"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher
A Deeper Connection
As a child, many of the biggest and best memories are connected to special occasions – the birthday, Christmas, Hanukah, Halloween, the bar/bat mitzvah, Easter. And when we connect something to those occasions that are bigger than ourselves, the events take on a deeper meaning, a meaning that we never forget as we reflect upon those special moments and milestones throughout our lives.
The reality is, every special occasion brings along with it an opportunity to solidify a deeper connection to the special day by incorporating some act of kindness – large or small – that makes the tradition more meaningful. The younger we begin this and the more it becomes a part of our traditions and routines, the more indelible the imprint in the mind of a child.
Easter just came and went – a big deal in the Christian tradition. My sons’ teachers wanted to add an “extra something” to this Lenten season, so I found a nonprofit down the street that provides counseling and services to grieving children who have lost a significant someone in their lives and are having a difficult time processing that loss. The kids, the teachers and I decided that the symbolic Easter basket chock full of little surprises, along with homemade cards and bookmarks, would likely make any kid smile. And so a couple of weeks after our idea was conceived, 25 colorful and well-stocked Easter baskets were delivered. To quote the staff there: “What a treasured Friday for New Hope for Kids. Please let them (the students) know how special this is! The kids are going to love this! Thanks so much for this generous, thoughtful gift.”
But perhaps my favorite part was what the giving students had to say about this experience.
“I learned that helping others feel better made me feel better.”
“I learned that helping makes you happy…not getting, but giving.”
“Making the Easter baskets made me feel like I was making part of their sadness go away because of the fun and joy that I brought to them.”
“I learned that I can really help people, even as a 4th grader.”
“I learned that other people don’t have as much as we do, and we don’t realize that.”
It didn't take long to dream up this idea. It didn’t take a lot to execute. And in a matter of just a few hours, 75 kids had an experience woven together in a way none of them will forget for quite some time.
When We All Step Up
I got word last week that the wonderful creative team at the HB Agency that produced our PGK video won a prize for the "Best Animation Video" at the 2015 SABRE Awards for their work: http://youtu.be/cbZbZLfFz6g
12 Days of Giving Back
There are exactly 12 days until my kids go back to school. In those days there will be at least a couple in which they will be completley focused on their own wants, and their demands will test my patience. After all, they're kids and that goes with the holiday season about as well as pumpkin pie and egg nog. But in those days, we will also try to refocus them on the bigger picture, because that's our job as parents.
If you find yourself wanting more of the same (perspective, that is), we invite you to check out our recently completed 12 Days of Giving Back, shared over the past couple of weeks via Facebook. (A great reminder to "like" us on Facebook if you haven't already!) No doubt that none of us will have time for all 12 this holiday season, but maybe pick one (with the kids' help) and make it a new part of your family's holiday traditions. We hope it will be one of the best traditions you all cherish and remember.
So...here's the list. (Keep in mind this was shared one day at a time, so it was a little less overwhelming when digested that way!)
We at Project Giving Kids wish all of you a holiday season filled with joy, peace, hope and gratitude.
-Molly Yuska, Founder