Showing Love on Valentine’s Day, 2017

Showing Love on Valentine’s Day, 2017

I know some people who are a bit anti-Valentine’s Day. They lament the fact that it seems to be a holiday created and perpetuated by Hallmark. I understand where they are coming from, but, regardless of the way you feel about Valentine’s Day, you can’t deny that it is an opportunity to show love. And that’s what we are all about here at the Family Service Club. Last year, we had a fantastic time giving valentines to residents of assisted-living homes. This is an easy, inexpensive way to make someone’s day a little brighter.

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WANT TO DO THIS WITH YOU FAMILY? 

  1. Call ahead: all the volunteer coordinators we worked with were so kind and helpful, and talking to them in advance is super important. Make sure to ask about parking.
  2. Prepare your kids in advance (and make sure they are healthy): read books to your kids (see below) and talk to them about things they may not be aware of (wheelchairs, confusion, etc.).
  3. Focus the conversation on the kids: The residents may not remember or want to talk about their own stories, but they seemed to love learning random details about the kids. (Ex. this is my son, and he turned four on Wednesday, etc.)
  4. Take time and give eye contact: I wish I would have followed this advice even more, but real connection comes from taking time and looking people in the eyes.
  5. 5. (Optional): Share your experience: post pictures of your visit on our Facebook page, or share a“success story” with us on the blog. The more we share our stories, the more others want to be involved.

We were lucky enough to have some valentines donated to us from various elementary classrooms last year, but we can always make these ourselves if that isn’t a possibility. There are numerous websites with cute ideas for cards, but nothing fancy is required. As you would expect, the senior citizens appreciated the effort more than anything.

BOOK

I always find it helpful to use stories to help my kids prepare for and understand various situations. This is one that I used before and after our visit last year.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas: This cute book is about a boy who makes friends with the residents of a nursing home. It is an easy way to introduce this idea to younger kids.

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I am still figuring out how to help my son to have meaningful conversations when we visit assisted-living homes, but I know the effort is an important one. Kids may not be able to build homes for the homeless or advocate vocally for world peace, but they are cute, and cuteness is a big deal for this project…so allow their cuteness to bless others, and let’s get out there and work together to love people on purpose.

Make December a Month of Giving

Make December a Month of Giving

While discussing the classic movie, The Christmas Story, I was reminded of how much children focus on getting the perfect gift during the Christmas season (and well before). I’m serious when I say that my son has been reminding me about a specific dinosaur toy on his Christmas list since August. It’s easy for all of us to become consumed with consumerism during this time of year.

And, fortunately, as I mentioned in my last article, Four Ways to Serve with your Family this Thanksgiving, while the holidays certainly highlight our selfish side, they paradoxically bring out our our most unselfish side as well. We focus on getting what we want for Christmas, but we also have a heightened desire to serve. This year, in an effort to focus on the latter, I put together a few simple ideas on how to work as a family to serve and bless others. If you have other ideas, please share them!

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FOUR WAYS TO SERVE THIS DECEMBER

1. Donate to a Toy Drive: One of my favorite parts of Christmas is picking out toys for my kids. Why stop there? There are toy drives in every city that allow you to pick out toys for children who would not have many otherwise. Check out Operation Santa Search to find one near you. If you don’t have extra shopping time, some of these drives also accept monetary donations.

2. Make stockings for the homeless: My friend Travis, the youth minister at our Church, came up with this fantastic idea: he and the youth group are collecting personal hygiene projects along with socks, gloves, etc. to stuff into stockings for the homeless. They will be bringing these to a local shelter, but having these in the car to pass out in December would also be helpful. I’m going to make a trip to the dollar store with my kids soon to collect items for this great effort.

3. Pack a box to send to the troops: I can only imagine how hard it is for soldiers to be away from their families this time of year. A box of nonperishable items might be just the encouragement they need. You can see my article on serving our soldiers for ideas on how to work with your family to encourage our troops, or check out AnySolder.com for instructions on how to send a box to a specific solider this holiday season.

4. Sing Carols at a Senior Center:  I will never forget watching my son hand out valentines to residents of an assisted-living community on Valentine’s day. Contact a local Senior Center, and ask if you can come by with your kids to sing a few carols. Check out A Valentine’s Day to Remember for some tips on doing something like this with your kids.

5. Practice Random Acts of Kindness: I have grand ambitions of doing a random act of kindness with my kids each day until Christmas. Brainy bloggers provide several helpful lists like 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness from Kid’s Activities Blog. Realistically, I probably won’t do all of these but doing even a few will be meaningful for all of us.

 BOOK

The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan and Mike Berenstain is a playful story about one Christmas Ever when Brother and Sister Bear learn about the joy of giving to others. Reading this book with your kids will be a great way to remind them about the importance of giving rather than getting at Christmas. 

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THANKS FOR READING

I admit it, I have already ordered the dinosaur that my son wants for Christmas. I’m thankful that I’m able to get him exactly what he wants (and thankful that it isn’t a BB gun). But this Christmas I’m also going to try to focus his attention (and mine) on giving rather than getting. I’m still trying to think of creative ways to serve this season, so if you have other ideas, please share! Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

Four Ways to Serve with your Kids this Thanksgiving

Four Ways to Serve with your Kids this Thanksgiving

Although my husband finds it cliche, I don’t consider Thanksgiving complete unless we go around the table sharing what we are grateful for. I love Thanksgiving. What a wonderful time to stuff our faces and share our hearts. Unfortunately, as we all know, not everyone has the pleasure of celebrating Thanksgiving with a full table.

The wonderful thing about gratitude, however, is that it naturally leads to a desire to give. When we focus on what we are thankful for, we feel inclined to give to others. I love the holidays: they bring out the philanthropic side in all of us. Despite the increased desire to give, we often find ourselves too busy or lacking ideas on how to do so. So, this Thanksgiving, I wanted to provide a few simple ideas on how to work as a family to serve and bless others. If you have other ideas, please share them!

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FOUR WAYS TO SERVE THIS THANKSGIVING

1. Donate to a Turkey Drive: when you head to the store to pick up a turkey, why not pick up a turkey for those who don’t have one? There are hundreds of local turkey drives, and a quick google search will help you find one near you. If you don’t have extra shopping time, most of these drives also accept monetary donations.

2. Donate (or organize) a local food collection effort: If you’d rather not donate a turkey, you can certainly donate other Thanksgiving food items. A group of moms in my area is getting together to organize a huge food donation week. They are reaching out to vendors, looking for families in need, and asking the community to help. I’m hoping to get our Family Service Club involved in assembling baskets. My church also asks members to sign up and bring food to donate to local families for Thanksgiving. If you don’t have something like this in your area, why not start one yourself?

3. Pack a Thanksgiving box to send to the troops: I can only imagine how hard it is for soldiers to be away from their families during Thanksgiving. A box of nonperishable items might be just the encouragement they need. You can see my article on serving our soldiers for ideas on how to work with your family to encourage our troops, or check out AnySolder.com for instructions on how to send a box to a specific solider this holiday season.

4. Write cards of Gratitude:  Even if your kids are too young to write, making cards of gratitude is a wonderful way to serve. You can help your kids decorate cards for their grandparents, friends, or other family members, or you can make Happy Thanksgiving cards and deliver them to your local senior center. This is so simple, but it can have a meaningful impact.

 BOOK

Thanksgiving is61zN7pBxH7L._AA160_ for Giving Thanks, by Margret Sutherland: Encouraging our kids to be grateful is a big deal. The more we can help them cultivate grateful hearts, the more empathetic and resilient they will be. Before I serve with my family this season, I want to focus on what we are thankful for. This book is a great way to start that discussion.

VIDEO

Daniel Tiger, Episode 14: I really enjoyed watching this with my kids recently. It was awesome to hear my 4 year old singing, “Thank you, for everything you do” to me after I made dinner. After watching this, you may want to start a similar tradition at your home.

THANKS FOR READING

Although my kids have their share of struggles, when I see them showing gratitude and love, it makes the tough times easier. This November, I hope to help them focus on both of those things. I’m still trying to think of creative ways to serve this season, so if you have other ideas, please share! Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

The Happiest Halloween 2016

The Happiest Halloween 2016

I wanted to give a big shout out to Laura Hacker-Dawson, who has started a new Family Service Club in Rhode Island. I am so excited for her, and her group has already had a great first service project: picking apples to donate. Please let us know if you are interested in starting a chapter, and we can help you get going!

My local chapter in California also has an exciting project this October. We are doing the same project as last year, so I thought I would repost my article from last October.

Here it is:

A few weeks ago, my friend Amanda posted on Facebook asking friends to donate Halloween costumes for a good cause. I scrolled past the message, not thinking much about it. A few days later, as I had been ruminating on what to do for our October Service Project, I thought back to her post and decided to ask for more information. I’m so glad I did. Amanda works with a fantastic organization called Childhelp. Childhelp is dedicated to 24-hours-a-day treatment of abused, neglected, and at-risk children. The Childhelp Merv Griffin Village in California houses as many as 84 children, and they provide many services for them, including a chance to celebrate Halloween.

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Every year, a seamstress volunteers her time to turn used Halloween costumes into costumes the kids can use and enjoy for a Halloween event. Amanda’s post asked friends to donate used or new costumes as well as fabric to make costumes. I was inspired by the idea, and I decided the Family Service Club could help! We are in the process of collecting costumes from their wish-list, and, to me, this is far more exciting than trick-or-treating.

WANT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN YOUR AREA?

1. Find an Organization:  There are many places that could use some donated halloween costumes, the first step is to find one. I found this article that might give you some good ideas as you start looking.

2. Get the kids involved: Ask them to help you clean out your closets to look for used costumes. You can also go to goodwill or a Halloween store to buy things to donate. This is a great way to make Halloween about more than just collecting sugar.

3. Get your friends involved: Even if you don’t have much to donate, your friends might. I have found that people are really excited to get involved in this project, so post about it on social media, or just call friends and family and get more people excited about making someone else’s Halloween a good one.

4. Share your Story (Optional): If you get a chance to do this project, share your experience. You might inspire someone else to do the project as well.

A HELPFUL BOOK

We are donating our Halloween costumes for kids who have been abused. If my son was a little older, I would use this opportunity to talk to my son a little bit about abuse and how to prevent it. Since this is such a sensitive (and scary) topic. I might use a book like this to help us work through it.

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It’s MY Body: A Book to Teach Young Children How to Resist Uncomfortable Touch (Children’s safety series & abuse prevention) by Lory Freeman: in this book “children learn safe boundaries, how to distinguish between “good” and “bad” touches, and how to respond appropriately to unwanted touches.” It looks like a powerful tool to help parents discuss this topic with their children. 

It is really hard for me to think about the things that some children are dealing with on a daily basis. I also have a hard time knowing how to help with young kids of my own at home. I can’t wait to send a big package of costumes to Childhelp in a few weeks, and I hope this will be the beginning of many more projects like this in the future. Do you know of any helpful organizations serving kids in need? Do you have strategies that help your kids to be empathetic towards other kids who are struggling? If so, please let us know. Also, again, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.

 

Supporting Military Families

Supporting Military Families

What is your tradition for the 4th of July? Diaper bags in tow, we typically jet over to Oklahoma to enjoy humidity and patriotism with our extended family. We relish homemade ice cream sandwiches and overly-loud fireworks after decorating my grandfather’s golf cart with red, white, and blue.

Over the last few years, I’ve neglected to really communicate the beauty and blessing of freedom to my own children. I’ve been more concerned about sticking to our nap schedule on vacation.

I think my priorities have been in the wrong place.

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So this year, we will be focusing on supporting the soldiers for our July service project. As a Family Service Club, we will be sending notes and gently-used books to American troops overseas as well as veterans and military families. I’m so thankful for the organization and heart behind Operation Paperback which makes it easy to send packages of books directly to those who can use and appreciate them.

As their website says, “Our service members and their families make sacrifices every day for our country. It takes so little to let them know that they are appreciated. When you donate to Operation Paperback, you will let America’s military community know that you appreciate their service and their sacrifices.”

If you want to support soldiers and their families this summer, take a look at the steps below.

WANT TO SERVE SOLDIERS IN YOUR AREA?

1. Visit a local base: If you have base close to you, contact the base and ask if you can visit the troops with your family. Ask about what you can bring that will be most encouraging to the soldiers (cards, cookies, etc.) Talk to your kids before visiting, and try to connect with and encourage as many people as possible while you are there. Building relationships is the most important part of service.

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2. Send a Care Package: There are several organizations out there that enable civilians to send packages to soldiers overseas. If you can’t make it to a base, invite some friends over for a packing party, and send some goodies abroad. Check out Any Soldier or Operation Gratitude to get started. These awesome groups have sent countless packages, and their websites are super helpful.

3. Send a Shipment of Books: When soldiers have downtime, reading is a great way for them to pass the time. Operation Paperback shipped almost 2,400,000,000 to troops, veterans, and military families in 2015 alone. Visit their website and learn how to become a Volunteer Shipper. Your kids can write notes and slip them into the books that you send. You can also make this a community event and invite family and friends to join you in collecting.

4. Adopt a Soldier: If you get in touch with AdoptaPlatoon, you can adopt a soldier. What an awesome thing to do as a family! When you adopt a soldier, you are committing to encourage an individual service member by sending one card or letter each week as well as one care package each month.

BOOKS

It can be challenging to discuss fighting and war with our kids. As usual, I look to books to help me broach difficult topics. Here are a few informative kid-friendly books.

Hero Dad: In this book, a boy compares his Dad, a soldier, to a superhero. Reading this book would be a good way to start talking with younger kids about soldiers.

Veterans: Heroes in our Neighborhood: According to Amazon: this book  “is an engaging rhyming picture book for readers of all ages that fosters mindfulness of and appreciation for the brave service men and women who are also our family, friends, and neighbors.  These are the men and women who bravely served our great country and now humbly serve in our communities.” Sounds great!

VIDEO

US Troops Coming Home: This is an uplifting, poignant video that shows soldiers returning home to their families.

Although we will still enjoy our family fun this 4th of July, we will be more mindful that not all families have the privilege of being together. Some families are apart this summer because one member of the family is serving our country. Let’s make those soldiers and their families feel loved! If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

Helping the Kids

Helping the Kids

Recently, we got to play at the most fun service project yet. We hosted a family-fun day to benefit families with pediatric cancer, and it was a blast. Jumping, crawling, mini-golfing, and petting reptiles, we spent the day raising money and awareness.

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Another wonderful benefit of the day was that we left the park with a large amount of leftover snack donations. Now, we have have food to help us serve others for June! I turned to our inspiring Facebook group to ask for suggestions on what they wanted to do for our June project.

As usual, the group came up with some great ideas. We talked about making blessing bags for the homeless, and we talked about selling the snacks for a good cause. While those are obviously great ideas, the group gravitated towards donating the food (along with other things) to kids in low-income housing. One of my friends pointed out that since kids are out for the summer, they are not receiving free lunches, and, thus, need for food and snacks is higher. Another friend led me to a great place called Support for the Kids that helps underprivileged in our area. I’m currently talking with one of their volunteers to figure out a plan on how to help her out. Her nonprofit is truly amazing. She started it 22 years ago, and, taking no salary, she runs her business out of her home and brings donations directly to kids who have been identified by teachers and social workers. Needless to say, I’m really excited to partner with her.

My two kids certainly munch through a massive amount of snack food, and before delving into this project, I took that fact for granted. This June, I’m excited to support the kids. If you have specific ideas for us or if you’d like to join us, please let me know! If you can’t join us, see the tips below.

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Want to do something like this with your family?

1. Recognize the need:  Approximately 21.5 million children receive free and reduced-price lunch each year. The parents of these kids may struggle to provide food and snacks during the summer when that isn’t available.

2. Research options: ask your social media community; search google, and find out a way to help. You can go through an organization, or you can contact a low-income housing community.

3. Organize a donation day: ask your friends, your family, or your service club to get together to make care packages of snacks. What a fun way to spend a day!

4. Donate: Bring your kids and talk to them about what a gift it is to have all the food we need.

5. (Optional): Share your experience: post pictures and ideas on our Facebook page, or share a “success story” with us on the blog. The more we talk about service, the more other people want to be a part of the fun.

 

I’m really excited to see how this project take shape. Let’s all work together to help parents everywhere to feel loved and supported. If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love with our kids, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

Sincerely,

Kellie

 

 

Supporting Families Dealing with Illness

Supporting Families Dealing with Illness

OUR MAY PROJECT

Last year, the Family Service Club had the pleasure of working with the Bumblebee Foundation, a wonderful organization that supports local families who are dealing with pediatric cancer. We put together Easter baskets for four of these families, and it was inspiring watching donations roll in.

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Since then, I’ve grown to respect the organization even more as I’ve gotten to know Heather Donatini, the founder. She lost her son to cancer, and, with inexplicable strength, she has started an organization that touches and serves many. I’ve also gotten to know Katie Wolfe, the amazing mommy of Dylan, a three-year old with brain cancer. She fights tirelessly for her sweet son, and she is also an incredible inspiration. Motivated by these two women, I’ve been wanting to do something big to support the Bumblebee Foundation this year.

Fortunately, during our Feeding the Homeless project, I met Karin. Karin Burnes is the owner of a super-fun company called Enrichment Planet. When we got to talking, she immediately volunteered to donate her services (along with her well-known Tumblebees activities buses) to put on a family fun day. Since then, we’ve secured an awesome venue, snack donations, reptiles for kids to see and touch, as well as other entertainment. And, while co-hosting something like this is pretty intimidating, nerves are nothing compared to cancer. As a mom, I want to do anything I can to serve those who have to do the worst thing imaginable: watch their children suffer. If you are local, please join us at the Bumblebee Playdate 2016. 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Bumblebee Foundation. You can also help out by volunteering with your family or donating snacks. See this Signup Link for details. We can all make a difference!13010779_1192455140778477_8834494007496516264_n

If you are interested in helping those suffering from illness in your community, start here:

1. Contact your local hospital: Call the hospital in your community and ask them if they know of any local charities that support those dealing with cancer or other illnesses. If so, give them a call and follow the steps below. If there aren’t any charitable organizations in your area, ask the hospital if they will allow you to bring gifts to families at the hospital who are dealing with difficult illnesses.

2. Ask what you can do: Once you’ve gotten in touch with an organization or hospital, ask them what they need, and get creative! Bring gifts, make cards, attend fundraisers. Even little kids can help encourage those suffering.

3. (Optional): Share your experience: post pictures and ideas on our Facebook page, or share a “success story” with us on the blog. The more we talk about service, the more other people want to be a part of the fun.

 

RESOURCES

It can be difficult to talk to our kids about the fact that others are dealing with illnesses, but I believe that it is important for them to be aware of what is going on in the world so they can develop compassion. Here are a few resources that might be helpful. If you know of any others, please share them!

Books

1. Franklin Goes to the Hospital: This sweet book is about a turtle who has to go to the hospital to get his broken shell fixed. It is geared toward younger readers, and it deals with the theme of courage.

2. Harry Goes to the Hospital: Written by a doctor, this book deals with a young boy who is staying in the hospital. Harry doesn’t like dealing with all of the tests and other challenges, but he feels loved and supported.

 Video

1. #Rallyon for Kids with Childhood Cancer: this music video shows kids who have cancer playing and experiencing hope. This is a good one to show kids to start talking with them about the issue. Please watch and share: every view earns $1 towards cancer research.

I personally haven’t known the agony of watching one of my children go through cancer, but I have respect and compassion towards anyone who has. Let’s work together to make families dealing with cancer feel acknowledged, loved, and supported. If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

Bumblebee Playdate 2016

Bumblebee Playdate 2016

Tumblebees/Enrichment Planet is partnering with The Family Service Club to put on a day of family fun for a great cause!

 

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Date: Sat. May 21st: 10am-2pm

Location: Thousand Oaks Community Center: (Outside) 2525 N Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Activities: Tumblebees Gymnastics, Circus Activities, Obstacle Courses, Food, and Much More!

 

Would you like to help? It would be awesome if you could donate food or time to help us with this day of fun. See this sign up list for more information. Thank you!

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All proceeds benefit the BumbleBee Foundation, a nonprofit that helps pediatric cancer families through the many challenges of cancer.

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We’d love to see you there!

Supporting Kids in Foster Care

Supporting Kids in Foster Care

On Saturday we had our stuffed-animal drive, and I was so touched by little kids who lovingly told me the names of their teddy bears before choosing to donate them. I was so excited to bring our stuffed animals to Casa Pacifica, a wonderful organization that helps kids and families in times of crisis.

image1 (1)Donating to kids and families is a meaningful transition into our April project. This month we are striving to serve foster youth. There are many organizations that do incredible things to provide for foster youth in our area, including the awesome Hope4Kids Run that raises funds and awareness as well as James Storehouse, a nonprofit that helps foster kids and families in emergency situations. Even though there are many organizations that help kids in foster situations, it can be hard to find ways to serve kids in foster care with our young kids. This year, we’ve chosen to partner with Together We Rise to make Sweet Cases. See below to find out how we plan to help!

Want to do something like this?

1. Check out Together We Rise: Here you will learn about the sad reality that many foster kids have to travel from home to home with only a trash bag to transport their stuff. Making Sweet Cases is a fun way for families to raise money for a duffel bags, hygiene kits, blankets, coloring books, crayons, etc.

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2. Raise money: Once you’ve set up your webpage, you can raise money. Each Sweet Case is $25, and your group will commit to buying at least 10. It is easy to share your page with others on social media, so fundraising efforts only require a few clicks.

3. Assemble and Decorate: This is the fun part! Once you have raised the funds, Together We Rise will send you the elements of the cases. You and your friends can assemble the bags and decorate them. This is a great way for kids of all ages to get involved.

4. Check out other organizations: Once you’ve gotten into the spirit of helping kids in foster care, look into other ways to help out! You can also check out Foster Care 2 Success for details on how you can send a different type of care package to a child in need. They even have a Red Scarf project where you can use your knitting skills to benefit kids in foster care.Treehouse for Kids is an excellent organization that supports foster kids, and they outline specifics about how to host a donation drive. Check out organizations like Home Forever and Fostercare.com as well as James Storehouse or RaisingHope to learn more about foster care and how you can help.

5. (Optional): Share your experience: post pictures and ideas on our Facebook page, or share a “success story” with us on the blog. The more we talk about service, the more other people want to be a part of the fun.

RESOURCES

It can be difficult to talk to our kids about the fact that other kids are in foster care, but I believe that it is important for them to be aware of what is going on in the world so they can develop compassion. Here are a few resources that might be helpful. If you know of any others, please share them!

Book

Maybe Days: This book is geared towards kids who are already in foster care, but it can also be helpful for parents considering foster care.

Video

Home is Where I Make It: This video was created by foster children in order to “bring a positive light to all of the brave children fighting for their place to call home.”

I haven’t personally fostered a child, but I know a great friend who has (Check out Michelle’s Story). I have so much respect for everyone involved in loving kids by fostering them. Let’s all work together to make kids in foster care feel acknowledged, loved, and supported. If you have any thoughts on this post, or if you have other ideas about how we can show love, please let us know. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a club of your own.  Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.

 

 

Donating Stuffed Animals

Donating Stuffed Animals

My daughter loves cats; thus, for her last birthday, she received six stuffed cats. Six! And while I am so appreciative of the generosity of friends and family, we don’t need piles of stuffed animals in every room. More than wanting to clear clutter, I’m organizing a stuffed-animal drive to help my kids fight entitlement. It is so hard for kids (and for all of us, really), not to hoard our possessions, not to think we are entitled to mountains of stuff, not to want more, more, more. The best way that I’ve found to combat that tenancy is to give to others. So, this month, we will be working with other local families to collect and donate new and gently-used stuffed animals and action figures.

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What do this in your area?

Here are the steps I’m following through this month:

1. Find somewhere to donate: This is such an important first step because it makes it easier to be generous when we know where our items will be going. When we picture kids in crisis hugging a stuffed-animal for comfort, we are inspired to give. We will be donating our items to the local police department, and, as mentioned in our local paper, “they give them to children who are involved in a variety of crisis situations from car accidents to domestic and sexual violence situations, or situations when a child or child’s family member is in crisis.” What a great cause! If this isn’t an option in your area, you can look into local shelters and rescue missions.

2. Get the word out: Spread the word in various ways. Send Facebook messages, post about it on your social media sites, talk to people in person, make flyers, etc. Many people (especially those with kids) have stuffed animals they are willing to donate.

3. Start collecting: We will be meeting at a park to collect our items. The kids can play, and the adults can look through the items. (Donations should not be dirty or ripped, and they can’t have loose parts.) We are really looking forward to this get together, but you can certainly collect donations in other ways. (A box at your kid’s school or porch pickups, etc).

4. Donate: This is the fun part! Bring your kids for the drop-off if possible, and remind them why you are doing what you are doing.

5. Share your experience (optional): if you have a chance, feel free to share pictures or stories about your experience with our group on Facebook. The more we share, the more we inspire each other.

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I’m certainly not going to ask my daughter to give away her favorite kitty, but I will help her choose a couple to donate. I want to remind her (and myself) of the importance of giving to others rather than feeling entitled. Do you have any strategies that help you and your family fight entitlement? If so please share them! Thank you so much for reading, and let’s go love people on purpose.