7 Ways You and Your Child Can Spread the Love This Valentine's Day - Parents

While all kids love receiving Valentine's cards and candy, V-Day is a good time to remind children about the importance of giving—performing acts of kindness and making others feel loved and appreciated. Try one (or all) of these family-friendly ideas to share a little L-O-V-E.

6 Fun Ways to Wrap Kindness into Your Holidays - Minneapolis Foundation

With a little bit of effort this season, the children in your family will have as much fun giving as getting. By weaving an extra dollop of compassion into the winter holidays, you’ll provide an antidote to the season’s focus on materialism and commercialism and remind yourself of the joy that empathy and sharing can bring to your celebrations. 

Your Back-To-School Giving Guide - Minneapolis Foundation

Whether the start of the new school year brings excitement or nervous anticipation, adding a kindness element to your back-to-school routine will enrich it with meaning — and fun. Plus, having conversations about students who have to fight hard to spend time in school — or to get the supplies they need to succeed — will increase your own child’s understanding of the value of education. 

Want to donate school supplies? These Twin Cities groups make it easy - Twin Cities Pioneer Press

“There is just a tremendous need, and so often teachers end up spending their own money on supplies for their classrooms,” said Jenny Friedman, founder of Doing Good Together, a St. Paul organization that promotes family volunteering and philanthropy.

She encourages families with the means to make a ritual of buying supplies to donate when they go back-to-school shopping every summer with their own children.

“Kids need crayons and paper and pencils,” she said. “Plus, it’s just fun to shop for school supplies.”

Pint-Sized Philanthropy - Five Great "Kindness Dates" to Have with Children or Grandchildren - Minneapolis Foundation

The research is unequivocal: When children spend time doing good for other people, they grow up to be healthier, happier and more caring. Super-simple service projects like these can help parents and grandparents build a habit of kindness in even the smallest children. Along with each project are questions to bring up while you work, to get little ones thinking about the value of generosity and compassion.

Inspired Giving: Kids Can Be Taught To Be Kind - Guest Post: Minnesota Parent

Researchers have found that caring and compassion skills can be practiced and, like a muscle, get stronger with use. Even toddlers and preschoolers can learn from simple family activities such as making cards or sharing a batch of cookies you made together. Here are seven ideas to get you started with your kids.

Teaching Children to Be Empathetic Givers: 5 Tips to Avoid the “Othering” of Need - Guest Post: Free Spirit Publishing Blog

Most parents want to raise children who value generosity, act with kindness toward others, and have compassion for suffering. We want them to be grateful for what they have and to use their strengths to help others.

But we must also recognize the danger of becoming patronizing or feeling we have the answers to other people’s struggles. We must guard against seeing the world, as Mr. Rogers worried, as divided into “givers” and “receivers.”

Simple Ways to Challenge Entitlement in Kids - Guest Post: Free Spirit Publishing Blog

In a culture where messages of entitlement abound, here are some ways to help your child manage those pressures...

...The beauty of these simple practices is that they not only challenge entitlement and nurture kindness, generosity, and compassion, but ultimately they make our children happier and more successful. In turn, they make the world a better place.

Doing Good Together™ connects NYC families with meaningful volunteer opportunities - New York Family

“I couldn’t believe that in a city of eight million people, there would not be a one-stop shop listing through a family magazine or a website that would just provide you with a calendar of family-friendly volunteer opportunities,” Silverstein says. “I couldn’t find it.” What she did find was the website for Doing Good Together, a Minneapolis, MN nonprofit dedicated to connecting families with volunteer opportunities; she then emailed  its founder, Jenny Friedman, about expanding the organization and creating a branch in New York.

Friedman founded Doing Good Together in 2004 in order to foster the habit of family volunteerism and helpparents raise children who are engaged with the needs of their communities. 

Bigger Push Needed to 'Grow' Caring Kids

Eleven years ago, Jenny Friedman crafted a vision for a new kind of volunteering.

Parents and other caring adults wouldn’t leave their kids at home when they performed acts of kindness. They’d bring the kids along, tapping into youngsters’ innate desire to help others.

Instilling the spirit of giving in our children requires more than an occasional project, Friedman has learned. It must become our family’s day-in, day-out philosophy, our way of life.

And it’s never too soon to start.

Four Ways to Help Your Kids Make a Difference

...think about our kids as citizens of the world, with voices that matter and the chutzpah to make a difference. Luckily in NYC, there are tons of opportunities for kids to effect change in their community, starting at any age. Here are a few ways to get your family involved.

3 Ways Frugal Families Can Make a Difference in the Community - Twin Cities Frugal Mom

If you're like me, you want to volunteer more, you want to give more, you want to get your kids involved – but how?  How can we get involved with so little time, and so little money? 

I'm sharing 3 ways families ... even those that are time- and cash-strapped... can make a difference to others in need. 

Practicing Kindness During the Holidays

Amid so many messages of wanting and getting, so many wish lists and shopping lists, we all deserve to make time for giving back. What better opportunity than at the events already on our calendars?

Whether you involve immediate family or host a boisterous group of friends and neighbors, these ideas will add more meaning to your holiday parties and may become annual traditions that teach your children the values of compassion and empathy.

"6 Big-Hearted Ways to Practice Gratitude Year Round" - Family Fun Twin Cities

As Thanksgiving draws near, we feel compelled to start the holiday wish list. No matter how kind-hearted we are, or how grown up we are, this activity gives us a huge case of the gimmes.

Here are 6 tips to help your family launch a gratitude practice that will make this year’s holidays shine – and perhaps carry one long after those gifts are unwrapped.

"How Kids Can Volunteer From Home: Host a Playdate with a Purpose" - Mommy Poppins®

The next time your child asks to have pals over, consider organizing a simple and fun service project that can be done at home to help people in need. It's a great way to keep the kids entertained while teaching them the importance of giving back to their community—and reminding them of how lucky they are to have a room overflowing with toys!

"10 Fun Community Giving Ideas" - Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine - 2013

“A lot of parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of community service,” says Jenny Friedman, Ph.D., executive director of Doing Good Together, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that helps families find ways to volunteer together. ... But projects like Marin’s prove that it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. The best way to get kids excited about taking on a new project? Start with something they already know and love. 

"Volunteering: Education Outside the Classroom" - Metro Family Magazine

“There are enormous benefits for kids and parents who get involved in community service,” Friedman explains. “In addition to the good that it does in the community, volunteerism can build both academic skills and self esteem in young people. Ultimately, it tells our youth that they matter and can make a difference in the world around them.”