TEACHING KIDS TO GIVE BACK

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Let’s face it. Today we are raising super kids. They excel academically, are in every club imaginable, and are star athletes in multiple sports. We rush them from school to practice to private lessons and then wonder why they are self-absorbed. I have found a great and easy way to get kids to think outside of themselves is to get them involved in charity so they can give back to those around them.  
 
Charity work doesn’t have to be “work.” It can be fun and what is more fun than a fun run? I mean, it even has “fun” in the name. My personal favorite is the Walk by Faith which is held in September at the Niabi Zoo.
 
The Walk supports Addi’s Faith Foundation, an organization that helps families with children fighting cancer. With five kids of my own, it’s hard to imagine how hard that would be, so I feel really called to support the organization. My kids can fund raise and get support from family and friends which can be done easily through social media. This is a great way to get them excited about helping others and learning to give back.
 
I especially like the Walk by Faith because it combines fun kid things and giving back. Then, they see that doing good for others often has it’s own reward: they get to spend the day at the zoo, play in the fun zone with things like inflatables, get a swag bag with a t-shirt, and receive lots of praise from family and friends. It’s definitely a win-win! 
 
This year’s Walk by Faith fun run is September 22. Register today!
 
give back walk by faith addi's
 
Another easy opportunity to help kids learn to give back (and save yourself some unnecessary snacking) coming up at Halloween is  Soldiers’ Angels Treats for Troops. With all of the events leading up to Halloween and then Halloween itself, it’s easy to find ourselves drowning in candy by November 1st. 
 
Having all of that candy around isn’t good for anyone. To be honest, I’m the one who has the biggest issue with this as I’m stuffing my face with Reese’s & Snickers after the kids go to bed. I usually let my kids (and myself) indulge on a few favorites, pick some to put in a ziplock bag to save, and the rest gets donated. 
 
This great organization collects candy and sends it to our troops who are stationed overseas. Last year, we dropped off our candy at Riverview Dental who paid the kids $1 for every pound of candy donated. Again, win-win for everyone.  
 
give back where to donate halloween candy troops overseas
 
Another charity I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of is San Juan Rio Relief that runs medical /dental missions in Nicaragua. This was the perfect opportunity to get my older teenagers involved and teach them to give back. 
 
For years, prior to their own mission trips I’ve had them go through their rooms packing up clothing and items they no longer needed to send with the mission groups. I would take pictures of the overjoyed kids who received their old items and it gave them a glimpse of how fortunate they really are.
 
When my oldest was a senior in high school I had him go on the mission. He got his baseball teams involved and they collected hundreds of t-shirts, jerseys and various equipment that was handed out to kids after they received treatment. My son found this very rewarding and it was a great reality check as he prepared to enter adulthood.
 
My second son will be going this year as a senior and I plan to continue this with all of my kids. Similar things can be done locally at shelters or through church groups. Most kids are happy to donate clothing that no longer fits and toys they are no longer interested in. This is a great way to help others and help control some of the never ending clutter. Are you seeing a trend here? It’s a win-win.  
 
 teaching kids to give back rio relief
 
It’s important to me to grow my children into people I want to have as neighbors, and to help them to be giving members of a local and global community. I love seeing how good they feel giving to others. Parenting is hard and I’m not sure I’m getting it right all the time, but I know teaching them to give back is always the right thing. 
 
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A committed member of the boymom club, Meghan has five active, adventurous, crazy sweet men in her life she often calls her “favorite boys”. Charles is 10, Oliver is 8, Bennett is 5, Simon is 3 and her husband, Luke is a fun, patient, loving father to all these crazy characters. For 18 years, Meghan worked in higher education at a private college in recruitment, marketing, and social media. Now, working from home, she balances four boys, a great husband, freelance writing and social media consulting. Meghan grew up in St. Charles, IL (a western Chicago suburb), attended Augustana College, and is a true Quad City transplant - she loves living in this area! She likes to read, sing, plan adventures, travel and just be with her favorite boys.

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