Adults Can Ignite Giving Spirit in Children ; YOUTH RESOURCES

Article excerpt

Most people refer to children as the leaders of tomorrow and underestimate the positive change youths can make today when they are empowered to make a difference in their communities. The United Nations Foundation recently partnered with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and their joint study's results indicated compelling evidence parents play an important role in preparing their children to become charitable adults.

"We find that for both girls and boys, parents who talk to their children about giving significantly increase the likelihood that the child will give to charity," the study stated. "This is true even after we take into consideration parents giving to charity. These findings are consistent across all income levels."

In "Raising Charitable Children," author Carol Weisman discusses two ways to encourage philanthropy in children that will leave a lasting impact: being a role model with giving, and talking to children about the importance of giving.

For a simple way to start a discussion, Weisman suggests holding a "Joy and Sadness" meeting as a way to encourage giving. At the meeting, family members talk about their own joys and sorrows and the ways in which children could invest time and money in their community so others could share their joy and be spared some of their sadness.

Role modeling charitable giving can be as simple as reflecting on your behavior when you drop some loose change in a collection box for Riley Hospital as you are walking out of Walmart. Another teachable moment is when your family drives past a homeless person without stopping to help. Weisman says articulating and clarifying why you choose to give or not give by talking to your child and explaining your philosophy about giving is a way to teach why you choose to give in certain situations over others.

The study, written by the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, also found almost 9 out of 10 youths ages 8 to 19 give their time, talents and treasures to charity. …

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