"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher
PGK Spotlight - The Simpson Family
Living in the great big city of Los Angeles, our family has always been looking for opportunities to get involved with special causes, and to give back the love we feel fortunate to have all around us in this great community. The only issue sometimes is where to start, and not only that, but how to find causes that are kid friendly so that our children can feel as big a part of the giving as we do. Most volunteer opportunities are sometimes tailored toward adults and are not suited or safe for kids, and most of the time there is just not enough time to sort through all the great volunteer options to find those that are made for kids and their families. So when we heard about PGK and what Molly Yuska had created with her wonderful team, we were immediately inspired by the use- friendly volunteer match search engine that has changed the way we give back as a family. This summer, we had a family bucket list of things we wanted to do, and my husband and I usually choose a few volunteer adventures to put on it so that we can we can do something special for others as a family. This year, because of the PGK website, we were able to ask our two boys to come up with the ideas of where they would like to give back. They love how easy and fun the website is to use with all the bright colors and pictures, and we love how they are able to guide the giving process from their hearts based on what they are passionate about instead of always doing things solely lead by what we are excited about.
By empowering them early, I can see their confidence grow each time they get to hand pick a good cause and see that every person, young or old, can help make someone feel loved or the world a better place by simple acts of kindness. Top of their bucket list, besides attempting to eat a triple scoop ice cream cone, was to have a lemonade stand and donate the money to a deserving charity. After searching the Project Giving Kids website, they found a homeless shelter called San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission where they wanted to donate the money they raised. I think because they had a purpose to the lemonade stand, it helped them really pour their hearts into selling as much lemonade as possible. When they got to go to the Mission to see where their money was going, it made them feel so good inside knowing that they, on their own, had done something that was going to hopefully help someone who needs the love the most.
There have been so many wonderful volunteer match opportunities that have been PGK inspired, like giving our old baby items to Baby 2 Baby, getting involved with Big Sunday as a fun family event or, as mentioned above, the charities that we have found as a result of what speaks most to my boys' hearts. All in all, we have been so grateful to find such a fun, safe and user-friendly website that has lead our kids and family to such enriching philanthropic adventures which have been so incredible to be part of. We feel so blessed to have been introduced to Molly Yuska and the PGK team, and their sweet site which is sure to help keep the love flowing in all the right directions, allowing a limitless ripple effect to carry on by making a true difference one child at a time.
Colleges Care About Kindness (and You Should, Too)
By Rachel Hanebutt, Communications & Outreach Coordinator, PGK Boston
In a recent report published by the Making Caring Common Initiative, over 80 stakeholders (including colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford) have endorsed “turning the tide” of the college admissions process to one that values kindness over overachieving. In other words, elite colleges around the nation are formally realizing the importance of compassion and empathy for others, ultimately changing the way parents (and their future college students) will look at the “college prep” process.
Many parents are concerned with where their children will go to college; sometimes before they are even born. America’s preoccupation with college readiness and admission can complicate childhood, transforming almost every aspect of a kid’s life into something that might look good on a college application. While not all students find themselves stressed out by these standards, this report by Making Caring Common highlights a reality in which students have started valuing achievement over being kind to others in their community.
“High school students often perceive colleges as simply valuing their achievements, not their responsibility for others and their communities. While some colleges have diligently sought to convey to applicants the importance of concern for others and the common good, many other colleges have not.” (Making Caring Common, 2016)
Project Giving Kids supports the genuine development of compassion and empathy through giving back to others and learning about causes that kids find important. While adding a mentality of “service” as a requirement for college admissions is in no way the intention of this report, colleges around the nation have publicly endorsed the recommendations in this report, which cultivate a holistic sense of what it means for a student to give back to their community. Colleges around the nation care about kindness; you and your kids should, too!
Making Service a Part of Your Family's New Year's Resolution
Rachel Hanebutt, PGK Communications & Outreach Coordinator - Boston
The start of a new year provides the perfect opportunity for you and your family to think about the goals you would like to accomplish in the coming year. Adding service to your family’s list of activities might be a challenge, but the New Year is a great time to intentionally plan ways your kids can give back in 2016. Here’s how:
1. Start Small – Everyone is busy, and adding service activities to the calendar can complicate an already hectic schedule. Start small with just one activity per month. Vary the time required, finding quick, easy and fun activities for the particularly hectic months. (Some of the projects on our site take less than 30 minutes!) It’s a great way to add giving back into the routine, while keeping your sanity.
2. Be Consistent – While adding service in any capacity is a great way to teach your kids the importance of giving back, making an effort to consistently incorporate service is important for helping your kids develop the giving habit. Consistency is also important for cultivating empathy and other social and emotional skills.
3. Mix It Up – Varying the types of projects you do will keep your kids interested, while giving them more opportunities to learn about ways they can give back in their community. In addition to exposing your family to a wide variety of causes, you may just help your kids find a nonprofit organization they care about and want to continue serving in the future. Help them find their passion, and they will pursue it in ways that will surprise you!
Still not sure exactly how to make service a part of your family’s New Year’s Resolution? Project Giving Kids has simplified this process even more with our 2016 Service Agenda, which provides one activity per month you and your family can plan to do. These small activities make it easy for you to consistently give back throughout the new year. Follow us on Facebook and catch the latest each month!