"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher

Celebrating MLK with Service

By Jessica Barga, PGK Contributor

In the midst of winter - especially this year, as most of the country has been experiencing frigid temperatures, ice, snow and all the usual trappings of January - there’s a day we can all spend making the world a little warmer.
 
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrated each year on the third Monday in January, has grown from its original purpose to honor the work of King into a day often dedicated to service and humanitarian work. It’s a gentle reminder that we, too, can continue the peaceful move toward change that King initiated in his own lifetime.
 
For Project Giving Kids on the West Coast, the weekend was spent in service work at the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Together, we accomplished three easy, hands-on service projects for young kids on Saturday, Sunday and Monday: cat toys for local animal shelters, Valentine’s cards for St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, and decorated bookmarks to benefit Reading Partners around LA. In all, through the efforts of generous volunteers of all ages, we crafted 120 cat toys, 143 valentines and 194 bookmarks for our chosen charities.
 
In King’s words, “We have come a long way, but we have a long, long way to go.” Not just this weekend, but every day, PGK is making an impact across the country. To see how you can become involved, whether it’s with your family, your school or through your own nonprofit group, visit our ​projects page​ or download our ​free app​

 

 

Making the Resolution to Make a Difference

By Molly Yuska, PGK Founder

It's a new year, one that is probably guaranteed to run by even faster than the last. Often at this time of year, we find ourselves resolving to do something better with the new year before us, this clean slate. Often these resolutions are focused on things that will make us healthier, happier, more fulfilled. And often these resolutions involve very inwardly focused attempts to achieve these things - get to the gym, manage stress, lose weight. However, one of the best known ways in which to achieve better health, a greater sense of fulfillment and more happiness is to serve others. This is true not only for adults but also for our children.

So, if a new year's resolution is still on your list of to do's this year, we encourage you to commit, the same way you would to your gym, the time and space to give back meaningfully as a family. And we at PGK would love to walk that journey with you. The sole purpose of creating our website and mobile app was to connect you to organizations and ideas that would make that experience easier. We hope you will use them. We hope you will tell us what you like and what we can do better. We hope you will check back often as we continue to bring on amazing new nonprofit partners who also want to be a part of your resolution and your giving journey as a family. And we hope you will tell us your stories, for it is in the sharing of these acts of kindness that their ripples continue to grow.

Find a project here. Download our free app. Post a picture to our Facebook page of your family in action. Find. Do. Share. Our bet is that this is a resolution you will want to keep, and one that if continued well after January, will indeed leave not only you, but your entire family, happier and healthier by the end of 2018!

 

Thanksgiving Gratitude

By Molly Yuska, PGK Founder

I'm on the plane back from San Francisco. PGK's second Create the Change Day in the past five weeks in the books. I'm spent. Truly, it's been a while since I have run on such fumes. I realize, literally on the flight, that Thanksgiving is next week. I've done nothing. No turkey ordered. No plans made. Nothing. Some probably figure that's no big deal. Always easy to get a turkey, right? But the fact is my daughter's birthday comes right after that, which means I've done nothing for that either. Where has 2017 gone? How is 2018 almost here? And how am I headed headlong into my favorite season completely unprepared?

I've spent 2017 focused on trying to move PGK to the next level that I have moments like these that literally blindside me. I've got four kids. Every mother of four feels blindsided at times, I think. It's unavoidable. The numbers just aren't in our favor. But lately, I've found myself very reflective, and seemingly blindsided all to often. In my quest to do the right thing, am I actually doing the right thing? Am I driving hard to instill compassion in the next generation but not being as compassionate with my own kids as I should be in the midst of my busyness? With myself? (Definitely not the latter.)

I struggle to find the balance lately, but yet I can't seem to walk away from this movement I've tried to start either. The world seems in such need of more compassion and hope. And as much as I am sitting here struck by my realization that the holidays are coming and I'm not ready, I was just handed  another "moment" too. Next to me sits an elderly woman. Between us are a lot of years and a language barrier. She offers me her Spanish magazine, the equivalent of People. I graciously take it and see if I can read any of it. Few words here and there, sadly. Later, I look her way as she starts to eat her airplane pretzels and she offers me one because our eyes meet. And I'm struck, hard. Kindness is universal. It is the thing that needs no language, knows no age, has no boundary. We all crave it. We all thrive on it. We are struck by it when we see it, because we have no choice but to feel it too.

Heading home with guilt for being gone and exhaustion from too little sleep, I write and think, and feel my eyes well up. Kindness and compassion are too important not to devote one's energy and time to fostering it. I even have the good fortune of having a vehicle through which to do so. So, I will land in a couple of hours, give a lot of kisses, order a turkey tomorrow, and hop on Amazon with plenty of time to still get birthday gifts (thank goodness).  And I will remind myself that as my days fly by, every one of us has a chance to be the old lady next to me - to touch the hearts of those around us with thoughtful, and often simple, acts of kindness and compassion.

THAT is something to be thankful for. Bring on Thanksgiving!

 

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