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|by Jenny Friedman,
Family rituals provide children with a sense of stability, continuity and identity. When those traditions involve charitable giving, kids also receive a powerful lesson in compassion and community responsibility.
To celebrate birthdays and holidays, present the kids on your list (your own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren) with Charity Checks Giving Certificates. The idea is that you supply the funds, and the child chooses the charitable recipient. It's the perfect opportunity to begin a conversation with children about the importance of philanthropy and how to make wise giving choices. Talk to them about their interests and how to determine which charitable organizations most closely match their passions.
But you can go even further. After you and your child have identified a recipient that fits their interests, try to search out a related volunteer opportunity for your family. For example, if your child is an animal lover and has designated his or her funds for the local Humane Society, call and arrange a visit and offer to walk dogs there together one Saturday each month. This way your child will learn that being charitable is about both giving and serving.
For more ideas about how to raise compassionate and socially conscious children through family volunteering, visit www.doinggoodtogether.org.