IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
As school years are once again coming to a close, and another year of online learning has ended, parents are once again in a frenzy scrambling to find worthwhile ways for their children to spend their extra time this summer. In the past, it would be a roster of extra curricular activities to strengthen holistic growth and development, or additional academic enhancement for those who need extra support or want a head start. These days, there is that added layer of needing to “stay at home” given the current quarantine situation while still catering to that desire of wanting a fulfilled summer for youngsters.
I am often asked how to involve children in social causes. Rather, how I myself got into it so early on, and my answer is always that I grew up being exposed to philanthropic endeavors, spending time in orphanages, among, and with those in underprivileged communities. The exposure, as well as being raised in a family where the cardinal rule has always been that charity begins at home, I believe, sparked the awareness in me as a child, and this just heightened as the years passed by. I know that at a time of pandemic where all should be staying at home and minimizing exposure to others when possible, it is much harder to engage your children in such endeavors. But fear not, because there is a way to involve them from the comforts of your home. This, in and of itself, could make a fun and fulfilling summer (and hopefully beyond) activity for you.
Start out by identifying a cause that resonates with your child because this is of utmost importance. In the same way that we as adults are passionate about different things, children also know what they want and will oftentimes work towards what they want more enthusiastically, versus if they are forced. You can start out by filtering causes and advocacies on what interests them, and show them YouTube clips on the work of various organizations that advocate for that specific cause. For example, if they are dog lovers, you may show them work of PAWS. If they are into wildlife, the ocean, raptors and/or nature, you may interest them in the works of Save the Philippine Seas, World Wildlife Fund and Philippine Eagle Foundation. A Lego interest could translate into being fascinated with the work of Habitat for Humanity. If they are on the older side, and love playing and interacting with younger children, there is MovEd or Mano Amiga. If they are into superheroes or the army, you may share stories of the HERO Foundation with them. The list is almost infinite, and whatever the case or cause may be, a plethora of reputable organizations are out there, and now is the time to capitalize on technology to showcase what they are all about. After which, have them choose and identify a cause that they may want to help out over the summer.
And this is when the creativity kicks in. This is where you and your child decide on how they would like to raise awareness and funds for the organization from home. As someone who runs a non-government organization, I will be the first to tell you that no group will turn funding down now – regardless of the amount – because it has become much tougher to fundraise in this landscape. Perhaps baking cookies, making friendship bracelets, or loom bands, making slime, the list goes on… where you provide the seed capital for materials, and then all profits are donated to the cause afterwards is the way to go. Something as simple as well as collecting all of ones old clothes and belongings, and donating this directly to the organization is also of huge help. Whatever the case may be, make sure to get in touch with the organization, and let them know of your plans, as they may have specific projects, programs, or suggestions to allocate the funding too. In addition, they may volunteer to help support through their networks and social media platforms. Just remember, time is precious, and the time is NOW!
Everything starts from small beginnings. Do not fear that what you are able to give is too small a donation, or too little of help – there is no such thing. At the end of the day, what matters most is that your children are aware to the plight of advocacies, and that one is but a small part of a greater community and a larger ecosystem that could benefit from all of our help. You will be pleasantly surprised as to where this can lead.