This is something I have tried to instill in my son over the years. Growing up, my mom had a home daycare and my dad was a painter/contractor in a small town. My dad's job was somewhat seasonal; winter was always the slowest time of year. Sometimes my dad would go several months without any work. There were times that my mom had to depend on state assistance just to get by. I remember being one of those kids on the Angel Tree; my mom signed me up because we barely had money for rent or food, never mind Christmas gifts.
I cherished whatever I received at Christmas and was thankful in times of comfort and times of want. And I never forgot the kindness of strangers who bought gifts for me through that program. Each year that we are able, my family chooses a child from the Angel Tree to "adopt" for Christmas. My son helped pick out clothing items and toys for children he didn't know. And each time I'd tell the story about how the kindness of strangers blessed me as a child and how I want to pass that blessing on to someone else.
While he hasn't had the experience himself, I hope that he realizes the importance of helping those in need through the stories I've shared. And I hope to do the same with my daughter when she is old enough to understand.
There are many deserving organizations this holiday season that you can support. One of those organizations is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. BGCA has launched its 2nd annual Give the Gift of a Future Holiday campaign in the spirit of giving.
The Kids Give Back contest highlights service projects from club kids who have given 1 million+ hours of community service. Isn't that amazing?
Your daily vote through Dec. 19th will help one winning club receive a $2500 grant from BGCA!
There are other ways that you can get involved too. Just by playing the free Giving Game, you can donate a gift to a Club this season. When you click on the link to the game, you'll see a heart dangling from a string. Click on the "Start", the boxes will shuffle around; follow the box with the heart in it. If you guess which box contains the heart correctly, you will find out which gift will be donated.
Available gifts include:
- $1 donations to the Boys and Girls Club membership fund, up to $10,000. Clubs will use funds for membership outreach and scholarships
- Up to 5,800 art kits
- Up to 6,000 plantable book marks
It's such an easy way to give back and your kids will have fun with it too! You can play through Dec. 31st.
BGCA also has a helpful list of tips for parents to teach kids the value of giving back.
My personal favorites include:
Read Books About Giving:
My kids are big readers; I try to select books that have great life lessons like sharing, caring for others, and giving back. Picture books are wonderful tools to open up discussion with little ones.
Do Something Fun, like Cooking or an Art Project:
We have made Christmas cards for soldiers, sung Christmas carols at the nursing home, and made cookies for neighbors. Kids learn best by doing something hands on.
Family projects like picking up trash in our neighborhood and adopting a child at Christmas have had a great impact on teaching my children to have a heart for helping others.
It's wonderful to see organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of America providing ways for kids to get involved in giving back to their communities. I hope you will visit the links to vote for your favorite service project, play the game to donate to BGCA, and incorporate some of the tips with your family.
Do you have any tips for teaching your kids the spirit of giving back?
I'd love to hear what you do to get your kids involved during the holiday season or throughout the year.
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating