Doing Good Together Feb Newsletter

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Doing Good Together Newsletter )
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... Feb 2006
in this issue
  • Your Child's Art Can Brighten a Kids Day
  • Discuss Compassionate Giving with your Kids
  • Passing the Torch
  • One Family's Story
  • News From DGT
  • Our communities need love too, so how about starting a Valentine’s Day tradition in your house? You can drop off chocolates or a homemade valentine to a lonely neighbor, deliver valentines to a hospital or nursing home, or collect mittens for a local homeless shelter. Brainstorm with your children about which project to undertake. The possibilities are endless, and your efforts will surely make the day memorable – both for your family and those whose lives you’ve touched. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Your Child's Art Can Brighten a Kids Day
    DGT Feb NL 2006 Artists Help. Chi-boy painting

    Make a Difference... Stuck inside with your children this winter? Make the most of your time indoors by creating crafts for children in need. Even very young children can paint a tote bag, and older children and parents can make a teddy bear, sew a simple drawstring bag or knit a small backpack. The group Artists Helping Children will then fill your bags with art supplies and cuddly toys and donate them to sick children. For more information and simple patterns, click the link to Artists Helping Children below.

    Photo courtesy of Artists Helping Children

    Discuss Compassionate Giving with your Kids

    Talk About It ...Take time to talk to your children about being a generous giver and a gracious receiver. It’s important to understand that everyone has needs and everyone has something of value to give.

    • Explain that although you may be fortunate enough to donate what you’ve made to children who don’t have art supplies (or other community need you’ve identified), there are times when we need the help of others, too.
    • Emphasize that the world is a better place when we help one another. Give examples.
    • Ask your kids about when they’ve needed help. Share your own stories of when you have given and received assistance.
    • Talk about the volunteers who’ve made a difference in your family’s life: the assistant at the library, a Candy Striper at a hospital, a guide at a National Park or helpers at your child’s school.
    Learn About It ...An excellent book that discusses giving and receiving is Fred Roger’s The Giving Box: Create a Tradition of Giving with Your Children. It even comes with a small tin bank for children to collect money to donate. To find other suggestions for books that inspire compassion and community responsibility, visit our resource list.

    Passing the Torch

    Adults who volunteered as youth and whose parents volunteered become the most generous adults in giving time (Independent Sector, 2002). By doing community service work with our kids, we create a whole new generation of philanthropists and volunteers.

    One Family's Story
    Breck 4th graders assist at STEP

    When school started in 2005 for one 4th grade class at Breck School in Minneapolis, the families wanted to get to know one another. Instead of throwing a class party or picnic, they got acquainted while serving the community. Everyone spent one Saturday morning in November helping out at STEP, a nonprofit organization that assists residents of St. Louis Park meet basic needs of food, housing, transportation, health care and clothing. The families stocked food shelves, packed food bags, and learned what many hadn’t known -- that hunger and inadequate nutrition are an unfortunate reality in the community.

    The experience, says Pam Hasselbring, one of the parents who helped organize the event, was educational, gratifying and a lot of fun. Most of the families seemed inclined to help well past the two hours allotted for the project. “I think now that families realize how easy it is to help – and how much they enjoyed it -- they’re more likely to volunteer again,” says Hasselbring.

    Photo: Breck 4th graders assist at STEP

    News From DGT

    The Leo Buscaglia Foundation Leo Buscaglia Foundation a national organization based in California, has awarded Doing Good Together a major grant to help us encourage family volunteerism. We're delighted and deeply grateful to have the support of The Leo Buscaglia Foundation, whose mission is "to foster the spirit of giving in others by encouraging and nurturing organizations whose goal is to enhance the spirit of giving, caring and love within their communities."

    Doing Good Together will be exhibiting at the Hands On Twin Cities Volunteer Expo Hands on Twin Cities in the Rotunda of the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN on Saturday, Februrary 11, from 10 Am to 5 pm. Come by and visit us!

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