Living Out of the Box: The Heart of Philanthropy

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Its summer and I am all for kids having fun! BUT...

Its summer and I am all for kids having fun! ...But sometimes I think fun should include helping others!

The often undiscovered art of philanthropy, is a skill we can help our kids learn. I find kids are usually the best at helping others. Kind little hearts full of ambitious spirit, so eager to make it all better!

Summer....I often forget it's not all about the pool and lazy afternoons, or camping or drinking coffee.  Now during the  Christmas season we are real good about giving extra, serving a little more, wrapping some extra presents.  But how quickly our compassion fades and sports start and so begins the daily drolls that tire us and make life go by all too quickly.  This makes my heart heavy!

We sponsor a little girl in India and her picture hangs on our refrigerator.  She is part of our family, we have been her sponsor for 5 years, and though we have never met , her little picture in our home is a light. We get hand-written letters from her and my kids absolutely light up when her letters arrive.  I can imagine she feels very much the same way when our letters get to her.   My oldest loves to decorate the page and we often stick  in some stickers or a bracelet.  Its not much, and though I wish with all my heart this little girl hadn't lost her parents to HIV and wasn't living in an orphanage, it brings perspective. It's the weaving together across the continents to say we care.  You are not forgotten!  If your family is interested in sponsoring a child, there are millions of children in need and many great organizations out there. We like 100% of our donations to go to the organization we are supporting, check it out here.

I love to see the light awakened in my kids when a chord is struck in their hearts. My oldest recently discovered an online game called free rice, a site dedicated to feeding the hungry.  It is in this site that kids can answer trivia questions and, for each question answered correctly, the World Food Programme will donate 10 grains of rice. Let me tell you, I literally have to drag her away.  It shows your pile of rice building up and it is pretty cool to watch it grow! 

If you have the funds, even the smallest amount, I encourage you to let you kids help pick an organization to donate to. Let them be part of the process, you will soon discover what they are interested in. It may be the humane society, orphan care, world hunger, green peace--who knows! 

So let's say you have $60 a month you can part with and you have 3 kids. Let them each decide how they would like to donate their portion of $20.  Summer is a great time to do research. Have them hop on the computer do some research, find an organization they like and then have then give you a family presentation on why they choose this particular organization.  I would recommend, of course, that you double check the organization before you send money:).  Also, a lot of your local churches may have sponsorship opportunities, just make sure you do research on any organization you may choose!

Any amount can help. I have been to a third world country, what we can buy with a dollar will literally change someone's life. So don't be shy, get in the game!  Start small, start big..... but start!

Here are a few to check out to get the ball rolling:

http://www.heifer.org/    

http://heartlineministries.org/

http://www.fistulafoundation.org/

http://www.worldvision.org/

http://thewaterproject.org/ 
  
This is just the tip of the iceberg!  I encourage your family to work together to find the best fit for your family.  And have fun making a difference!