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Doing Good Together Newsletter )

Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism...
February 2007
in this issue
  • Make Kindness Contagious
  • Report Considerate Gestures
  • Inspiration
  • One Familiy's Story
  • News >From DGT

  • The Dali Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhists, has a simple message: “If you want to make others happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Research supports this idea. Children who are empathic and caring "perform better socially, academically, and in their adult careers," as compared to children who are not as empathic. In fact, kindness does us all a world of good. The third week in February is Random Act of Kindness Week. Start a family focus on kindness and compassion this month, and everyone will benefit. See below for simple ways to get started.


    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    Make Kindness Contagious
    Heifer International

    Make a Difference... Spend five minutes this month putting a smile on someone’s face, and do it when you’re together with your kids. Some possibilities: let someone get in line ahead of you at the grocery store, pay a compliment, call faraway family and friends and tell them you love them, donate an animal to Heifer International, plant a tree, drop off a valentine for someone who needs some love, send an anonymous gift or pick up a piece of litter. Start your own kindness epidemic!

    Photo: Heifer International

    Report Considerate Gestures
    <i>Somebody Loves

    Talk About It ... ... A surefire way to nurture compassion and empathy in children is to encourage them to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” Here’s how:

  • Have each family member describe a random act of kindness they committed. Discuss how these caring gestures made others feel.
  • Tell your children a story about a time someone was particularly kind to you, and how it felt. Ask them to describe a time someone did something kind for them.
  • Write a thank-you card to someone who’s made a difference in your family’s life. As you’re creating the card, talk about how the person will react when s/he receives it.
  • Learn About It ... A must-read this month is the wonderful Valentine’s story about poor, lonely Mr. Hatch and how a simple act of kindness changed his life. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli is a delight for both children and adults. For other books on compassion and kindness, visit our resource list.

    Photo: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli

    Inspiration

    “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

    —Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    One Familiy's Story
    Hanka Family

    Shari and Brian Hanka’s children, Madeline and Riley, are still too young for preschool, but they’re already learning important lessons about compassion and community responsibility. The Hankas, in fact, make reaching out to others a part of their daily routine. When Shari and her children go to the grocery store, they buy extra granola bars and small boxes of cereal. Back home, Maddy helps put a couple food items and information on various homeless shelters into Ziploc bags. The family always keeps three or four of the bags in each of their vehicles. Then, whenever they see a person who may need some food and comfort, they’ll ask “Are you hungry?” and hand them a bag of treats.

    The response from recipients, says Shari, has been overwhelmingly positive and grateful. Shari’s explanation to Maddy: There are people who don’t have as much food as we do, so we share. Shari also reminds Maddy of times their own family has needed help and how the generosity of others lifted them up.

    Read Full Story

    Photo: Shari and Brian Hanka with their children, Madeline and Riley.

    News From DGT

    Doing Good Together will be exhibiting at the Hands On Twin Cities Volunteer Expo at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Saturday, February 10, from 10 am to 5 pm. Come by and visit us! information.

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