Parents are the most important role models for their children. By acting, saying and doing the right things, we teach our children how to behave.
Parents can teach compassion and generosity by showing their children how charitable activities and actions make our community and our world a better place.
Cook Children's understands the importance of giving and has a number of programs and resources that allow families to help our community.
Regardless of where time, energy or money are given, children can learn valuable life lessons through service to others. We can help get you started and make giving a family event that will be both worthwhile and rewarding.
Why it's important
Giving back to the community has many benefits for your family because it:
- Shows the importance of caring for others.
- Builds confidence and teaches kids to respect and understand how people feel.
- Gives parents a chance to be good role models for their kids.
- Teaches new skills.
- Introduces your family to other people in the community.
- Helps build stronger families by creating shared memories.
- Makes your community a better place to live for everyone.
How to get started
Deciding how your family will give back should be a family decision, so make it a topic at dinner. Talk about the things that are important to your family and think of ways those values can be translated into a charitable activity. Explain to your kids why their actions are important and how they be will helping others. It may be important to talk to them about some real world problems so that your children know more about what challenges other families face in the community. Children are often sheltered from those harsh realities, but it's a good idea to share some information with them in a way that's understandable for their age.
There are many ways to give back. You can:
- Volunteer your time
Schools, nursing homes, animal shelters, community groups, churches and many other organizations are very eager to have extra hands to do minor work.
- Give material donations
Homeless shelters, community centers, animal shelters and hospitals are just a few places that are always in need of supplies.
- Give money
Raising money for a charitable cause allows an organization to use the funds for its most urgent needs. Hosting a garage sale, bake sale or lemonade stand and donating all the money you make is a great way to get started.
Remember that giving back shouldn't be a one-time event. To make it a part of your family's life, you need to set aside time for it. Make it a priority so that it becomes a habit.
The earlier you teach your child the value of giving back, the more likely they are to stick with it. This will help them feel more involved in the world and they will develop a sense of achievement as they get older. Knowing that you have made a difference is a powerful feeling. The experiences your family will have will teach valuable life lessons you can only get from helping others.
Ideas for young children
If you have young children, teaching basic skills and rewarding their efforts and good manners will be a great foundation for your family's future charitable activities. Teach them to:
- Help others (i.e., simple chores, play with a sad or lonely classmate)
- Be kind and polite (speak respectfully and use 'please' and 'thank you')
- Be a good listener/friend
- Say they're sorry
- Respect other kids' space and things
Kid-friendly charitable opportunities at Cook Children's
A young philanthropist in action
Haley has been on a mission to help the patients at Cook Children's since she was 5 years old. That's when she toured the medical center for the first time. During her tour, she saw Pastoral Care's prayer bear room where stuffed teddy bears for Cook Children's patients are stored. "I asked them what they did for Easter and they said they give the patients bears. I'm going to bring them bunnies," Haley said.
Through her efforts, nearly 20,000 bunnies and bears have been collected for Cook Children's patients.
If you are interested in giving back to Cook Children's through your own event or some other way, please visit https://www.cookchildrens.org/giving and click on Community Involvement for more information.