giving back

Kid Friendly Service Ideas: How to Teach Kids to Collect, Create, and Cash-in

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Of course we want generous and centered kids, but how do you involve young children in service?  That's easy. Break service into the three C’s: collect, create, and cash-in.


Teach kids to collect. Depending on the time of year, you can find agencies and churches collecting just about anything: school supplies, coats, shoes, glasses, blankets, and canned goods. You should be sure to jump on one of these already established drives.

Last fall, our family participated in a local food drive. We hauled out our wagon, walked around a section of our neighborhood, and asked neighbors if they wanted to contribute dry goods. The response was colossal and, in addition to all of the non-perishables, we also got to know our neighbors better.


Teach kids to create. Paintings, pictures, and colorful creations made by little hands bring sunshine into homes of people who live alone. Organizations such as Color a Smile and Post Pals  encourage children to create mini-masterpieces and lovefilled letters.


Teach kids to cash-in. Using even the most basic supplies and a little parental help, kids can create cookie or lemonade stands, and turn quarters and dimes into tangible donations.

Two summers ago, my daughter and her friends gathered posterboard, markers, two pitchers of lemonade, and plastic cups. In under two hours, these girls turned a few supplies into $30.00. Then, with their new found riches, each girl decided to give half of her earnings to a cause.

Will dry goods, colored pictures, and $15.00 change the world? Probably not, but I'm pretty sure it's changing my daughter.

How will you encourage your kids to give back this year?

Can one beyond blessed family move from addicted to themselves to devoted to others? The author of this post shares honestly at Amy L. Sullivan about her family’s attempt to become less me, me, me focused and more others centered. Amy writes for print and online publications and is also writing a nonfiction book about serving others.

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Amy Sullivan


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