February 14, 2017 — By Wendy Sachs

Starting to educate children on the concept of charity at an early age and launch a lifetime to a penchant for giving back. To experience the feeling of fulfillment from giving back lays the foundation for an empathetic and philanthropic young adult. Whether it is helping out a child’s school or around the community, these tips and budget-friendly activities can help to foster a charitable spirit from young children to teenagers.

Parents and nannies can talk about causes they feel passionate about! Start by educating children on charitable causes of interest. Hearing passion and excitement will begin to get children involved. Als,o find causes that align with their interests. For example, if a child is strongly invested in animals, show them the ASPCA and explain what they do!

Ask about charitable efforts at their school. Canned food, coat or toy drives facilitated by schools are easy ways to get involved.

Adopt a town monument and keep it clean! Whether it is a spot that your child walks by on the way to school or a favorite area on the playground it can be a fun project to make sure it is clean and well taken care of when you visit. This not only gives back to the community but also helps the child to learn about the environment and the importance of keeping it clean and protected!

Write letters to deployed service members through Operation Gratitude. Through this organization letters, pictures, or care packages can be sent to troops overseas.

Give drawings as presents to people in your community! Have little kids draw pictures or “thank you notes” and keep them in your purse during errands. Have the child give them as gifts to anyone who helps them such as supermarket cashiers or store clerks. To take this one step further, use the drawings as wrapping paper for small candies or artificial flowers.  These surprise packages are a budget friendly way to practice giving!

Getting involved at the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. See if your local soup kitchen needs help setting tables, serving food or cleaning up a meal.

Make sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless. Making peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwiches are not only fun but it could really help a hungry homeless person. You can also have the children decorate the plastic baggies with drawings or notes.

Visit a nursing home! Contact your local nursing home to see if they are in need of volunteers to play cards, do crafts or just listen to stories. Building this kind of connection can not only help the senior but can create a lasting friend for the child.

Set a goal! Whether it’s one kind act a week or one a month it is fun to set goals and have the child keep track of all the good they’ve done. Look back and talk about all the people that have been helped.