Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Teaching Our Children That Giving Is Better Than Receiving

This time of year, my mailbox gets flooded with mailings from charitable organizations asking for donations. The needs are great this time of year, and I wish I could afford to support every one of them! Unfortunately, most of us have to make the difficult decision to narrow our choice down to just a few. Often, we give to those organizations that move our hearts. If we have a loved one with a particular illness, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease, we want to encourage research on those conditions. If we’re parents or grandparents of young children, we may feel moved to support organizations that help sick children. As a parent myself, I’ve been greatly inspired by a campaign called Project Good Gift, which raises funds for finding treatments and cures for illnesses that especially impact children. What really impressed me, though, was the way in which Children’s Hospital Boston has structured the Project Good Gift campaign. It actually encourages children to become involved in the joy of giving and sacrifice. Here’s more information:

Project Good Gift (www.generationcures.org/goodgift) from Generation Cures, launched by Children’s Hospital Boston, is an inspirational holiday giving campaign for children and their families that lets kids be heroes by “giving it up” for other kids. With Project Good Gift, kids choose to give up receiving a holiday gift — like a game or a toy — and ask family and friends to make a “good gift” donation to Generation Cures in place of their present. All funds raised through Project Good Gift will support life-saving research programs at Children’s Hospital Boston that enable doctors and scientists to explore new cures and treatments for sick kids all over the world.

An easy and impactful way to give back during the holiday season, Project Good Gift teaches kids that giving can be just as great as receiving. In contrast to traditional holiday giving campaigns for adults, Project Good Gift puts kids in the driver’s seat, giving them the pride and satisfaction that comes with personally taking action to help other kids. With Project Good Gift, kids get to be the philanthropic leaders in their families — encouraging and equipping the adults around them to make a difference.

“New pediatric research dollars are critical to finding cures for serious childhood diseases and illnesses such as autism, diabetes and pediatric cancer — the need is profound,” said Jan Cady, chief philanthropy officer at Children’s Hospital Boston. “With Project Good Gift, kids see that even the smallest sacrifice, like one less holiday gift, can make a major impact when combined with similar acts of generosity from others. These lessons about giving are especially important this year, when so many are struggling to do more with less.”

Project Good Gift was unveiled just two weeks after the launch of Generation Cures (www.generationcures.org), a first-of-its-kind web-based philanthropic community for tweens. Kids and parents can visit the newly launched Generation Cures website and click on the Project Good Gift icon to give up a gift to help cure other kids. In the process, families can enjoy the free original games, stories and videos on the Generation Cures site. Created by award-winning educators and designers, Generation Cures’ content teaches kids to care about others, understand the concept of giving and believe they can make a difference in the world.

“Today’s kids really want to make an impact, and the children who participate in Project Good Gift will be so proud to know their kindness is changing the lives of other kids,” commented Cady.

Children’s Hospital Boston is a leading source of life-saving treatments, groundbreaking research and compassionate care for children in New England and worldwide. In its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, U.S. News and World Report has rated Children’s Hospital Boston one of the top two children’s hospitals for 19 consecutive years. Children’s Hospital Boston has the largest and most active research program at a children’s medical center.

I encourage you to talk to your kids this year about making a difference in the lives of other children. Help them to recognize that good health and financial security should never be taken for granted. Show them that even a modest effort, such as giving up a single gift and contributing to Project Good Gift, can make a big difference in the life of another child. Teach them that giving is the true message of Christmas.

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1 comment:

  1. Growing up we would go to a hospital after church on Christmas Day, to take pressies for those who had no family visit them on Christmas Day. They were too sick to go home.

    We especially used to go to the terminal ward for children - there's nothing more special than seeing a child give a broad smile and hold your hand, even though they don't know you. How special is that? We sang with the kids and made helped make their Christmas special.

    My friends at school thought it weird and felt sorry for me, saying I must have had a horrible Christmas - where the reverse was actually true.

    I am so glad I have a mum who brought us up this way as this view of people and their needs has gone with me into adulthood in a huge way.

    Thanks for a lovely post!


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