No one is self-sufficient. We all must rely on the help of others to get through life. Our parents guide us, teachers mold us, friends influence us and heroes inspire us.
When on solid footing, it is our turn to be those mentors and to assist those who might need a little hand.
It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is that you do something.
There are so many causes that philanthropy can be overwhelming. But it is imperative to get our kids started early, so that this sense of community and responsibility towards each other becomes part of the fabric of who they are.
One way of doing this is involving children in volunteer work and projects, but another one is to model this behavior by being involved yourself.
This is my story….
I have two young, happy and healthy boys who have everything they need and then some. They take most of it for granted, a trait inherent in being a child. But even at this young age, I expose my children to different aspects of life.
They have met and created friendships with homeless children, they raise funds for causes they care about, they always have a snack in the car ready to be given to a person on the street, and they donate a part of their allowance to charity.
I love that my boys are growing up with this sense of social responsibility. But it didn’t come naturally. It came from being exposed to a diversity of causes. And it came from seeing their parents involved in the community.
For example, I am a triathlete and I love riding my bicycle. This March, I will be riding 160 miles in two days across the state of Florida to raise funds and awareness for childhood hunger.
In this state alone, approximately one in four children are food insecure and don’t know where their next meal will come from. These children get the majority of their nutrition from the free breakfast and lunch programs at school, however the weekend is always uncertain.
I am raising funds to purchase PFC Power Packs, nutrition in an oversized ziplock bag which is placed inside a child’s backpack on Friday afternoons. They cost $5 to make.
You can read more about this cause here, and I encourage you to donate so that I can reach my $1,500 fundraising goal. This is but one of several ways I have married my love of triathlon with my passion for social issues.
But the point is this: my boys are watching. They see me train on my bicycle, talk to people about childhood hunger, and create fundraisers. They watch how participating in a cause program makes me happy, and being children they emulate.
Tweens and teens are no exception. They already have years of you modeling what you believe to them. Now it’s time to encourage them to find their own causes and things they care about and empower them to do something about it.
Here are some ideas:
- Research: what kind of things does your child care about? From animals to sports there is an organization out there doing something about it. And if not? You can always start one!
- Create a fundraiser: sell an item or a service such as a car wash, party games or selling chocolates
- Volunteer: nothing gets kids more engaged than first hand action
- Educate: Have your children share information about their cause through their social media or school. Tell people about the issue, why it’s important to do something about it, and how they can help.
And little by little we transform, not just our lives and the lives of our children, but our communities too.
Cristina Ramirez is a Latina mom, wife, auther, safe cycling advocate and mid pack triathlete in Miami. To help Cristina with this amazing cause, you can donate in her page HERE.