Tuesday was National Philanthropy Day and we at Western New York Catholic Schools emphasize incorporating knowledge and faith into all aspects of the curriculum. We believe that combining social teachings with age-appropriate service projects plays an important role in fostering caring, love and compassion for others. Finding ways to give back as a family can be a challenge, but it really doesn't have to be that difficult. Whether you're part of our network of Buffalo schools or any of our other private schools in WNY, today we offer four suggestions on how to get the kids involved in philanthropic efforts.
Carving Out a Schedule
Between work, school, sports obligations and other activities, it can be difficult to find unscheduled time to allocate to philanthropy. By involving the entire family, or even some interested relatives, the benefits can be threefold. You create an outlet for memorable quality time with the family while accomplishing something good for others and teaching valuable, character-building lessons along the way. You'll still have to make an effort to circle in some time, but planning a family outing around giving back offers many benefits.
Let Your Kid(s) Light the Way
Considering your children's interests when planning philanthropic engagement can up the attention and participation levels. For example, supporting a local or regional children's charity would provide a natural connection - kids typically enjoy helping other kids, so it would help your little ones cultivate empathy. If a cause involves engaging in sports, art or other outlets that run concurrent with your children's interests while working to help others, even better.
Get Off the Diving Board and Jump Right In
Sure, you could simply allocate some funds to a cause you care about, mosey over to the associated website and click the donate button; but that doesn't get you involved. Calling up a local chapter and scheduling a one-on-one session, tour or informational meeting is much more meaningful. Engaging in the cause will bring your family closer and foster a tangible sense of understanding and connection. Be sure to explain to your children how your family's time and/or financial donation will impact the parties in need.
Commit to Understanding
Whether it be making sandwiches for the needy at your church, pitching in at the local soup kitchen or donating toys at Christmas time, philanthropic activities come in all shapes and sizes. To help your kids gain an appreciation of the wider world, you might think about working with an international organization. If you do, be proactive and gather as much information as you can about the country, region and associated culture. Obtaining that information and actively thinking about what the charity is working on and why they are working in a specific location will help your children connect. Additionally, requesting photos can provide a deeper emotional connection, especially if the organization serves children.
Engaging in meaningful works of charity as a family will provide many rewarding benefits. We encourage you to get out there, research and find a charity that means something special to your family. Volunteering and service teaches character, empathy and compassion for our fellow man; these are real life lessons that will yield a lifetime of benefits.