Giving and volunteering have always been a part of my life, so naturally, my daughter has been raised to also take part in many charitable causes. Moms will often ask me how I was able to get my teen involved with so many different charities, and my reply is always the same – start early, have teachable moments and allow your kids to find a cause that is meaningful to them.
When my daughter was small Brownie Girl Scout, we made kits for the elderly via Meals on Wheels that contained essentials a homebound senior may need. I loved listening to the girls discuss what may be useful (like large print crossword puzzles or stamps) and I was often so thrilled with their creativity. In addition to ‘stuff’, the girls would also write a heartfelt note to brighten someone’s day. It was not unusual for this ‘care box’ to be the only thing a homebound senior received, and so much care and love went into each box. As the girls got older, they picked up trash for I Love a Clean San Diego and we’d have a contest as to who could find the ‘weirdest’ piece of trash to make it exciting. As teens, the girls made sandwiches for homeless, collected spare change for the Clean Water Project in Africa, organized clothing for women living in shelters escaping abuse, and volunteered with Special Needs Children on a weekly basis.
As a busy Mom, I often look for charitable causes that we can support to and fit into our hectic schedule. That’s why I absolutely LOVE General’s Mills current support program for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. I can stock up on my kid’s favorite General Mills cereal AND support our local CMN Hospital.
During the month of May, Costco has collaborated with General Mills. General Mills will donate at least $200,000 to CMN Hospitals, and shoppers will find specially marked CMN Hospitals boxes of General Mills cereal highlighting patients who have benefited from local donations to member hospitals.
Our local ‘Miracle Kid’, treated at San Diego’s Rady’s Children’s Hospital, is cute-as-a-button Kaylee Mulusky (pictured above on the cereal box). Kaylee was only two years old when they found out she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This sweet little girl has completed her chemotherapy in March 2018 and her long-term prognosis is now excellent. In fact, Kaylee is now loving kindergarten and gymnastics! She visits Rady’s Childrens Hospital in San Diego, my hometown, for monthly checkups.
Giving back is very important to our family, so I love that my family can enjoy the General Mills cereal they love (Lucky Charms!), and educate themselves on the amazing treatment that our local CMN Hospital provides which just furthers our family discussion about helping others.
SIMPLE WAYS TO GET YOUR CHILD VOLUNTEERING
- Look for simple ways to support with purchases and donations, like the General Mills / Costco / CMN Hospitals Campaign
- Discuss Causes, Charities and Needs – Ask your child WHY would someone need help? WHAT type of help do they need? Spark conversation!
- Find age-appropriate charitable activities. Picking up trash for three hours on a hot beach in deep sand may not be appropriate for a 5 or 6-year-old, but stuffing book bags for students in need is achievable and relatable!
- Keep a Log Book of charitable hours. Your child will have a sense of pride that they are helping in a trackable manner. These hours add up! They can apply for the Presidential Service Award should they get enough in one year!
- Find charitable causes that your child can relate to. Does your daughter love cats? Have her help at an animal shelter (We once spent 3 hours petting cats at a no-kill shelter) Does your son like Sports? Have you help with a special needs Sports Camp!
- Don’t wait until kids are teens and ‘need’ volunteer hours to ‘make it look good’ on their college application. Start EARLY and you’ll never have to worry about getting hours down the road, as you won’t be able to stop your teens from volunteering!
Different General Mills cereals are linked to different ‘Miracle Kids’ across North America, so look for the specially marked boxes in your local Costco.