Monday, January 2, 2012

My Family's 2012 Plan for Giving

It's Time, by Maria Z.

Response to the 2012 Family Plan for Giving link up at Sperk*:

My family took a road trip to see friends for the New Year holiday.  It was great to welcome 2012 with special people that we do not often have the opportunity to see.  And the car ride provided an opportunity to discuss our 2012 Plan for Giving.

My daughters have different ideas of how they would like to engage in volunteerism.  Antonia would like to volunteer at an animal shelter because she loves dogs.  Sophia would like to volunteer at a senior living center.  My significant other is interested in helping both animals and seniors, so we will make the volunteer opportunities occasions of family time.

We seasonally clean out closets and drawers and donate gently used items to charity.  This is done by loading the van with several plump-filled garbage bags and dropping them off at the giant free standing bin next to the grocery store.  Honestly, I have no idea who gets the clothes we donate. 

My girls understand that although it is difficult to part with a pair of favorite jeans, those pants can become a favorite to a child in need.  But, as the old adage indicates, “Seeing is believing.”  This year, instead of leaving the bags at a drop-off bin, we will take items directly to organizations that are in need.  I want my daughters to SEE that their clothes actually go somewhere and are worn by actual people. 
Every group that we want to help may not need what we have to give. We have some research to do.  The internet makes it easy.  Most charitable organizations, homeless shelters, and community service centers have informative websites that allow me to discern if they are a good fit for my family.   I have confidence that we will find the right places to give our time, talent, and unused belongings.

 I have been using the GenerationOn website as a resource for finding the charities that fit with what our family can provide. There are also tips for organizing a complete community project if you are interested in a larger endeavor.  I particularly like the list of project ideas, big and small, that refresh and revitalize the ways in which a family can engage in giving to the community. 

“Family projects that involve giving to those in need during the holidays can be turned into powerful lessons that teach compassion, empathy, and meaning to children.”

2012 Family Plan for Giving Link Up Update

Create and share your family's 2012 Plan for Giving at the link up here: Sperk*  Or leave your ideas in the comments!

Why should you participate?

Our children are coming down from a holiday high brought on by receiving great gifts. But remember, it is in the act of giving that children and teens gain the most satisfaction (Dr. Price-Mitchell, 2011).  By creating and linking up your family’s 2012 Plan for Giving you are making a significant impact your child’s development of compassion and empathy.

  • Because the New Year was celebrated with such exuberance and many of my fellow bloggers have been on hiatus, I extended the deadline for linking up your family’s 2012 Plan for Giving to Thursday, January 5thVoting for the “Choice Plan for Giving” will start on Friday the 6th with the winner being determined on Saturday the 7th.  The winner receives a $20 donation in their name to the charity of his or her choice.  
  • Remember your plan does not need to be complex. 
  • Your family may already be involved in volunteering and giving to your community.  Great!  Tell us about it.  This is about sharing ideas, lending support, and cheering each other on.  It is possible that we can make this a global movement!

Price-Mitchell, M., Ph.D. (November 21, 2011). The gift of giving: How holidays shape children's 
      identities. Roots of Action. Retrieved from

This post is linked up with lovelinks #38!


  1. Our family can't do a whole heck of a lot, but we do donate our clothing twice a year and when TC finally out grew all his baby gear it went straight to Goodwill.

    We do what we can, when we can, though I feel sometimes it's not enough.

  2. Donating your clothing on a regular basis is a great thing. There are so many that can barely afford to eat, let alone buy new clothing. And new baby gear is expensive! There are some happy babies out there due to your generosity. If you want to do more but do not have a ton of time, there are some suggestions here:

    Also, I think simply watching over a neighbor's home when they are gone, or collecting their mail. . .little things make a huge difference not only to those you help, but also to your children's development of empathy and compassion.

    Your comments are appreciated!

  3. I'm coming over from Love Links. I'm a social worker and you have some really good ideas here. I've seen so many new years resolutions posts, but none about giving. I'll be honest, I no longer volunteer or donate. After doing my job all day helping people, I get compassion fatigue.

    I would say that when I donate clothing, I prefer to donate it to local organizations that help rather than Goodwill that charges people for the items.

    Good job fostering the love of help in your kids!

  4. Now a follower on GFC and Twitter as well.

  5. What a great idea for a linkup!
    I love it.
    We give lots and lots to charity in all forms - donations to purple heart (regular pick ups) - my kids help with that - and at Xmas every year we donate to SOS Children's Villages and Fi has a link on her page to Operation Smile. She's also starting a charity-based project at school where they sell things they make and donate the proceeds to Op. Smile!
    I hope more parents start doing this because of Sperk's linky!

  6. Love this idea for a link up and love the idea of creating a giving plan! We give a lot in time and advocacy for March of Dimes and Habitat for Humanity and also give clothing and toys, etc to local shelters but would like to be more structured. Thanks for this idea and will try to get my post together for a link up. My minis are still a bit too young to "see" the benefits, but we can start with baby steps and then it can grow with them! Great post!

  7. @Shannon @Ado Annie I was hoping for this--sharing ideas in order to foster enthusiasm for giving in our children--and here all of you are! I truly believe that being responsible global citizens starts at home. Thanks for your feedback and sharing your family's experiences. You inspire me!

  8. We donate clothing and other gently used household items (and even furniture on occasion) at least once or twice a year. We do what we can, with the time we have.

    When I was a child, my parents used to take all 4 of us kids to a senior citizen home every Sunday, and we'd help clean the place up, do gardening, talk to the residents etc. They were good memories.

    I think it's fab that you're doing this!

  9. great post (and helpful, too) - I am tempted to make a joke about helping old dogs (seniors AND animals) but I will refrain. In Abu Dhabi, where we live now, community service opportunities are harder to find that allow/enable kids to get involved, but your post inspires me to figure out some way to get around that obstacle. Thanks.

  10. Thanks Alison. Sounds like those memories from childhood are ones to cherish.

  11. While I give to the community in the form of foodbank donations and supplies for local shelters, my kids and I tend to do more small-scale giving. I have a couple of struggling single, teen moms and a mom of 7 kids to whom I pass along all out-grown kid and baby things. And we just started exploring the sponsorship of an African child in a sister community.

  12. @XL Your choices to give to specific families in need great. I am going to explore the doing same for our clothes...I think it would be more impactful for my kids and we could make more meaningful connections to the community. Thanks for sharing your ideas!


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