We can help others in many ways: we can comfort friends when they feel sad, shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, or volunteer for an organization working on social justice issues. We can become involved in a political campaign. And we can give money.
Talk with your child about the many and varied ways to make a difference in the world, and together, come up with some ideas for how to be a helper. Include making donations as one part of a larger strategy of activism.
Let your child know that when you can, you contribute money to organizations that benefit those in need. The money helps them buy food for hungry people, or build homes for those who don’t have one, or work to find a cure for people who are sick.
Then work with your child to create a “Helping Jar.”
All you need is a large apple sauce jar, some paper and markers and/or stickers, and some glue or tape. Have him or her decorate it, then put some loose change in it.
Promise that every day (or every week), you will put a little bit of money in the jar. Ask your child to remind you.
Together, make a plan that when the jar fills up, you will count all the money and decide what organization to send it to.
You can offer three choices, using age-appropriate language to explain the organization’s mission (for example, “The Southern Poverty Law Center works against people who hate others just because of the color of their skin, and teaches people to get along together”). Let your child choose between the three, and have her draw a picture and dictate a letter to send with your check.