Kids ask questions. It’s inevitable, they just do, no matter what age they are. Their absorptive minds are trying to seek out any knowledge they can about things they don’t understand, which is just about everything. And so when they find out about a childhood illness or disease that affects someone they know, the first question is usually “Why? Why is this happening?” And in many instances, the next question is “How can I help?”
Take, for example, first grader Vincent Butterfield from Union, Missouri. When he found out his best friend, Zac Gossage, was sick with leukemia, he did intensive research to find out exactly what that meant. Ultimately, Zac’s chemotherapy caused him to lose his hair, and in an effort to display solidarity, Vincent shaved his own head so that Zac wouldn’t feel alone. But Vincent didn’t stop there; when he discovered how expensive treatment for the disease was, he asked his mother if they could sell scarves to help pay for the treatment costs. Vincent raised a few hundred dollars after he sold 20 scarves on his own.
Or take the story of CHOCOLATE BAR, an instance where at 6 years old, Dylan Siegel wrote a book to raise money to help find a cure for his best friend Jonah’s rare liver condition, Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD) Type 1b. In two years’ time, Dylan has sold over 26,000 copies for a whopping $1 million dollars to support research in finding a cure for GSD.
Or how about teen Anika Iyer, a sophomore at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, PA, who just last year raised $5,000 for Cradles to Crayons at her Bharatanatyam Arangetram (a traditional, classical Indian dance solo debut). In lieu of gifts for the performance, she requested donations to the local charity, where she has also volunteered in her spare time.
Kids looking to help can find plenty of unique ways to offer support, no matter how large or small. If your child asks how they can help someone they know get better or how to help science find a cure, try offering up one of these charitable ideas:
- Dress down day at school. Students and faculty can donate small amounts to wear casual clothes instead of their uniforms or work clothes.
- Donations instead of birthday gifts. For their next birthday party, ask guests to make a donation to a specific charity, instead of giving a gift.
- Gather and give items. Ask your child to go through their room and look for gently used books, toys, games, or stuffed animals they don’t use anymore and donate them.
- Hold an event. Plan a car wash, a bake sale, or a 50/50 raffle where the proceeds go to charity.
And your assistance doesn’t have to end with suggestions. Offer to lend as much help as they need, so that it becomes a team/family effort. Children learn leadership, management, and delegation skills from taking charge of a project like this, skills they will find useful later in life.
Finding ways to help other children doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Every little bit helps.