No one has ever become poor by giving.
– Anne Frank
Our local schools play a vital role in our communities. Not only are they centers for learning, but they also employ our residents, link our various neighborhoods together, and invite businesses and churches to partner with them as they pursue the look and feel of true neighborhood schools. It’s this sense of community that gives our children security as students and us, their parents, position and purpose. What better place for our children to learn the act of giving. Schools offer an ideal setting for our children to practice empathy and generosity. We all benefit from being valued and supported.
What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give.
- P.D. James
Whether they are called community service, outreach projects or partnerships, acts that reach and impact others in a positive manner uplift and encourage the recipients. They build bridges and transform facts and figures into faces and futures. Acts of service are both relatable and relational. And relationship lays the foundation for trust, influence and growth.
5 ways to teach generosity to our children:
1. Find out what outreach activities your school(s) participates in and get involved! Employ your children to help. They respond immediately to the needs of other children: clothing, food, toys, books, toiletries, school supplies, etc. Angel Tree programs and Thanksgiving food drives are readily available.
2. Often times “in”reach is needed; families within your own school(s) who need assistance. School social workers and counselors can provide pertinent information and provide ideas.
3. Several schools have “Sister School Programs” in place. Check to see what activities they have slated and jump on board. Make a difference.
4. Start small: a single classroom within a school can “adopt” another classroom in another school, do food and toiletries drives, assemble donated backpack supplies, put together “goody” bags for student achievement awards, donate books, valentine cards, etc.
5. Go big: Organize a school-wide campaign. Identify a need within our community, recruit your school(s) Partners in Education and local churches and make it happen. People are usually eager to help; they just need someone to tell them specifically what to do.
Don’t forget Summer Giving:
MUST Ministries www.mustministries.org Even the youngest child can help make sandwiches for the summer lunch program. Organize a sandwich party in your home. Many churches participate in programs benefitting MUST; check websites, volunteer, encourage your children to volunteer. Do it together as a family.
The benefits of children helping children & families helping families:
• Outreach builds strong communities through caring, kindness and encouragement.
• Our children learn to be “others focused.” Children who are participating in providing and receiving assistance learn empathy, generosity and grace.
• Serving as a family brings us together, bonds us, reinforces the importance of teamwork and generates a strong sense of leadership and problem solving.
• Skills within our children are unveiled, hearts for the needs of others deepen and mature.
Generosity can be taught, modeled and practiced for a lifetime. Parents, teach giving. Help your children leave a legacy of serving others.
(Written by Shay Antoniades, East Cobb County PTA Community Outreach Chair. Shay and her husband, Tony (a lifelong resident of Cobb County) have lived in East Cobb since 1995. She has three children, a son at Wheeler High School, a son at Eastside Christian School, and a daughter at Eastvalley Elementary. Currently serving as the Community Outreach Chairperson for ECCC PTA, she previously chaired Community Outreach for East Cobb Middle School PTSA for three years. She also serves as the Art Appreciation Chair for Eastvalley Elementary PTA and leads two Moms in Prayer groups. (www.momsinprayer.org))