Teaching kids to give back #SiennaDiaries

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I haven’t talked a ton about this on here, but I’m starting my fourth year as a Girl Scout Leader this year.  I’m also active in our church, and am in a shared teaching position in our Sunday School for 1st and 2nd grades.  One thing I have learned from the kids I am around in these activities is that they all want to do for others.  All of them.  I’ve yet to meet a kid who showed no interest in doing something for someone else.  Given an opportunity, the kids will run with an idea.

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My Scouts, Brownies this year, were all very into animals.  We’d voted around the holidays to give back to an organization to help families, but the girls had all expressed wanting to do something for animals.  We quickly realized this was going to be a way for the girls to not only be able to learn about giving back, but also to learn about the care and keeping of pets, a little more about Philanthropy, and help them to earn not one but 2 patches for their sashes in the process.

We discussed together as a group what we’d like to do, specifically, and the girls came to the agreement that they wanted to do a drive with boxes around our town to collect pet food, towels and blankets for the Humane Society.  We talked with them about what we needed to do, how to accomplish that, and the girls set to work making some posters to hang with the boxes we’d be putting up around our school and at the town library.

We left our donation boxes out for 3 weeks around town.  The result was that the entire back of the 2014 Toyota Sienna was FULL of wonderful, amazing donations…. more animals would have full bellies, and a comfortable place to rest their head, and 19 Brownie Girl Scouts (plus 3 4 year old Scout siblings) learned a whole lot about ways that kids can help give back.

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My heart was bursting with pride for my girls when we arrived to drop off the donations and the staff had to go get a second cart to wheel our donations inside!

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Teaching kids about giving back doesn’t have to be a somber, serious experience. I wish I had pictures of the posters the girls made…. fun, bright colors, sparkles…hand drawn pictures of animals… letting them have a little creative license helped them to feel like they had a BIG say in the whole process, and letting them choose who they’d give back to really empowered them as well.  Several, including my oldest, asked friends for food donations in lieu of presents at their birthday parties (seems to be a growing trend with this class, and it’s so sweet). They had a BLAST planning, organizing and collecting the items needed, and were all left feeling like they really were able to make a difference.

Find something that kids can relate to- at holiday time- perhaps a gift drive.  Mitten trees are pretty easy and someone always needs warm gear in cold months.  There are SO many things that kids can do for so many recipients- talk to the kids you are with, and ask them questions. I’m wagering you’ll be quite pleasantly surprised to see just how eager they are to give back.

How do you go about teaching kids to give back?

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Thanks to Toyota for the use of the fabulous 2014 Toyota Sienna.  The trunk has more cargo space than my 2004 Sienna and we were able to make the donation delivery in  much greater comfort.

 

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About the author: I’m a 30-something mom to three, brand ambassador. content creator, social media maven, blogger extraordinaire, earth lover, butcher, baker, candlestick maker (or something along those lines) – love word games, crafting, cake decorating or shooting pictures.

16 comments… add one

  • Yay!!!! You did such a good thing by giving back this way. The kids learned a terrific lesson too.

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  • Love it! Giving back is soo important. I love that you teach your children this. Wish more people did the same…

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  • What a great way to teach kids to give back. We did the same thing when we had the Sienna!

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  • So glad you had all of that trunk space! Looks like everyone was very generous!

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  • Giving back is important to me. I’m always looking for new ways to show my daughter the importance of it.

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  • We donate all our gently used clothing and give to the food banks. I believe in giving back as well. That Toyota Sienna does look nice but we just bought a Caravan 2 years ago. :)

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  • This is a great thing to start teaching your kids early. We like to give to the Salvation Army and other charities as well.

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  • We’ve been loading up things to give away. We’ve been telling our son about other kids who’d like to play with the toys he no longer plays with. He’s finally coming around to the idea of sharing his things and actually helped me choose the toys we’d give away.

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  • So great that the kids gave away that much stuff for the animals. I would love to help my kids get involved with giving back to members of our community.

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  • What a great way to teach kids the importance of giving back! You collected a lot of stuff.

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  • This is great. I try to teach my children that nothing comes free, everything we have we work for. I explain to them that some pets are homeless, just like people, and some kids go to bed hungry, just like some animals do. This is a wonderful thing you all are doing. This could turn into even more for your children wanting to do more. You’re inspiring them to be selfless, and that’s great.

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  • That is a really great thing you are doing! I love the Toyota Sienna – its such a nice van.

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  • How wonderful! Such a great thing to teach kids! Every 3 months we donate our things we don’t use and my kids love it!

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  • How nice that you got so much donated. It must make you feel very good know so many are willing to help. Good for you!!

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  • The Sienna looks amazing! I am leaning towards something like this when I get a new car.

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  • We did a giant coat drive last November. We are also preparing to do a lemonade stand and all of the proceeds will go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand which helps fund children’s cancer research.

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