The Rewards of Giving Back
Community service, especially around the holidays, offers an ideal opportunity for families to have fun and feel closer to each other at the same time. Community service can show kids and teens that giving their time, effort and kindness is more rewarding than receiving lots of presents.
Also, if community service begins at an early age, it can become part of your kids’ lives—something they just want to do. It can teach them:
- That one person can make a difference. A wonderful, empowering message for kids is that they are important enough to have an impact on someone or something else.
- The benefit of sacrifice. By giving up a toy to a less fortunate child, a child learns that sometimes it’s good to sacrifice. Cutting back on recreation time to help others reinforces for kids that there are important things other than themselves.
- Tolerance. Working in community service can bring kids and teens together with people of different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, ages, and education and income levels. They’ll likely find that even the most diverse people can be united by common values.
- To be even more appreciative of what they have. By helping others who aren’t as fortunate, kids can better see all the remarkable things to be grateful for in their own lives.
Community service can teach kids that giving comes in many forms, not just as presents. Emphasize that giving of themselves can mean so much more—and last longer—than any gift that money can buy.
Juneau spent the first 40 days of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Due to her prematurity, she developed hydrocephalus which required numerous brain surgeries in her young life. After a series of difficult events, her care was transferred to CHOC. Juneau was inspired to start a fundraiser for CHOC to thank the team who did so much for her, and honor a family friend who spent years volunteering in a NICU.
Fostering Philanthropy in Teens
Teens and pre-teens may not always have philanthropy on their active minds, but volunteering their time can have a healthy impact on their development and help establish a sense of community. Encouraging them to commit random acts of kindness is also a wonderful way for them to learn about empathy for others, says Dr. Mery Taylor, a CHOC psychologist. It can, however, be a challenge for young teens and pre-teens to find volunteer opportunities because of age restrictions.
Toy Donations: From One Kid to Another
Here at CHOC, we see many remarkable stories every day of people giving to children in need. What better way to show your little ones the importance of giving, than to teach them to give to another child? We gladly accept donations of brand new toys that can be used in our playrooms, at a patient’s bedside, in our waiting rooms, or as gifts for birthdays, holidays or other special occasions.