Today’s youth are the adults of the future. Instilling philanthropic values in children, teens and young adults is vital to solve community and global issues.
Philanthropy is defined by Merriam Webster as the active effort to promote human welfare. Youth have an abundance of energy which, when harnessed, makes even the most difficult tasks seem effortless.
Why is philanthropy important?
Children who volunteer are twice as likely to donate as adults. Youth philanthropists grow up to be adult philanthropists.
Parents strive to teach compassion to their children. The logical next step is teaching philanthropy. Beyond compassionate feelings lies a world in need of action.
Television recognizes the power of children’s words and actions with showcases of talent and comic honesty. From the mouths of babes adults everyday look at situations with new eyes. Encouraging philanthropy in youth moves from the entertaining perspective and humor to action.
Change occurs when action is taken to make circumstances different. Helping youth identify what needs to change aids in their discovery of how to change it. Often, they can bring a solution where one eludes adults solving the same problem.
What can youth do?
Donate: Worldwide, children contribute to causes with allowances, birthday money and after-school job earnings.
Volunteer: Many philanthropic endeavors require labor which is not affordable. Volunteering time for soup kitchens, building projects and deliveries keeps the costs of providing services and goods to needy people at a minimum. Those who cannot afford to donate money can donate their time and talent.
Goodwill: Historic societies, like scouting, promote acts of goodwill. Membership is not a requirement for youth philanthropy.
Kindness: Single acts of kindness are philanthropic. Teens who visit nursing homes to read or do crafts with elderly residents are creating a better way of life for both themselves and the people they visit.
Conserve: Children who actively conserve resources are impacting the quality of life for people they will never meet. Living a waste-less lifestyle preserves resources for other people, both now and in the future.
Prevent Crime: Youth who play sports or entertain to raise money for crime prevention have a double impact. They are not participating in crime and are actively raising awareness which prevents crime. Crime prevention is philanthropic.
Play Sports: Sports develop important life skills, like teamwork and accountability. After school sports programs have been cut from school budgets in record numbers. Community sports programs which feature community service in lieu of registration payments advance youth philanthropy.
Perform: Music education can lead an at-risk youth toward a more enriched and fulfilling life. Music enhances the lives of all who hear it. Talented youth play instruments and sing to raise awareness for crises from hunger to pollution prevention. Performing concerts for the less advantaged of any age is philanthropic.
Citizenship: Youth involved in governmental processes are more prepared to be educated voters and instrumental political leaders. They bring about change in the political arena which benefits society by rallying their peers.
Educate: Education is necessary for all of society to continue to progress. Any teen can read to children in a public library. Youth who actively teach others, both younger children and adults, strengthen their communities to make better decisions and enrich others’ lives.
Why is youth philanthropy important for our future?
Youth can change the world they live in and the world for the people with which they share it. They have the power to influence their generation to make every community better. They hold the keys to a better way of life for their elders, their peers and future generations.
Youth philanthropy is our future.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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