Mensch; Yiddish, means “a good person”
Everyone, no matter how young, can be a philanthropist. Even if your time to volunteer is limited or you do not have the financial means to contribute, you can still be involved and introduce your child to the power of compassion and show they have the ability to make a difference by simply giving of themselves. Families inspire by example so talk to your child about what is most important to them and what you can do to support their ideas. Then contact a nonprofit where your child has expressed their passions and figure out what you can do to help OR start your own.
Some ideas can be to do a collection drive with friends/family/neighbors:
- gather towels for the Marin Humane Society
- collect warm coats for The Ritter House
- serve meals to Homeward Bound
- visit a senior through LITA
- sew wheelchair bags for patients at Children’s Hospital in Oakland
- gather art supplies for Drawbridges
- bring new unwrapped toys to the nearest Fire Station or Edgewood
- this holiday Adopt a Family or sponsor a family with Canal Alliance
- clean a park or beach with Marin County Parks & Open Space
If you are involved with a group, for instance a dance class (collect old ballet shoes, tutus and outfits) or sports league (gather sneakers, equipment, clothes), and give them to children who cannot afford it. Turn to social networking and spread the news on your Facebook or Twitter page and ask others if want to join you. Make it a holiday activity with your playgroup, sports league or class, put an announcement in your company’s newsletter or church/temple bulletin, or just share it with five people and ask them to do the same.
Get on the email list for Center for Volunteers and Nonprofit Leadership. They send out regular emails for a wide variety of volunteer opportunities from school gardens to reading and literacy. YouthGive is another excellent resource for inspiration. And Serena & Lily have created a wonderful kit called the “World Repair Guidebook” which makes an excellent holiday gift for your budding mensch.
The ideas in this article are just small nuggets to inspire you to your family of every age and ability to get involved in philanthropic opportunities. And hopefully, these values you share now with your children will continue in their future.
Here are some other non-profit volunteer opportunities for families of all ages in Marin County:
- Golden Gate National Park Conservancy
- Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary
- Save The Bay
- Conservation Corps North Bay
- Teens on Trails
Human Volunteer Opportunities
- Habitat for Humanity
- Slide Ranch
- Trips for Kids
- Project Night Night
- Warm Wishes
- Marin Food Bank
- St. Vincent de Paul
If you have any suggestions or have a favorite charity you want to let our followers know….we want to hear from you.