|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
Make a Difference...
Photo: Habitat for Humanity
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Learn About It...
Photo: DyAnne DiSalvo's A Castle on Viola Street.
"Without action, compassion can lead to despair and deep sorrow, but when we do act upon our empathy, not only do we and our children feel empowered and positive about ourselves, our collective acts become an extraordinary force for good."
Zoe Weil, Above All Be Kind
For Jewish people, giving to charity is one of the most fundamental forms of just and righteous behavior. A "pushke" (a charity can, jar or box) is used to collect money to donate, and the Sussmans have one prominently displayed in their Harrisburg, Pa., home. The family drops in their spare change, and 5 percent of the cost of any purchases their son makes goes into the box as well. Once or twice a year, Mark and Susan Sussman and their 9-year-old son, Jeremy, decide where to donate the money. One year they wanted to help improve access to medical care and gave to Doctors Without Borders. Another time Jeremy asked that the money go toward creating a safe place for children to play; the donation went to a local YMCA daycare for low-income kids.
When Jeremy was 6, he suggested that their donation be sent to "kids who need a home." A call to Habitat for Humanity resulted in a tour of a Habitat house and a volunteer job -- along with several other families -- to create a neighborhood garden. Jeremy understood, says Mark, that the recipient family and volunteers were working together to create a home, and that it could happen only with help from the community.
Photo: Mark and Susan Sussman and their 9-year-old son
Doing Good Together is collaborating with Global Citizens Network (GCN), a Twin Cities nonprofit that arranges for volunteers to immerse themselves briefly in the daily life of other cultures. DGT is developing materials to help prepare families for their travel adventure with GCN, providing tools to help families reflect on their experience prior, during and after their trip. Research suggests that when participants spend time reflecting on their service experiences, they gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and how they can make positive contributions.
If you know of other nonprofits or a social service agency that would benefit from materials to help recruit, educate and celebrate family volunteers, we can help. Please contact us for information.