"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher
What is the PGK Summer Kindness Challenge?
By Rachel Hanebutt, Communications & Outreach Coordinator, PGK-Boston
It’s no question that competition and challenge drive social connectedness and a sense of belonging, especially for young children. Learning to play games, win or lose, is also an important developmental milestone for all children. In some ways, being competitive is a way for kids to bond over things they have in common or hobbies they like to do.
We see this competition mentality most frequently on sports teams and in social groups at school, but imagine a world where kids bond over service and friendly competition towards a good cause! Scout troops and youth groups are known for this type of social group service, but you don’t have to be a member of a specific organization to get involved with service this summer.
Project Giving Kids has created the #SummerKindnessChallenge to help kids and families to make service a little more fun this summer. Similar to other social media campaigns and events, you can spread the message of your family’s good deeds and service, while making a bigger impact and challenging other families and friends to do the same!
The #SummerKindnessChallenge is unique in that all you have to do is tag one of the PGK social media accounts and challenge your friends - no monetary contribution is required. Spreading kindness is free this summer and you can participate in the #SummerKindnessChallenge as many times as you want!
As with any competition, prizes are a must, so PGK will randomly select winners to receive cool PGK Prize Packs!
So we challenge you and your family to participate in the #SummerKindnessChallenge. Challenge your friends and make spreading kindness a priority for your kids this summer!
Spotlight: Annie B. and Wags 4 Hope
My name is Annie Blumenfeld and I am a 17 year-old from Connecticut. I came across PGK's outstanding efforts in helping improve the lives of others, and I want to share with you something I am so passionate about. After rescuing my beloved dog from a high kill shelter in Texas as he was just about to be put down, Master Teddy tested positive for heartworm disease. Shelters are often too crowded and do not have the funds to pay for treatment. It broke my heart thinking about what Teddy had to endure being kept in a crate while arsenic went through his body.
Many animals so do not survive like Master Teddy, but heartworm disease (HWD) is avoidable with a monthly preventative. I researched and found HWD is in all 50 states (and beyond) and roughly 45% of dogs are not on any preventatives. In an effort to educate pet owners about pet responsibility and the importance of HWD, I founded Wags 4 Hope, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization. Through Wags 4 Hope, I paint commissioned pictures of animals and 100% of the proceeds are given to help animal shelters globally. I also work to spearhead change that can help animals, and I am so proud that CT is now the first state to have an animal wellness message on the CT dog license application. (I hope other states will follow!)
If you want to learn more about Wags 4 Hope, commission a painting, or find out how together we can help protect deserving animals, please check us out on Facebook or visit the Wags 4 Hope website at wags4hope.org!
Grounding Our Kids in Something Bigger
By Sara Schiff, PGK Board member, freelance journalist, and mother of three
I moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, Canada and my first impressions were - not surprisingly - how different it was from home. The weather, the car culture, the houses and the people, amongst other things. One of my biggest concerns though was, “How do I raise my kids in a city where the focus seems to be almost exclusively on fame, beauty and wealth?” I knew I would find people like me who were interested in more than that, but I was worried, nonetheless, that these influences which my kids were surrounded by would outweigh the grounding influence of family and close friends. So one December, in the midst of the holiday frenzy, when I heard a story on NPR about ways for families to give back to their community at a time when everyone was focused on what they were getting, I was immediately excited. After talking with PGK founder, Molly Yuska, I knew this was what our family needed to stay grounded in world of fleeting values. Since getting involved, we have packed bags of food for the homeless, sorted clothes for needy families, planted trees and cleaned up beaches. I have found that not only have my kids benefited from the numerous opportunities to volunteer, but my husband and I have as well.
The extreme gap between wealthy and poor in LA is so great and people live so cut off from one another that Los Angelenos tend to be very disconnected from anyone other then those who live in their immediate world. Volunteering has helped me and my family connect to people both in our community and outside of it, who we would otherwise not have had contact with. My kids also now have a better perspective on their own lives and how lucky they are, but also how similar people are no matter where they come from.
Raising kids is a constant challenge, especially given the pervasiveness of social media and the ways it is used to further bombard kids with superficial, selfish messages. So it’s clear to me that volunteerism needs to be a way of life and not just an occasional activity. PGK has helped my family consider our role in the world, and our responsibility to others, while also experiencing fun, family-bonding activities. My kids are still typical American kids at the end of the day, obsessed with their Instagram accounts and other social media, but at least every once in a while, they’ll admit that although getting a lot of “likes” is fun, at the end of the day, being good to others is what matters most.