By Marygrace Taylor
Want to shift the holiday focus at your kid’s school from parties and presents to goodwill and generosity? Try organizing a charitable event. Here, some reasons why giving students the opportunity to help others will help them, too:
- It’ll give kids a sense of gratitude. “Many parents complain about their kids feeling entitled,” says Scott Greenberg, a motivational speaker specializing in youth and education. “Exposing them to those in need will give them a sense of perspective.”
- It’ll give kids a sense of purpose and meaning. Research shows that kids and grown-ups who have a “why” to live—like making the world a better place by helping others—are happier and more resilient. “I speak to countless student organizations, and the ones that focus on philanthropy and service have the happiest students and the most impressive student leaders,” Greenberg says.
- It’ll instill the value of charity at a young age. “When people get old enough to worry about money and their careers, they’re less likely to give and serve—and end up depriving themselves of the joy that comes from charity work,” explains Greenberg. Teaching your child the value of social responsibility early on will help them grow up to be charitable adults.
Want to plan an event at your kid’s school? Get started by choosing a cause that’s important to you. Try organizing a mitten drive for children at a local shelter, or raising enough money to complete renovations at the local library. No matter the project’s scope, it’s sure to make a positive contribution: “For a month, kids at my daughter’s school collected books for a village in Uganda. For a project closer to home, the kids also brought in cans of soup for the needy,” says Anne Marie Carver, a Virginia mom of one.
Finally, make your idea a reality by talking with the school’s PTA leaders. They know what’s going on in the school calendar and budget, and since they have a good working relationship with the principal, teachers, and faculty, they’ll be essential in gathering the needed support to get your project off the ground.