It was a simple gesture – a small glass jar with a yellow Post-it note – but it spoke volumes. And it got me thinking. Sure, I had volunteered in high school, but who’s to say do-gooders have to wait until their teens to start giving? Encouraging children to raise funds or volunteer builds character and empathy skills that will stay with them throughout their lives.
So, what do you do if your friend or family member is under the age of 10 and expresses interest in charity? Are they too young to help out?
Absolutely not! We want to support our little go-getters in any way we can. There are plenty of activities that a child can do to get involved in their community, a few of them organized by Make-A-Wish itself.
Kids For Wish Kids®
Kids For Wish Kids is a program run by kids, for kids. The basic premise is this: children design their own fundraising event the way that they want to with total creative freedom. A local chapter is responsible for approving the plan. Then, the child relies on help from parents, schools and friends to make the event a reality.
If the perfect idea just isn’t coming to you, fear not! We have a list of tried-and-true events that kids can choose from that is separated by age-appropriateness. Some elementary school ideas include a penny war, dress down day or dog wash.
Walk For Wishes®
I have already spoken about my experience at Walk For Wishes, but it is worth mentioning again here. This event is a lot of fun for the young ones! The vast majority of teams included kid members from babies to middle schoolers, so there is an opportunity to meet friends. Tutus, team shirts, bracelets and hair bows abound. Many people wear face paint, and all the music is kid-friendly. Walkers may even get a chance to say hi to a wish kid getting their big wish reveal.
Each chapter hosts its own Walk For Wishes event, so you can easily find a walk in your area. Then, you can create your own fundraising page as an individual or as a team and set a personalized fundraising goal. All that’s left to do is spread the word to friends and family.
But of course, there is much more to charity than fundraising! Just by being there, children show their love and support for other kids their age.
Choose Your Own Adventure
We also encourage kids to fundraise, volunteer or spread awareness any way they feel comfortable. Truly, the possibilities for charitable work are only limited by your imagination.
For fundraising, you might consider some of the old-school methods. As cheesy as it may sound, lemonade stands and bake sales are widely recognizable fundraising methods and allow children to practice new skills. Also, some children may ask for donations instead of, or in addition to, birthday gifts. While this is extremely charitable – and certainly not for every kid! – it is a great example of tailoring good deeds to the individual child.
Another huge component of charity is raising awareness. All this requires is a little bit of free time and a lot of heart. This can happen on a small scale, like making a poster or a presentation in class, and the benefits are long-lasting. You never know who may be eligible for a wish, and we are always ready for new recommendations.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but remember – giving is all about what makes sense for you!
We would love to hear how your young friends and family members have supported nonprofits in the past. Share your successes in the comments below or on the Make-A-Wish Facebook page!