|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
Make a Difference... Are you concerned that children's birthday parties are getting too, well, competitive? Instead of extravagant gift bags, expensive entertainment or staged outings, consider choosing a fun service project as the party's focus. You could:
Talk About It ... If want to begin a volunteering tradition for an upcoming birthday, first talk to your child about the idea of celebrating in this new way - doing for others.
Learn About It ... Think about giving your child a book about kindness, compassion and giving for his or her birthday. Some fun titles include The Giving Book by Ellen Sabin, Because of You by B.G. Hennessy and A Kid's Guide to Giving by Freddi Zeiler.
Inspiration "Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."
Bishop Desmond Tutu
Marsha Shanker adores her nieces. So every year she wants to do something special for their birthdays; but Marsha decided a few years ago that new toys and trendy clothes didn't meet her idea of "special." Instead she tried giving them the gift of her time - doing a party together, boating or horseback riding. But soon she ran out of ideas.
So this year, Shanker came up with a new plan for how to make these birthdays meaningful. She hatched her plan with niece Samantha, since she lived nearby and their birthdays are just a week apart. As a hospice volunteer in St. Louis, Mo., Shanker knew the joy in serving others and wanted to share that with Samantha, who was almost 12. When Shanker proposed celebrating by doing something for others, Samantha was immediately enthusiastic. They talked to the hospice volunteer coordinator and together decided that the two would bake cookies for families whose children are in the pediatric hospice program called Wings. It was an enormous - and joyful - undertaking. The two spent two solid weekends baking and another weekend delivering the baskets of sweets to hospice families all over St. Louis.
Photo: Marsha Shanker and her niece, Samantha.
We are redesigning our website to give you more beneficial tips and tools. If you are a part of a school, faith community, civic organization or parent group, you'll be able to find exactly what Doing Good Together has to offer to help integrate family volunteering into your organization. Plus we'll be featuring a lot more information for families and a monthly listing of volunteer opportunities for parents and kids in the Twin Cities. Visit us in September to check out our new services.