Find a Cause. Make A Difference. Simple. Easy. Fun.
At Project Giving Kids, we are all about making service easy, accessible and fun! To that end, we've put together some great ideas for the upcoming school year that you can excecute with your family, your friends, your class, or your team. Whether you pick one idea or all ten OR search through our site to find another project that might be even more meaningful for you, we hope this gives you a good starting point. We've got one for each of our pilot cities - Los Angeles & Boston - but for those of you in other beautiful places, our site is full of great ideas for you too. If you ever have a question, shoot us an email and we'll gladly put our thinking caps on and do our best to help. Happy Back to School!
"Yuska says she is inspired seeing kids give of themselves with no expected return. 'I think it's important to remember that kids are hard-wired for empathy. We just need to tap into that. And the earlier we do that, the bigger the impact.'"
Catch the rest of the story here!
Founder of Project Giving Kids, Molly Yuska, shares her thoughts on the paramount importance of youth servicee. The following article recently appeared in the Philanthropy Journal.
In 1989, President George H. W. Bush articulated a vision of a “thousand points of light” in his inaugural address, encouraging Americans everywhere to take action through service. While this call to action was by no means new at the time, then-President Bush brought to the forefront of the national discussion the importance of service. Subsequent leaders carried this torch forward in their own ways, further cementing the principle that service is integral to who we are as a people. Commitment to service has become a part of who we are as a society and as a culture.
As a result, the United States now enjoys one of the highest volunteerism rates in the world. In 2013, about 62.6 million Americans – 25.4 percent of the adult population – gave 7.7 billion hours of volunteer service worth an estimated $173 billion. Among teenagers, the volunteer rate is nearly double that of adults. The impact these numbers represent on nonprofit organizations providing many critical services spanning a wide variety of important issues is significant, as is the overall benefit to society.
As impressive as the figures stated above may appear, we are missing the opportunity to make an even greater impact. This missed opportunity is rooted in the reality that as a nation we fail to engage our children in lives of service at a young enough age. Parents aren’t really to blame – between sports, academics, playdates and family obligations, little time is left over for service opportunities. This is why most children don’t encounter service opportunities until they near adulthood. And for those children who DO seek out service opportunities at a young age, it’s frustratingly difficult to identify age-appropriate volunteer opportunities. Herein lies the pain-point that Project Giving Kids alleviates.
Participating in community service early in childhood helps cultivate empathy and helps kids forge stronger relationships as they grow in their ability to understand at a deeper level the experiences and perspectives of others. Fast-forward to the teenage years and statistics show those who volunteer tend to do better in school, are less likely to use drugs, have better self-esteem, and develop strong leadership skills, all of which help when it comes time to fill out those all-important college applications. When we volunteer side-by-side with our children, it feels good to do something together that has meaning, and those are the memories we all want to hold on to.
Whatever the reason for starting, the fire that is ignited when one begins on the journey of giving back is not readily extinguished. Those who volunteer in their youth are twice as likely to volunteer as adults. What is more, volunteering in one’s youth also influences both the propensity to donate (to charitable organizations), as well as the amount actually given. In other words, the seed that is planted continues to flourish in many ways, making engagement of youth in service a significant opportunity for the nonprofit sector as a whole.
Beyond the benefits to the nonprofit community specifically, youth service rates also correlate to higher levels of general civic engagement, including voting rates, as a stronger sense of social issues and a desire to influence them are also important byproducts of early and repeated exposure to service. In other words, our democracy and society at-large win, too.
Project Giving Kids is one way to take the friction out of finding where to begin this journey of giving back by connecting kids to causes they care about and to local organizations working on those causes through a creative online platform, while simultaneously strengthening the nonprofit sector by connecting them to new pipelines of volunteers and donors. The benefits at the individual, organizational, community and national levels are clear, not only in the moment but further down the line. We all must work to make service at the earliest of ages a priority, and in doing so, we may find there are many more points of light than we ever imagined.
WHY JOIN PGK?
Project Giving Kids is all about cultivating the next generation of Giving Kids, because it is good for them, good for the community, and good for the planet.
We believe that when kids realize early they can make a difference, they are more likely to do so, again and again. By joining PGK, kids become part of a team, have enhanced access to our site and our programs, and become a part of something much bigger than themselves.
Here’s to our children realizing they have the power to make the world a better place.
Molly Yuska, Founder
- Service and volunteering help build empathy in children. Kids who are empathetic do better in school, get along better with others and form stronger relationships, making them more resilient and successful throughout their lives. It is no surprise that the most successful leaders have high levels of empathy too.