We see need everywhere. On the news every day we see stories of adults and children struggling to make a living, to feed their families and especially around this time of year, to provide a good holiday season. The holidays are about children, and kids aren’t blind to the need around them–it’s important for them to see it.
Studies, such as those published in PLOS and Psychological Science, and Development Psychology have shown that giving to others is our natural human state. What’s more, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that helping others has been proven to improve health and longevity. Social Science and Medicine published a study showing that it can even alleviate depression in the elderly.
Since the natural tendency to give is cultivated in adolescence, it’s no wonder that kids are so in tune to the needs of those around them–kids they see every day, and frustrations they might see in their educational life. Cultivate their natural state into something they can carry into adulthood, encourage them to give back.
These three organizations have made altruism and giving-back their focus. Let them inspire you to find your own pathway to giving-back this season.
Donors Choose, a global education-based organization
Spotlighted By Charla Dury
Many people, while encouraged that their child may want to donate time or resources, don’t know where to start. As an education-specific non-profit, Donors Choose doesn’t just ask for your money to go to a generic education fund. Public school teachers themselves set up their own campaigns, requesting funding for the needs of their specific classroom.
For those fortunate enough to be able to donate, you can choose a classroom not only by school/teacher, but also based on factors such as poverty levels and topics close to your heart. As a donor, you register yourself and your interests (mine are Denver Public Schools (where I grew up), autism and brain injured students (like my son) and music in schools (a family passion). When teachers across the nation whose classrooms meet my interests register their need, I get an email letting me know that there are projects and classrooms who need my support.
Martin Luther King Community Center, Newport, RI
Spotlighted By Danielle Rose
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center has been providing the residents of Newport County food, education, classes and more for 94 years.
Through work on the Newport Health Equity Zone, the MLK Center listens to the hopes, dreams, and challenges of their neighbors. They believe that their neighbors want the best for their children and their families, and they strive to provide engaging programs that meet community needs. Because their voices are heard, residents in need are empowered to become self sufficient.
MLK Center distinguishes themselves from other agencies by offering comprehensive social services. The support incorporates access to healthy food and nutrition, adult and quality children’s educational programs, programs for seniors and family as well as community engagement. They offer an extensive food pantry, free classes such as family yoga, affordable childcare, regular hot meals for families and individuals in need, food and meal delivery, nutritional advice from a registered dietitian, holistic health advice, exercise and education in health, insurance, and more…. All free of charge to the residents of Aquidneck Island.
In their annual report, the MLK Center states: “We often refer to supporting the Center as ‘hyper-local’ giving, where every dollar empowers, nourishes and educates nearly 3,000 people in Newport County. Every day, new and former friends of the MLK Community Center connect with us – to donate, to volunteer, to participate in one of our many programs, or sometimes to do all three. We are Newport County’s community center, supported by and working for the people in the community where we live and work.”
Jersey Mike’s Subs, New Jersey
Spotlighted By Paola Scaduto
Would you have thought that one sub could make a difference in a person’s life? Jersey Mike’s Subs started as one small deli in Seaside, New Jersey. It has now expanded to over 1,500 locations in 42 different states, becoming the fastest growing food chain in America. Owner, Peter Cancro, was only seventeen years old when he bought Mike’s Subs and it has grown exponentially. Jersey Mike’s not only supplies customers with loyalty, love, and great subs, but also partners with charities within the local Jersey Mike’s Subs communities. The company’s motto, “ We want to give to give” speaks for itself.
“In March, customers are invited to come into our restaurants and donate to a local charity partner,” a Jersey Mike’s representative states. “The campaign culminates in a nationwide event, Jersey Mike’s ‘Day of Giving’ on the last Wednesday of March, when 100% of the day’s sales are donated to the local partner charity.”
On Jersey Mike’s 2016 Day of Giving, their goal was to raise $20,000.00. Over $4,000,000.00 was raised and donated.
Jersey Mike’s Subs also celebrates ‘Christmas in July’. This program is a nationwide fundraising campaign for Wreaths Across America. From June 27 through July 11, Jersey Mike’s stores throughout the nation collect donations for this non-profit organization which lays thousands of wreaths at the graves of the nation’s veterans during the Christmas season.
I find giving back to my community and providing support to the next generation of growing minds very satisfying and I give when I can. My kids enjoy giving to a cause that’s close to their hearts, too.