Philanthropy and Kids

September 9, 2011

Each day, for almost two years on our way home from school, my daughter Marin and I would see a man standing on the corner. Sometimes he had a sign, asking for help, but most afternoons he sat and smiled at people as they stopped at the red light near his “spot”. Over the months, we’d open our windows and speak with Donnie. We gave him winter gloves, energy bars, juice, or just shared a short, pleasant conversation. We knew he lived at the nearby Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. His eyes were sky blue, sometimes bright, other times vacant, distant. On the rare day that we didn’t see Donnie, we’d wonder aloud where he was.

Last July, Donnie passed away. A cardboard sign was placed in his “spot”: Rest in Peace, Donnie.

For her 8th birthday in August, instead of asking for gifts for herself, my daughter asked her friends for donations for the Shelter in honor of Donnie. Her friends came with checks and pennies and tubes of toothpaste, helping Marin to raise $111.43. When she delivered this to the Shelter, not only did the Executive Director and Development Director personally greet us, they spent a good half hour giving us a tour of the Shelter. A good friend of Donnie’s, Chris (seen here with Marin) joined us and gave Marin this photo of Donnie, as well as one of Donnie’s favorite hats. It was an afternoon–and an experience–that neither Marin or I will soon forget.

Think about instilling in your kids a sense of philanthropy. You could get a piggy bank that not only has room for “spend” and “save”, but also a space for “give”. Show them that it’s okay to open their hearts. Allow their innate sense of compassion to blossom. Encourage them to start a food drive, a collection of pennies, or simply share a smile with someone less fortunate. If children learn to share and give and love without limits early in their lives, imagine the changes that the world will see.

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7 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Kitty Hosch  |  September 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Very cool my friend! It is so easy for us adults to rationalize these folks away, how wonderful the world would be if we could all just see things through the eyes of an eight year old again!

  • 2. Terry Bradley  |  September 9, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Awesome! This is the kind of story that deserves space everywhere. Marin is all the richer for having the capacity to care deeply about others. It’s even more special because she shared this experience with her dad.

  • 3. Adrienne Gillespie  |  September 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    As usual, your slice of life is far more compelling than most of us experience in our day-to-day existence. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me that a child’s perspective has the power to make lasting change.

  • 4. Terry Bradley  |  September 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I understand that it was actually Marin and her mom that shared this wonderful experience. This is a great example of demonstrating to children that, even at a young age, they can make a difference.

  • 5. Lori  |  September 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks, Terry. Marin’s dad was quite proud, too!

  • 6. Lori  |  September 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    That’s the point, Adrienne. We ALL have opportunities in our daily lives to open our eyes and take action!

  • 7. Mary Lohmann  |  September 14, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Marin’s compassion and willingness to reach out to help another person are inspiring. Her parents are nurturing
    a loving and generous girl.

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