"As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way." - Mary Ann Radmacher
PGK Spotlight - Victoria Fleming, Boston
The idea came up while discussing the details of Victoria’s birthday party. On a day when many children are lucky enough to be surrounded by family, friends and gifts, we couldn’t help but think about the children in our own community who aren’t so fortunate. So maybe we could do something special this year, by receiving donations instead of presents, and hopefully other families would like the idea too. Victoria was immediately on-board and soon enough, the impact of her good deed would set in.
On the day of her party, we put out a big empty box with a sign, and had Victoria set the process in motion by donating a toy from our family (see photo attached). Her friends came with unwrapped gifts and filled the box. Parents expressed that it opened up some really good dialogue with the children who asked, “Why doesn’t Victoria want presents?” or “Why would Victoria give her presents away?” Not only did she receive more donations than expected, but also she had a full heart of pride and joy from helping others.
Something interesting happened the next day. We went to Target and her grandma let her pick out her own gift, a big toy camper. At the check out counter, the cashier remarked on what a lucky girl she is. Victoria told him that she had a toy drive at her birthday party the day before and would be donating all the gifts. The man stopped what he was doing and told her it was the kindest thing he had ever heard. He handed her a $5.00 gift card and said it was from him to her for doing such a good deed.
On the way out, Victoria stopped me and said, “Mommy, I get it now. If I give, others will give.” I said, “that’s right!” and we high-fived. Her sister turned to us and said she wanted to do a toy drive for her birthday party too. That was a proud parenting moment for Mom and Dad and an amazing experience for all. You can see by the smile on her face that she didn’t miss out on anything.
Thank you Project Giving Kids for the vehicle to donate and opportunity to share.
When the Well Runneth Over
By Molly Yuska, Founder of Project Giving Kids
During the month of February, we had the privilege of being featured by the Well Coffee House in Boston’s South Station as their “Nonprofit of the Month.” The Well is a cool concept – a nonprofit itself that serves up great brews and educates its customers on nonprofits around the city doing important and interesting work. We were humbled to be in such good company as organizations like Boston Cares and Cradles to Crayons, as well as partners of ours like Room to Grow and Project Bread.
But beyond just highlighting nonprofits doing good stuff, the Well Coffee House does something more too. It takes the everyday staple that is coffee and turns it into something that builds community. At Project Giving Kids, that strikes a particularly resonate chord. At our core, we are all about building community too. While we tout that early service and volunteerism cultivates empathy, makes our children stronger and puts them on a path toward greater self confidence and success (which it does!), the other side, and equally important to us, is the fact that through these early connections between kids, families and nonprofits, we stand to strengthen the very fabric of our communities. We stand to tie ourselves together by providing for the collective good of all through the amazing network of nonprofits that make our cities and towns places we all want to live, whether we are on the receiving or the giving end of the transaction.
As we gratefully accepted the Well’s month-end contribution (because yes, they dedicate a portion of their proceeds to their Nonprofit of the Month), we are reminded that when we act in the interest of others, it is often our own cup that runneth over in ways we didn’t expect or imagine.
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.