Filed under: Children

Summer Exchange Programs

Leave a Comment July 8, 2014

While we’re in the heat of the summer, we realize it might be too late to plan for this year’s student exchange program, but it’s never too late to start planning for next year or the year after!

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Organizations with Volunteer Programs for Kids

Leave a Comment July 2, 2014

In a recent blog post, Helping Kids Make a Difference, we covered simple ways to get kids involved in philanthropy and giving – ideas as simple as a peanut butter and jelly drive or fostering an animal.  We’re following on to that blog post by highlighting a few Top-Rated nonprofits using our site. 

Check out these top-rated nonprofits and learn how kids are participating in their volunteer activities!

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Helping Kids Make a Difference

Comment (1) July 2, 2014

It’s Never Too Early to Help

It’s easy to forget how lucky we are.  We get in a particular groove, driving the kids to school, cheering them on at sporting events, helping them with homework. But are we teaching them how to pitch in and help others who are not as fortunate? How do they learn that not every child can ask a parent for basketball shoes and have them in time for next team practice? Do our kids realize that the crystal-clear drinking water that comes out of the tap is not an endless flow?

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Give Kids The World, a 2013 Top-Rated Winner, Leverages Social Media to Spread the Love

Leave a Comment May 22, 2014


Amid Central Florida attractions such as Walt Disney World and SeaWorld lies Give Kids The World Village, a 70-acre nonprofit storybook resort that hosts children with life-threatening diseases, along with their families.  Founded in 1986 by Henri Landwirth, a successful hotelier who survived five years as a child in Auschwitz, children come here from every state and 75 countries for complimentary vacations, intended as a respite from the weight of their illnesses. In addition to accommodations in one of the Village’s 144 villas, their vacation includes  meals, entertainment and donated tickets to nearby attractions like SeaWorld, Universal Orlando Resort  and Walt Disney World. (more…)

Spring Cleaning for Social Good!

Leave a Comment March 14, 2014

Four Ways Your Spring Cleaning Can Be Used For Social Good.

Housebound by bad weather? Why not do a little pre-emptive spring cleaning. Start small; maybe you have a linen closet or a bookshelf that could use some pruning. Don’t think of it as chore, but as a way to pass along items you no longer need to someone in need. Here are four things you can do: donate books, linens, clothing, or if you’re selling on eBay, donate a portion of the proceeds. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel and how much you can help. (more…)

Cheers to Charity: Helping Around the Holidays

Comment (1) November 19, 2013

Pine trees.  Gilded glass ornaments.  Big gold boxes wrapped with shiny red ribbons.  The image of the holidays we have is one of people cozying up next to the fireplace stockings in their knitted reindeer sweaters with a plate of gingerbread cookies in one hand and a present in the other.

For most of us, our biggest worry is whether to buy the green scarf or the blue scarf for our mother-in-law, or which Lego kit was the one our son wanted.  Yet for many others, presents are the last thing on their minds this holiday season – they’re just thinking about how to last the winter months with enough food and warm clothing.

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Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Leave a Comment November 12, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan has left millions of families and children in need in the Philippines. As many as 2.5 million people require assistance. (more…)

Back-To-School: The Perfect Time to Serve

Leave a Comment September 5, 2013

By Brad Jamison: contributing writer and founder of Good Citizen. 

Back-to-school time is an annual reminder of the many service opportunities we have to help ensure kids have a fun and productive school year.

While I find great joy in doing all sorts of service, one of the things that delights me the most and provides enormous satisfaction is working with a nonprofit that benefits kids. In fact, last year, when I conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days – I spent nearly one-third of my time volunteering to help kids.

One of the most exhausting, yet rewarding, days of my thirty came when I volunteered with KaBOOM!. On that 90 degree day, I joined 200 others to build a new playground for the kids of an LA-area community. When we arrived at the site there was nothing to be seen other than a vacant space where an old dilapidated playground once stood and a sea of people eager to help.  But, when we left there was a gorgeous, safe place for kids to play.  It reminded me of the types of play space I was fortunate enough to grow up with, which is why I love doing these builds.

It is on a day like this, one when strangers come together with a common goal that I am reminded of the truth in one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  On that day, we changed the world for the kids in this community.

Another thing I love about service is seeing the impact I have on the person I am helping. One place that happens for me, over and over, is at the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood. I have been on the Board of the Club for more than four years, a role that brings me great joy and satisfaction. But, from time to time, I also volunteer with them in other ways.

During my Thirty Days of Service, I spent an afternoon helping kids with their homework in the Club’s learning center, which is where I visibly witnessed the impact I was having. I was sitting working with a young man struggling with his math assignment, something I could relate to, as I was never a superstar when it came to math. As I tried to help him, offering up various ways he could approach the equation, he grew more and more frustrated and was nearly begging me to just give him the answer. Not one to give in too easily to the charms of sweet kids, I kept working with him when suddenly something I said clicked with him and he was able to arrive at the correct answer. That little moment felt like magic for both of us!

Speaking of magic, the folks at Playworks might not be magicians, but they are experts at transforming schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. I have seen firsthand how their hands-on approach helps build self-esteem in kids through play in a positive, supportive and non-threatening environment. As a kid who was frequently teased and picked last in gym, I know how intimidating the playground can be and I wish Playworks had been around for me. The day I served with Playworks, I wrote the following in my blog, “Many of life’s lessons are learned on the playground and I am thrilled that these kids, and kids at other Playworks schools, have an opportunity to learn those lessons in a safe and supportive environment. For the kids, it might seem like it’s just playtime, but we adults know it’s much more than that.”

So, whether it’s helping a teacher or kid, playing or instructing, there are so many ways to give to our next generation of leaders. I hope that during this back-to-school season, you will join me in pledging to find a way to serve this school year and help ensure a bright future for all. 

About the author

Brad Jamison is a pro-social marketing expert, speaker, writer, producer, service advocate, philanthropist and founder of Good Citizen. A volunteer since he was 8, last year Brad conducted Thirty Days of Service – 30 service projects with 30 organizations in 30 consecutive days, for which he was honored with the Daily Point of Light Award, which recognizes the power of the individual to spark change and improve the world.

See Brad live:

Below is a video of Brad on day 28 of his service with Kaboom. For more videos, click here.

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Raising a Compassionate Child In the Age of Entitlement

Leave a Comment August 23, 2013

You can also read this article here on LinkedIn!

Imagine this: your seventeen-year-old daughter is texting her friend on her flip phone. She’s had this phone since eighth grade and she doesn’t mind; she can call, she can text and that’s fine by her.

A pack of cool girls in her class walks by. They’re all on their iPhones, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They look over at your daughter’s old phone. “What is that,” one of them snorts, “a dumbphone?”

In this era of “entitlement” when adolescents are given more privileges than ever, empathy with people who are different or who don’t have the same material resources, are at an all time low. According to researchers, entitled children often seek only their own pleasure, and forget about other people’s feelings. They don’t empathize that not everyone grows up with Retina Display. (By the way, that was an actual exchange between kids in a high school in California this year.)

Most parents don’t intend to spoil their kids. Well-meaning parents take their kids to piano classes, take them to museums in Europe and buy them cell phones, not with the intent to spoil, but to give them a solidly well-rounded and well-provided-for childhood. But one unintended consequence is that their child may grow up into a selfish and narcissistic adolescent.

How do you make sure that your child stays humble, responsible, and empathetic?

The secrets to raising a compassionate, responsible child are surprisingly simple, according to researchers.

Top 5 Ways To Raise A Compassionate Kid:

1. Assign your kids chores. When your kids are young, start by assigning chores early on, so they understand the concept of each family member taking on a specific job for the wellbeing of the entire family. Studies show that this is one of the best ways to encourage compassion and prosocial behavior. Older kids can babysit younger siblings or other kids in the neighborhood. Older boys can be particularly good babysitters and develop a caring relationship with younger boys.

2. Praise them not just about their act, but their internal motivation. When you see your child doing a good deed, make sure you recognize her actions – but go a step further and attribute these actions to her “internal disposition” (e.g. “Wow, Julie, thanks for helping your brother with his homework! You’re such a kind and caring person.”) When your kids hear about how their actions reflect their inner good nature, rather than just hearing about how good the deed itself was, this fosters a prosocial self image that results in more empathetic actions.

3. Reward not for rare goodness, but for consistent behaviors. Children are continuously learning, so don’t reward them after just one instance of a good behavior; wait until they’ve shown it multiple times, when it’s starting to become more of a habit. Make sure your child understands that their behavior has consequences; consistent mature, responsible behavior will elicit praise or rewards while continued irresponsible behavior results in loss of rewards. Don’t reward too often – by only calling attention to your child’s exceptional behavior, this sets the social responsibility expectation higher for them. Rewarding them for every small, already-expected action causes them to lower their own expectations of what constitutes good behavior.

4. Encourage open expression of emotions in your family. Many families find it difficult to openly air out negative emotions, but talk it through with your child when she comes home upset or sad. Children who are more tuned in to emotions from an early age often end up more empathetic and are more likely to understand and consider others’ feelings, rather than taking them for granted. Growing up in a tight-knit family provides a conducive atmosphere for children to openly express their feelings; encourage this by spending more time with your kids.

5. Volunteer. In general, researchers have found volunteering is associated with increases in adolescents’ self-esteem and self-acceptance, moral development, and belief in one’s personal responsibility to help. Volunteering often brings a new dimension to the world through children’s eyes; it helps them grasp that not everyone has the same privileges they do and makes them more empathetic.

Empathy and compassion take years to develop. The one caveat is not to force your child against her will. If she doesn’t want to go to the food pantry this weekend to help stock food, don’t yell at her and push her into going; she may associate negative emotion with volunteering, according to studies.

One final tip: go home from work today and tell your kid you love him or her. It doesn’t matter if they’re seven or if they’re seventeen. Just one little phrase can remind them of how much love and compassion they have – and in turn, allow them to spread that love and compassion to others.

Follow Perla Ni, GreatNonprofits founder and CEO, on LinkedIn!

 

 

Best Volunteer Opportunities for Youth

Leave a Comment August 1, 2013

The lazy summer days are slipping away and it’s almost time to head back to school!  This school year, why not look into volunteerism as a new after school activity?  Getting involved with volunteering at a young age encourages an compassionate and kind outlook on life, strengthens your work ethic, and can provide valuable work experience.

Whether you’re a parent and you want to teach your children what it means to give back to the community, or you’re a high school student looking for meaningful ways to fulfill your service hour requirements, follow our tips to find the best volunteer opportunities for youth.

1. Look for organizations that specifically recruit children and teenagers as volunteers.

Great examples of these organizations include:

Pebble Tossers matches kids and teens up with volunteer opportunities and provides information on the number of hours, age requirements, and descriptions of different projects.  Browse their list to find a service project that most appeals to you.

Youthlinc empowers youth to volunteer locally and be mentored to lead international service projects in impoverished villages in Kenya, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand.

Youth Making a Difference involves teens in Leadership Service projects that travel on humanitarian expeditions to India.

2. Check out your local soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

Many soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters take on students to volunteer for a weekend or on a regular basis and often give service hours in exchange.  Contact your local organizations and ask if you can lend a hand.

3. Help out at senior centers and hospitals.

Local senior centers are often looking for young volunteers to help teach computer literacy classes, work in the kitchens or offices, or just be there to talk to the seniors and get to know them as you keep them company.  Some hospitals also recruit high school volunteers to organize children’s play activities in the waiting areas, act as hospital greeters, and staff the gift shop or assist in administrative duties.

4. Join a club!

Many international service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs offer middle school and high school branches.  Join your school’s Interact, Key Club, or Leo Club to find out about locally organized volunteer opportunities and to bond with other service-minded students.  Some middle and high schools also partner with local elementary schools to provide volunteer tutoring services.  Or look for service clubs outside of school, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Had a great volunteer experience and want to share your story?  Want to search for more youth volunteer opportunities?  Check out our website for more ways to get involved with the youth volunteer community! 

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