Teaching Generosity and Charitable Giving to Youth

By: Laura Heister

The many charities and non-profits in our area provide abundant opportunities to give and serve others in our community. When we take the opportunity to give, we should also involve our children and teens in the process. By discussing the importance of giving with our youth, we provide opportunities for them to put generosity into action, so they too will experience the great joy that is found in giving and serving others.

Now, with the holiday season behind us, what are we doing to teach our children about a lifestyle of generosity that reaches beyond the easily accessible opportunities of the holidays?

Here are a few suggestions that you can use to instill generous giving values in your children:

Engage children in decisions. Parents can give younger children small amounts of money to give away to a charity, or for older children, encourage that part of their allowance be set aside for giving. Let children explore their own interests and help guide them as they research, develop and adopt causes they are passionate about. This not only teaches financial values; it also helps young people learn to be good stewards of their wealth. The hope is that as they get older, they will continue to be generous with donating their own money to worthy causes.

Volunteer as a family. For families, volunteering creates a great way to spend quality time together while helping the community. “Family volunteer work can create a strong bond, helping family members communicate with and be supportive of each other,” Susan Price writes in her book “The Giving Family.”

Give opportunity. Provide opportunities for children to learn about and practice generous giving. Join a group of like-minded volunteers or establish family traditions where giving is at the center, such as donating toys during the holidays or volunteering at a shelter for Thanksgiving.

Throughout the year, Youth Resources honors youth in our community who show generosity and leadership with our Youth of the Month nominations and yearly Hall of Fame banquet. Youth in our community having given hours of their time and energy to organizations such as The Dream Center, Ronald McDonald House, Indiana Special Olympics, It Take A Village Canine Rescue and many others. Learn more about the generosity of these amazing youth in our community online at youth-resources.org

Laura Heister is the Vanderburgh County Teen Court Program Coordinator at Youth Resources of Southwestern Indiana.