Although my kids are part of a fairly charitable church and school, as a parent I struggle with teaching them about opportunities to help others and be charitable. One of the most important things in forming them during these critical years is teaching them how to be compassionate for others and their causes, and to be aware of so many who are in need in this world.
Recently after school one day I pulled them aside from their usual afternoon activities to show them a cool new website whose focus is to find and showcase meaningful and impactful causes to help and then lets their members decide which ones are funded. Think of it as the American Idol version of charitable projects! Members Unite is centered around one cool concept - for the price of about $5 per month (about the price of 2 cherry limeade drinks!) members can vote and decide which projects get funded. I love that concept! Simply find a cause that you and your family are passionate about and then vote to make it HAPPEN!
As you can imagine, there were loads and loads of projects that my boys were so excited to learn about. After reading about all of the wonderful causes out there, we finally narrowed it to our top 3:
- Feeding impoverished children. This one was a no-brainer. My kids were a sucker for the project once they learned that by voting for this project we could have a direct impact on providing 20 infants with milk for 500 days - over a year’s worth of sustenance.
- Helping educate America's homeless children. We talked about the definition of a tutor and how difficult it might be for homeless children to nurture their education because of their living situations. I felt their hearts get heavy while we talked about what a blessing it is for them to belong to a great school and have a home to come to each day and do school work. But, they were excited to learn that this project, if it were to win, would be able to fund tutors for 30 homeless children for a year.
- Protecting their environment for their future. Being the earth-friendly little people that they are, my kids have sought out over the years to recycle more, go on "litter walks" and clean up our streets, and are very much into conserving energy around our home. And, since they're boys and LOVE playing outsdide, they were stoked when they learned that this project would purchase 5,000 native trees for the Atlantic Forest in Brazil.
It was such a tough choice because there are so many great causes out there. I must say that I got a little teary-eyed watching my kids react to the projects and learn about all of the causes. It hit me that they are maturing and learning at such a fast pace these days. I am grateful to be able to share this type of giving resource with them. They really loved browsing the website too!
We ended up finally giving our vote to the homeless children who are in need of tutors. My kids were just too affected by that cause since they are themselves students. I think they truly empathized with kids who are trying to do their best in school despite circumstances, and that they wanted to feel like they could do something to help.