.

When you hear of news regarding retiree benefits for veterans, ensuring that these men and women receive quality health care and have access to higher education in order to secure a civilian job once they are no longer active duty, educate yourself. Take a look at these initiatives and stand up in support of them. Call or write your local politicians and ask them to support initiatives on ensuring your community’s military and veterans are happy, healthy, and secure, sign a petition, and spread the word on social media.

Thank a Serviceperson

Whenever me and my aunt go out anywhere — shopping, to the movies, out to a restaurant for lunch, anywhere — if she sees a military serviceperson in uniform or wearing a veteran jacket or cap, she approaches them to thank them for their service. It is a gesture that takes less than 30 seconds of your time, but means everything to someone who has dedicated their life, or part of their life, to serving their country, and serving you.

Support Military Charities

There are many military charities out there that have a direct impact on the quality of life of our military and veterans. These are just three of the charities making a difference:

  • Hope for the Warriors: Founded in 2006 by military wives after they witnessed first-hand the effects of war on spouses and their families, Hope for the Warriors helps to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. Through them, service members can receive access to career transition and education programs, health and wellness counseling, and community building initiatives for military families as they transition into civilian life.
  • Wounded Warrior Project: The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and military service members who have incurred physical or psychological injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001. Armed with the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, the Wounded Warrior Project works to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new, personal victories and triumphs, and are equipped to service military service members and veterans with every type of injury — from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.
  • Pits for Patriots: Founded in May 2011, this organization trains qualified, rescued pit bulls from various Chicago area dog rescues and shelters to work as service therapy and skilled companion dogs for United States military veterans and first responders. By providing a rescued dog (at no cost, at that) Pits for Patriots saves two lives by uniting military servicepeople in need of repairing their lives with a dog given a second chance to serve, protect, and heal.

Direct Energy Military Portal

Direct Energy Military Portal

There are many companies and brands out there who offer a little something to U.S. military and veterans, like discounts year-round and a free treat on days of significance, like the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. I can’t tell you how many times a year my dad, a woodworker by trade, asks my aunt to accompany him to Lowe’s or Home Depot to gain access to her military discount, and our periodic shopping trips at Old Navy (also known as the only place with jeans that fit my unique shape) are always just a little bit cheaper. Direct Energy recently joined the ranks of thanking military personnel around the country by helping them save on their home energy needs.

Direct Energy is one of the largest retail providers of electricity, natural gas, and home services in North America. As a company committed to giving back to those who have given so much, they have recently launched the Direct Energy Military Portal, a dedicated space where active military and veterans can find discounted energy rates for their home energy needs.

To be eligible for the discounted military rates Direct Energy offers, you must enter your valid military ID into the Military Portal. Once it verifies, you will then be directed to a dedicated military plans page where you can view the plans available in your area.

Once you’re a Direct Energy customer, you will gain access to other time- and money-saving features, including the on-the-go Online Account Manager, on-time bill payment rewards program, and the Refer-a-Friend Program.

If you’re a U.S. military serviceperson, veteran, part of a military family, or know someone who is, spread the word about the newly-launched Direct Energy Military Portal where money is just waiting to be saved.

What do you do to say thanks to military service members and veterans?

CARE Knows How to Fight Poverty and Empower the World #CAREKnowsHow #ad

This post is sponsored by CARE, but my passion and support for making the world a better place for everyone is all my own.

We are all familiar with the term “care package,” but do you know where it originates from?

CARE package

CARE.org was founded in 1945 after the end of World War II. 22 American organizations and thousands of people, including President Harry S. Truman, banded together to send lifesaving packages to starving survivors of the war in Europe. On May 11, 1946, the first 20,000 CARE packages arrived at the battered port of Le Havre, France, delivering supplies and a respite to the war-torn area and the vulnerable people who called it home.

Since then, CARE has grown to become a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls.

I have been committed to social justice issues for as long as I can remember, and have always wished to live in a world that is equal, fair, compassionate, free from pride and greed, and with respect for culture and the melting pot of traditions all people have. I have been called an idealist for my legitimate wondering as to how there could possibly be people in this world who don’t prioritize peace and equality, and I have been called naive. All I can say is that if I am still naive about the world around me at 28, then I hope I never lose that.

I think more people would realize that radical change could happen around the world if they knew how — how it happened, how they could make it happen, how it is happening. Luckily, CARE Knows How.

CARE stats

CARE facilitates lasting change for people all over the world by thinking outside of the box and within the constraints the people and communities with whom they are working. They have a proven track record for coming up with strategies that really work to solve problems and change lives. They do this by:

  • Strengthening the capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms

CARE has proven that it is possible to lift the world’s poorest people out of extreme poverty. Unlike what many people here in the U.S. are told and tend to believe about the poor, people living in poverty do not want handouts, they need a helping hand. These are human beings who want to provide for themselves, but are unable to start. CARE’s innovative work has given families and entire communities back their dignity.

In Ecuador, they implemented a system that saves people time and eliminates hard labor by harvesting water for drinking and washing from fog. Through this system, people are able to collect up to 200 liters of water that is filtered and safe for home use.

In Malawi, the CARE Village Savings and Loan Association was established to give people micro-loans so that they could start their own businesses and become self-sufficient. One woman, Biti Rose, joined the association and was given a $2 loan to purchase ingredients she needed to make donuts. Her donuts become wildly popular, earning her several dollars a day so that she and her husband could provide for their family, reinvest their profits into their children’s educations, and care for their farm. CARE literally found a way for this family to beat poverty with donuts. How amazing is that?!

CARE
CARE

In December 2014, the Water for the World Act was passed. This piece of legislation improves access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene for 750 million people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water and the 2.5 billion without access to adequate toilets. The Water for the World Act was informed and advocated for by CARE, with their citizen advocates playing a critical role in its passing after the bill confronted several barriers to passage.

CARE is helping heal and empower the world through their tireless work — work that spans so many different areas of life and wellness in immeasurable ways. Visit CARE.org to learn more about what they do to fight poverty and injustice while empowering the world, and please consider making a donation to their cause if you can.

Teaching Your Kids to Give: Establishing the Mentality of Lifelong Giving

youth volunteers
directrelief/Flickr

While raising kids has never been easy, it can be one of the most rewarding things that some people do — especially when children grow up to be productive, contributing members to society, and that includes knowing how to give back and enrich the communities in which they live.

When should children start participating in the giving process? As early as possible. Even if they are still toddlers, observing charitable acts that happen regularly and eventually understanding them will leave a big impression. Learning how to give and developing that skill set is a lifelong journey.

Giving is more than a task, it’s a mindset. A way of life, a way of looking at the world and asking, how can I help? How can I make connections between needs and time and resources? How can I bring awareness to specific needs and evoke action?

  1. Ask Your Kids How They Would Like to Help.

    If giving to a cause is new to your household, involve your kids as early as possible; tell them that your family has the chance to give back. Then, engage them in a conversation about the types of causes they may feel strongly about and ways they think they can help.This could involve helping families, working to save open spaces, caring for nature or a community garden, helping to save an endangered species, or helping those in need.

    Once you’ve identified key topics that your family is interested in (make a list, as this helps visualize everything) start researching specific local organizations (add them to the list).

    • Food kitchens
    • Pet shelters and animal rescues
    • Nature conservation efforts
    • Fundraising for various activities for low-income kids, like camp
    • Zoos, museums, and aquariums
    • Schools and local libraries (these days, even they need as much help as they can get)
    • Visitation of patients in hospitals
    • Visitation of the elderly in nursing homes
  2. Make a Game Plan

    Get creative about how your family can help the organization(s) you choose. Bake sales are traditional, but there are other ways to help. Talk it through with your family, map it out, and post the results somewhere in the home that is highly visible.

    Gamify it to some degree with tasks that turn into goals that turn into accomplishments, that result in stickers.

  3. Quick Tasks and Ideas That Can Make a Big Difference

    Clear the clutter. Every 6 to 12 months, have a household closet cleaning day (that includes the toy chest, and maybe even the garage). Get everyone in the family to help.

    Make a donate box. Put it out where your kids can add to it. Donate often, even if it’s small.

    Make detours to giving. When shopping, make a trip down the canned food aisle. Ask your kids to pick a can of food to put in your donate box at home.

    Find ways to raise money for donations. Hold a yard sale and give all or a portion of your sales to a selected charity. Do the same with a bake sale, an art sale, etc. Involve your kids at all stages.

    Associate getting with giving. For birthdays and holidays, aside from their other gifts, give your kids a hand-written gift “certificate of giving” with a specified amount of money that they can gift to their favorite charity. Take your child to the charity to donate that money in-person if you can. For non-location organizations, write a check and have your child include a letter.

    Volunteer time in your local community. From public gardens that need weeding, to historic buildings that need painting, or food banks that need help, find something age-appropriate that can engage your family.

  4. Growing the Mindset

    Tell stories. There are lots of real-life stories about kids or groups of kids who have found creative ways to give back. Encourage empathy. Share appropriate stories of struggle. Ask kids what they would do in a certain situation, and how they would want people to help them.

    Walk them through the cycle. If your kids are young, say, “We’re going to give this can of food/winter coat/gift to ______.” (Then explain the results.) “It will give them something to eat/keep them warm this winter/help them __________.”

    Explain why you are doing it and what you’re looking for. “We don’t need to store all this stuff when someone else could really use it.” Or, “I bet there is a kid out there who would really enjoy playing with that toy. I know you used to love it, but how about if you pass it along to someone else so they can enjoy it as much as you have?” Keep the focus on the people in need and your child’s ability to share an experience through an item. Establishing an impermanent relationships to “things” can help kids better understand the importance of relationships over acquiring goods.

    Develop a language of giving in your household. Find creative opportunities to incorporate it into regular conversation. Nothing is permanent. We are stewards of the planet, and the things we think we own. Everything is in change, and it is our duty to help those in need when we have abundance. If ever there is a time when we are without, we hope that others will think of us and help us.

Teaching children about the struggles of others not only develops a lifelong giving mindset, it also helps children understand how their words and actions impact those around them — a lesson that bears repeating.

This article has been republished with permission and provided to Woman Tribune by the authors. Read more about them below.

Jennifer L. Jacobson is the founder of Jacobson Communication and an advocate for organizations looking to make a positive difference in the world. She currently serves on the board of several influential nonprofits and organizations focused on conservation, education, and community. For more, visit www.jacobsoncommunication.com

Gretchen Barry is the Director of marketing and Communications for NonProfitEasy; the all-in-one data management software, created by nonprofits for nonprofits. From CRM and database management, to events, donor engagement, fundraising, and more, NonProfitEasy offers a one-stop, affordable, integrated software solution that is changing the status quo for the greater good. For more, visit www.nonprofiteasy.com

Meaningful Gifts for a Cause That Are a Win-Win #ad

This is a sponsored guest post from Reed and Barton.

Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause

It’s rare to come across a charity purchase that helps people in need help themselves, but the Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause project does just that in a unique and special way.

This collection of hand-blown and heirloom quality gifts feature designs by young patients in the Children’s Art Project at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, handsomely recreated and gift boxed for holiday giving. These gifts are empowering to the giver, the gift recipient, as well as the child artists themselves, as a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these gifts return to MD Anderson Cancer Center to fund patient-focused programs that ease and enrich the lives of young patients.

Some of the charming gifts include:

  • Santa Angel Ornament by Victor, featuring a whimsical winged Santa flying in a starry sky on a stunning teardrop-shaped glass ornament
  • Santa Angel Snowglobe by Victor finds Santa Angel dodging falling snowflakes to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” in a globe atop a gleaming, tarnish-resistant silver-plated base.
  • Bethlehem Ornament by Carlo, a bright and colorful street scene in the Holy City, backed by a dramatic black sky. 14-year-old Carlo’s design encircles an egg-shaped hand-blown glass ornament that glistens with glittery and Swarovski Elements, and is topped with a Reed and Barton coat of arms charm.

Reed and Barton Santa Angel ornament

For Woman Tribune Readers ONLY!

For a limited time, when you purchase any item from the Reed and Barton Gifts for a Cause collection, you will receive the Santa Angel by Victor silver-plated ornament FREE with code MDGIFT.

The Santa Angel ornament must first be added to your cart. Once it is added to your cart, the retail price ($25) will be subtracted from your order. Offer valid while supplies last.

About MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

The MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital’s Children’s Art Project has helped generate more than $30 million in worldwide sales toward programs that benefit over 26,000 pediatric cancer patients and their families.