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Raise the Change: How to Cultivate Generosity at Home

Promote generosity at home by encouraging giving, using media examples, and discussing altruism.

Raising children offers an incredible opportunity to shape their perspective, character, and habits, ultimately influencing the kind of adults they become. Among the many values we can instill in our children, generosity stands out as a trait that can have a profound impact on their lives and the world around them. 

Whether your children are just starting to grasp the concept of sharing or they’re older and beginning to understand the broader implications of giving, it’s never too early or too late to start the conversation about generosity. 

In this article, we explore ways you can cultivate a spirit of generosity in your children, setting them on a path toward a lifetime of giving. In addition, we’ll provide a few conversation starters to help you get the ball rolling. 

Understanding Generosity: Explaining the Concept to Kids

Children often learn best when ideas are clearly explained and modeled for them. Discussing the concept of generosity in simple, relatable terms can help children understand its importance. In a White Paper prepared by the Great Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, researchers found that parenting:

“…plays a role in cultivating generosity. Some studies have found that various parenting practices—particularly role-modeling and discussing generosity—may help children grow up to be more generous adults.”

It’s clear: parents can significantly influence their children’s understanding and practice of generosity. This is a concept most people would agree with; the question is how can it be done in lasting and meaningful ways?

Promoting a Culture of Generosity at Home 

Creating a home environment that celebrates sharing can significantly nurture a spirit of generosity. This can be achieved through various activities that involve the whole family, such as volunteering, shopping for those in need, serving the community together, or opening your home to others. Each of these practices contributes to establishing a family culture centered on giving.

Volunteering allows children to experience the joy and fulfillment of helping others firsthand. Collecting items to donate to an individual or organization can create memorable moments and strengthen family bonds. Serving together as a family fosters a sense of unity and compassion, which can have a profound impact that lasts a lifetime. Lastly, inviting others into your home provides a tangible example of treating everyone with respect and equality, particularly those in need. All these experiences work together to instill a deep, lasting understanding of generosity in young minds.

Teaching Generosity Through Media

In the same White Paper by UC Berkeley, it was reported that: 

“Other studies have found that engaging with media—including television, music, and video games—that have prosocial messages may lead people to behave more generously.”

Children will be thrilled with this news! Contrary to the usual advice of limiting screen time, here’s an instance where parents will be encouraging it.

By conducting straightforward searches online, you can find a wealth of media content that carries a positive message. This could range from books and TV shows to YouTube channels, all capable of making a beneficial impact. Let’s explore some of our top picks:

Mr. Beast on YouTube

Also known as Jimmy Donaldson, Mr. Beast is a popular YouTuber who is well-known for his large-scale donations on his channel. He often gives away substantial amounts of money or valuable items to random individuals, friends, or charities, demonstrating his commitment to generosity. Check out his Beast Philanthropy channel for more information. 

‘The Tomorrow Children’ Video Game

The Tomorrow Children is a video game that promotes generosity through its unique gameplay mechanics. It emphasizes collective progress, where the actions of each player contribute to the group’s advancement, fostering a sense of community and selflessness. The game’s shared resources and cooperative building aspects require fair distribution and teamwork, teaching players the importance of sharing and the impact of their decisions on the whole group. While playing, users of all ages can learn about the importance of cooperation, sharing, and selflessness, key aspects of generosity.

‘The Incredibles’ Movie

While children might not possess superpowers like the Parr family in The Incredibles, they can still learn valuable lessons about contributing to their community using their unique skills and possessions. Just as the Parrs used their special abilities to protect their city, children can use their treasures and talents in various ways. This could be as simple as creating a lemonade stand fundraiser, performing songs at a local nursing home, or any other activity or act of generosity that benefits others. The key takeaway is that everyone has something special to offer, and even the smallest actions and amounts can make a significant impact on our communities.

Regardless of the type of media your child gravitates toward, it’s possible to find models of kindness and generosity. By doing so, you can integrate these positive examples into their regular media consumption, seamlessly weaving lessons of charity and giving into their daily routine.

Discuss Generosity

Finally, let’s explore some conversation starters that will help to easily incorporate discussions of giving and generosity into your daily routine. Whether you’re seated around the dinner table, in the car on the way to school, or hanging out by the pool, pick a question and see where the conversation leads. 

5 Discussion Starters for Elementary Kids

  1. Story Time Reflection: “Remember the character in the story we read last night? How do you think their act of sharing helped their friend? Can you think of a time when you did something similar?”
  2. Daily Observations: “Did you notice anyone doing something kind at school today? How did that make you feel? How do you think it made the other person feel?”
  3. Future Actions: “If you found a bag full of toys that someone lost, what would you do? Why?”
  4. Role Play Scenarios: “Imagine if you had superpowers like our favorite superhero. How could you use them to help others around you?”
  5. Gratitude Practice: “Can you name three things you’re thankful for today? Is there a way we could share something we have with someone who might need it?”

10 Discussion Starters for Middle School and High School Students

  1. Personal Experiences: “Can you recall a time when someone’s act of kindness made a significant impact on your day? How did it make you feel?”
  2. Current Events: “Have you read any news stories recently about people making a difference in their communities? What can we learn from them?”
  3. Volunteering Opportunities: “Are there any volunteering opportunities at school or in the community that you’re interested in? Why do they appeal to you?”
  4. Career Goals: “How do you think you can incorporate generosity into your future career path?”
  5. Philanthropy Discussion: “If you were given a large sum of money to donate, which cause would you support and why?”
  1. Role Models: “Who is someone you admire for their generosity? What specific actions have they taken that inspire you?”
  2. Empathy Practice: “Can you think of a situation where showing empathy led to an act of kindness? How did that make you feel?”
  3. Gratitude Reflection: “What are some things you’re grateful for? How might you give back in appreciation?”
  4. Ethical Dilemmas: “If you saw a friend being unkind to someone else, what would you do? How could you promote kindness in that situation?”
  5. Social Justice: “How can acts of generosity contribute to social justice? Can you think of any real-world examples?”

Engaging kids in conversations about generosity and giving can have a profound impact on their development. These discussions not only foster empathy and kindness but also cultivate an understanding of social responsibility. They learn that even small acts of giving can make a significant difference, instilling in them the values of compassion and community service. 

This kind of dialogue also allows children to reflect on their actions and understand the feelings of others better, encouraging them to think critically about how they can contribute positively to their communities. Ultimately, these conversations about giving can shape children into more empathetic and generous individuals, preparing them to become responsible and caring adults.

Generosity at Home Can Start Today

Fostering an environment of generosity at home can be a game-changer in your child’s growth and development. By integrating discussions about giving into everyday conversations, showcasing examples of kindness through media, and providing opportunities for them to practice these values, you’re setting the groundwork for a lifelong commitment to compassion and service. 

Remember, every act of giving, no matter how small, can make a significant difference. 

So, let’s raise the change and inspire our children to become the generous, caring individuals we know they can be. Get more ideas when you download the ebook 10 Ways to Raise Generous Kids.

Let’s cultivate generosity at home and watch as they transform not just their lives, but also the world around them.

MHANJ Partners With Organizations To Support Military Families’ Mental Health

In 2023, MHANJ’s Angelini and Stephens conducted a mental health class for military families, supported by several organizations and the Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) has been a long-standing pillar of support, resource, and refuge for individuals grappling with mental health and substance use disorders. With its rich history and unwavering commitment to enhancing lives, it’s no wonder the community holds MHANJ in such high esteem.

MHANJ is known for its comprehensive services, which include emotional support, information dissemination, referrals, and community outreach. It also provides psycho-educational services, coping strategies, and linkages with other individuals, ensuring a holistic approach to mental health care.

Digital Therapeutic Programs

In a bid to keep up with the evolving times and needs, MHANJ partnered with GoMo Health to create personalized digital therapeutic programs. These programs aim to offer behavioral and mental health services to New Jersey residents, further broadening their reach and impact.

Advocacy and Support

The organization doesn’t just stop at providing services. They actively promote good mental health, work to reduce barriers that prevent people from seeking help, and strive to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Their advocacy extends to a broader scale, with the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) condemning violent attacks and extending their support in times of distress.

MHANJ and the Military Community

In 2023, Jaime Angelini and Neal Stephens from MHANJ conducted a class on mental health first aid for military members, veterans, and their families. This initiative, held at the SpectraCare Foundation and Carlton R. Rouh Veterans Center in collaboration with the New Jersey Hospital Association, exemplifies their dedication to all segments of the community.

Your Contribution Matters

Raising support for these vital causes and initiatives is the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. We are a proud supporter of MHANJ and ten other critical agencies that serve families and individuals in New Jersey.

Your partnership can make a significant difference. By supporting the Holiday Fund, you’re directly contributing to the invaluable work carried out by MHANJ and other critical organizations who offer a helping hand to clothe, feed, and shelter New Jersey individuals and families. Your donation can change lives, provide hope, and create a better tomorrow for those who need it most.

Consider making a donation today at https://holidayfund.org/give/ and be a part of this incredible journey towards better mental health for all.

Supporting Mental Health: A Salute to the Mental Health Association in New Jersey

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey provides a crucial lifeline through their hotline, demonstrating their commitment to supporting mental health.

In times of crisis, a single phone call or text message can make a world of difference. For those struggling with mental health issues, it can be the lifeline they so desperately need. In New Jersey, there’s one organization we want to recognize that has stepped up to provide this essential service.

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) has facilitated over 27,000 calls and texts via their dedicated mental health hotline. Staffed by caring professionals who are trained to provide support and guidance, this service is a beacon of hope for many individuals navigating the challenging terrain of mental health issues.

The Human Touch in Mental Health Support

MHANJ’s hotline isn’t just about numbers; it’s about the human touch. Each call or text represents a person who reached out for help and found a compassionate ear on the other end of the line. This dedicated team works tirelessly, responding to a high volume of requests for support. Their commitment to providing this lifeline is a testament to their dedication to the mental well-being of their community.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund: An Opportunity to Give Back

While MHANJ does incredible work, they can’t do it alone. That’s where organizations like the Greater Newark Holiday Fund come in. This Fund offers crucial financial support to a range of social service agencies, including MHANJ.

Supporting mental health is a collective responsibility. By donating to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, you’re not just giving money; you’re giving hope. You’re helping to ensure that when someone reaches out in their time of need, there’s someone there to answer.

Join us in recognizing the incredible work of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. Donate to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund today and help them continue their lifesaving work. Together, we can make a difference.

Visit Greater Newark Holiday Fund to make your contribution now. Remember, every little bit helps. 

Introducing New Community Career & Technical Institute: Empowering Students For Success

New Jersey post-secondary school is dedicated to empowering students for success in fields like allied health, building, automotive, and culinary arts.

One of the Holiday Fund’s esteemed partner agencies, New Community Corporation, is proud to operate New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI), an accredited post-secondary school dedicated to offering comprehensive training in various fields, empowering students for success. At NCCTI, they are committed to bringing relevant and affordable programming to the community, with a focus on allied health, building trades, automotive, and culinary arts.

A Conducive Learning Environment for Educational Excellence

NCCTI strives to provide an educational environment that is conducive to learning. Faculty members are experienced professionals who are passionate about their fields and dedicated to equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. NCCTIs understand that each student has unique educational goals, and they are eager to help you map out a plan for your career path.

Comprehensive Supportive Services for Student Success

As part of the New Community Corporation (NCC) family, NCCTI is able to offer additional supportive services to our students. These services include family and individual counseling, access to an emergency food pantry, transitional housing information, assistance with accessing a credit union, financial literacy and planning, and specialized training opportunities. NCCTI believes that comprehensive support is essential for student success, both inside and outside the classroom.

Stretching Beyond Limits: Expand Your Capacity and Development

NCCTI believes that education should not only be a means to acquire knowledge but also an opportunity to stretch beyond one’s limits and expand personal capacity and development. The school provides a safe and inclusive environment where students can explore their interests, discover their talents, and unlock their full potential. They encourage our students to embrace challenges, take risks, and push themselves to reach new heights.

Connecting with Prospective Students: NCCTI Holds Open House

Recently, NCCTI held an open house event to connect with prospective students interested in their programs. The event was a tremendous success, allowing potential students to learn more about the courses offered, meet faculty members, and get a glimpse of the vibrant learning community at NCCTI.

New Community Career & Technical Institute is committed to empowering students for success. Whether you aspire to work in the automotive industry, building trades, healthcare, or culinary arts, the institution here to support you in fulfilling your educational goals and achieving a rewarding career.

New Community Corporation: Celebrating Resolved Crisis Intervention Cases

Let’s take a moment and recognize the accomplishments of New Community Corporation. This NJ-based agency recently celebrated the successful resolution of 57 Family Crisis Intervention Unit cases. 👪

Each case closing signifies a family that has overcome crisis and regained stability and hope. It’s also a testament to the dedication, hard work, and compassion of the team at New Community Corporation. Their relentless efforts have ensured that these families received the support they needed during their challenging times.

Join us in supporting organizations like New Community Corporation in their important work. Every case closed brings us one step closer to a community where every family can thrive, even in the face of crisis.

Supporting NCC and the other Holiday Fund agencies is easy – simply give online.

A huge thank you to the team at New Community Corporation – your commitment to serving families in crisis is truly making a difference! 🙏

10 Creative Ways to Raise Kids Who Give That Shapes Their Character

Raise kids who give and offer them a valuable gift for a fulfilled and enriched life.

Instilling generosity and a spirit of giving in our children is one of the most meaningful gifts we can provide as parents. With so much focus in today’s world on materialism, individualism and self-interest, nurturing values of compassion, service and community provides a moral compass for our kids. 

As parents, our example shows children what really matters. By modeling generosity, allowing kids to donate their own money, applauding acts of kindness, and providing engaging giving opportunities, generosity becomes second nature to them. Helping others starts to bring greater fulfillment than possessions.

Here are impactful ways to foster giving hearts and helping hands in our kids.

10 Creative Ways to Raise Kids Who Give

1. Model Generosity Yourself

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

Since children learn best by observation, our own day-to-day actions as parents have tremendous influence. When you make generosity and giving a regular habit, your kids are much more likely to absorb these virtues.  

Ways to model generosity include:

Donating money to causes you care about and allowing your children to witness this. Explain why you chose to support certain charities like Children’s Aid & Family Services or FAMILYConnections, both of whom are supported by the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, which aid local families in need.

Volunteering your time for organizations like Family Service League and having your kids participate too. This demonstrates selfless service in action.

– Going out of your way to help neighbors, friends and strangers in need. Let your children know about it and praise acts of kindness.

– Speaking positively about the importance of compassion and community, not just material wealth.

– Buying gifts for charitable gift drives that your children can help pick out. 

Avoiding excessive focus on possessions, status and getting ahead of others.

Kids are always observing our real priorities. By making generosity an obvious one in your daily life, children will see it as a core value, not just a lecture.

2. Allow Them to Give Their Own Money

As soon as your children start earning money from an allowance, gifts or jobs, encourage them to use a portion to benefit others. 

Even small donations can instill big giving habits over time. Ways to facilitate kids donating their own funds:

– Have them allocate a percentage of any money received to give away before their own spending. This builds in generosity as a habit.

– Help them pick a cause, charity or person in need to regularly support. Let them connect directly to how their funds help others.

– Encourage them to save up for bigger donation goals for organizations like Youth Consultation Service or Mental Health Association in New Jersey, just two of the eleven agencies supported by the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. 

– Have them research and select gifts for toy and goods drives that their donation money will buy.

– Allow them to choose occasional small donations like dropping change in a charity box or volunteering to pay for a stranger’s coffee as a “give forward” act.

Giving from their own pocket, no matter how small the amount, helps children feel invested in generosity and compassion as personal values.

3. Point Out Acts of Kindness

As you go about your daily life, try to regularly point out examples of other people demonstrating generosity, sacrifice and giving. This raises awareness of these virtues and positively reinforces them.

You can highlight acts of kindness in a variety of ways:

– When you observe someone going out of their way to help another person in public, point this out to your child as a real-life example of compassion. 

Read books and watch movies that depict characters displaying generosity and discuss the motives and impact.

Share news stories about donations and volunteers helping communities in need. Check out (and share!) updates and newsletters from some of our partner agencies, like Family Service Bureau of Newark

– Praise your child’s kind behaviors. Thank them for actions like including others or sharing their toys.

Drawing attention to giving acts, both big and small, helps shape your child’s perception. Generosity becomes something to aspire to, not just lecture about.

4. Encourage Philanthropy Projects

Provide hands-on opportunities for your children to actively participate in philanthropy projects supporting causes they care about. Experiencing generosity in action can light a lifelong passion for helping others.  

Ideas for engaging in charity projects:

– Together, pick a cause important to your child like hunger, poverty or sustainability. Research organizations, like those supported by the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, that address your chosen issue.

– Brainstorm ways your child can fundraise or volunteer to help. Bake sales, car washes, donation drives and more let kids see giving in action. 

Create care packages, artwork, cards or other handmade items that charities can distribute to people in need. 

– Have your child organize a small event to raise awareness for a cause like a toy drive, food pantry donation collection or recycling campaign. 

– Regularly volunteer together as a family with charities addressing social issues, serving meals, visiting seniors, etc.

– Encourage older kids to suggest and lead their own philanthropy projects with guidance.

Engaging your child’s interests and passions through active charity participation makes generosity personal and inspiring.

5. Teach Compassion for Others 

Some key traits that drive giving are empathy, understanding and compassion. Nurturing these qualities in children is foundational to raising kids with a generosity mindset. 

Ways to cultivate compassion:

Discuss challenges others face and how small acts of kindness from us can make a difference. Local agencies like the Urban League of Essex County assist families struggling with poverty, homelessness and other issues.

Read books and watch age-appropriate films about people from different walks of life. Prompt kids to think about how they would feel in those situations. 

– When your child shares a problem they are facing, ask how they think their friends or others would feel in that same situation. 

Role-play exercises like having each family member speak from another’s perspective. How would a child with no toys feel on Christmas morning?

– Praise your child when you observe him/her demonstrating true compassion for others’ needs and feelings.

Avoid judgment of those facing hard times. Be positive about differences and others’ inherent worth.

Expanding your child’s capacity for empathy and walking in someone else’s shoes nurtures generosity that comes from the heart, not obligation.

Explore books about generosity: 10 Books to Read as a Family to Inspire a Generous Spirit

6. Let Them See You Donate

Don’t just discreetly give to charity without your kids’ knowledge. Let them observe you donating money, goods and time to causes. Ask them to participate in the process with you.  

Seeing generosity in action teaches volumes:

– Explain why you chose to support a certain charity like Catholic Charities of Newark or any of the other Greater Newark Holiday Fund partner agencies. Share who the donation will benefit.

– Let younger kids assist by drawing pictures or picking items from the grocery store that you can donate to a local food pantry. 

Take your child with you when you drop off donated goods so they can experience first-hand the impact even a small contribution makes.

– Talk through your decision-making when faced with a request for charity. How do you decide what and when to give?

– If you volunteer with an organization, discuss the experience together afterward. What did you do? How did it feel? What did it accomplish?

– Share with your child donation receipts and year-end charitable tax statements as examples of real-world giving.

Making generosity visible, instead of discrete good deeds, shows children their parents’ values and why giving matters.

7. Encourage Random Acts of Kindness

Challenge children to engage in “stealth good deeds” by performing small random acts of kindness without expectation of praise or reward. This boosts awareness of how generosity can become second nature.

Fun, under-the-radar giving ideas:

Provide coins for your child to leave in random vending or arcade machines for the next person.

– Have them pay for a stranger’s coffee, meal or book purchase anonymously at a restaurant or store. 

– Let them hand out granola bars, gift cards or other small treats to passersby with a kind note.

– Encourage them to do unassigned household chores and good deeds without fanfare like making someone’s bed, tidying up, feeding pets, etc. 

– Suggest they offer sincere compliments to classmates, servers, cashiers and others they interact with just to brighten someone’s day.

These small acts of generosity require little planning but have a big impact. They show children how easy it is to create ripples of kindness.

8. Volunteer as a Family

Seek out opportunities for your family to volunteer together regularly with organizations addressing social causes. Hand-on service cements giving as a core family value.

Possible volunteering ideas:

Sign up as a family with a charity like Jewish Family Service of Metro West to serve meals, visit seniors, deliver goods or other needed tasks. 

– Designate one weekend or evening a month as your regular family volunteer time. Mark it on the calendar to set the expectation.

– Have each child take turns picking a volunteering activity they want the family to do that month like serving at an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc.

Help out elderly neighbors or other community members in need with yard work, errands, house tasks, rides, etc. 

– Organize a neighborhood event like a donated goods drive, park cleanup or card writing campaign that your family spearheads and invites others to join.

Take your children with you when you volunteer for a cause and discuss the experience together.

Making service and sacrifice a fun family norm trains kids to see generosity as a source of joy.

9. Inspire with Uplifting Quotes

Share inspiring quotes, stories and role model examples that speak to ideals of compassion, sacrifice and giving. Discuss with your children how these values change lives.

– Read classic quotes from activists like Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and Cesar Chavez and discuss their meaning.

Share stories of Mother Teresa, Paul Newman, John Wooden and athletes engaged in service. Talk about why they chose to give back. 

Watch TED talks or films about social innovators and community heroes.

– Discuss examples of everyday heroes in your community, family friends or even grandparents/ancestors who led lives of quiet generosity. 

– Check out the Holiday Fund on Instagram and Facebook and discover thoughtful quotes that inspire and motivate.

These discussions spark critical thinking on generosity as a virtue that leads to meaning and purpose.

10. Make Generosity Fun

Show children that compassion feels good and giving can be fun. Blend hands-on service with creativity and play.

Some ideas to make generosity fun:

– Frame fundraisers as exciting social events. Let kids organize bake sales, talent shows, read-a-thons and more to benefit a cause.

– Add games and art projects to charity drives. Have children decorate boxes and bags for food and goods collections.

– Encourage them to assemble special care packages, holiday cards or artwork gifts that charities like Newark Day Center or Nutley Family Agency, both Greater Newark Holiday Fund partners, can distribute.

– When donating goods, let your child pick out toys, books or other items they think other kids would enjoy receiving. 

– Praise every act of generosity, no matter how small. Celebrate volunteering with a special family meal or treat.

LET’S RAISE WORLD CHANGERS

Giving should feel fulfilling, not forced. Make it rewarding.

The spirit of generosity takes root when introduced early through modeling, engaging projects and consistent value reinforcement. By inspiring our kids to embrace compassion and service, we provide a moral foundation that will guide them for life. Our children’s capacity to change the world starts with how we raise them.

Cultivating Generosity in Kids: Inspiring Giving Through Reading

Through the intentional reading of books about generosity, you can effortlessly instill this virtue in your children’s daily lives.

Instilling the virtue of generosity into your children’s characters may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The solution could lie within the simple act of intentional reading. By creating a family culture that integrates books about giving, selflessness, and generosity into your everyday routines, acts of giving can become second nature for your kids.

The Power of Books in Cultivating Generosity

Just as a book can spark a child’s desire for adventure or ignite their courage, books can also inspire children to give generously. Picture this: you’re reading the story of Shoebox Sam, a heartwarming tale loved by children of all ages. The main characters, Delia and Jesse, exemplified respect and generosity. As your child identifies with these characters, they begin to see themselves as individuals capable of those admirable qualities of giving and respect. This vicarious experience can have a profound effect, gradually integrating the spirit of generosity into their identity.

Whether you’re reading books together as a family or encouraging kids to read them on their own, these ideas will help you to incorporate books about generosity into your family culture right away. 

Books can be a powerful tool to inspire the virtue of generosity in our children. As they connect with characters and their acts of giving, kids start seeing themselves as capable of such kindness. This immersive experience can integrate the… Click To Tweet

6 Simple Ways to Incorporate Books About Generosity Into Your Family Culture

  1. Habit Stacking: Choose carefully selected books about generosity and integrate them into your daily routine. You can read excerpts while your family is engaged in routine tasks. Whether it’s during dinner, on car rides (perfect for audiobooks!), by the fireplace in the evening, or on the patio during summer, these moments are perfect opportunities to share narratives of generosity. Just five minutes of reading can make a difference.
  2. Join a Book Club: Participating in a local book club can be a fun way to introduce books about generosity into your family’s reading list. They offer a great platform for your kids to engage with others and share their thoughts about the books they’ve enjoyed. Plus, book clubs often provide a curated list of book recommendations, saving you time and ensuring a diverse range of material.
  3. Use a Variety of Reading Formats: In today’s digital age, the traditional hardcover book isn’t the only option. Audiobooks and e-books offer flexibility and convenience. In the car or while preparing dinner, an audiobook can keep your child engaged. Some people prefer listening to a story from this kind of format, and this variety can enhance the overall reading experience.
  4. Book-themed Family Discussions: After reading a book about generosity, initiate a family discussion about the story. Ask your kids about their thoughts, feelings, and what they’ve learned from the characters. This not only promotes critical thinking but also helps in internalizing the lessons about generosity.
  5. Create a Generosity Bookshelf: Dedicate a specific section of your bookshelf to books about generosity. Having a visually accessible ‘Generosity Shelf’ will serve as a constant reminder of the virtue you’re trying to instill. It can also make it easier for your children to pick a book whenever they feel like reading.
  6. Incorporate Book-related Activities: Extend the messages of the books beyond reading. For instance, if a book talks about donating toys to less fortunate children, encourage your kids to sort through their toys and choose some to donate. Activities like these help children apply the lessons they’ve learned from the books, reinforcing the concept of generosity.

Incredible Progress: The Incredible Progress of Tyler: A Story of Triumph

Respecting Reading Differences Within Your Family

An important factor to keep in mind as you incorporate books about generosity into your family culture is the diverse reading preferences among family members. Appreciation for the written word can take many forms, and it’s essential to provide options that cater to everyone’s tastes and habits.

E-books, for instance, might be a favorite for some family members. With their effortless accessibility and convenient features like highlighting or bookmarking, e-books can offer an enjoyable reading experience. They also eliminate the need for physical storage and are easy to carry wherever you go, making them an excellent choice for those who value convenience and portability.

On the other hand, audiobooks might resonate more with family members who enjoy auditory learning or those who find it challenging to carve out dedicated reading time. Audiobooks can be enjoyed while multitasking – during a commute, while cooking dinner, or even as a bedtime routine. For an enhanced listening experience, you could consider investing in a pair of comfortable earbuds. This allows listeners to immerse themselves fully in the narrative, absorbing the story without any distractions.

By acknowledging and accommodating these varying preferences, you’re not only promoting a love for reading but also fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels their choices are valued. This, in turn, can lead to more enthusiastic participation in your mission to instill the value of generosity through literature.

Building a Family Culture Steeped in the Virtue of Generosity

Whether you dedicate time every morning, during dinner, or three times a week to read together, these efforts will contribute to creating a family culture that values reading and the virtues conveyed in the stories.

Finding books based on themes such as generosity and selflessness is easier than ever, and they make excellent choices to support your mission of raising generous, giving children. 

By fostering a reading culture that emphasizes kindness and generosity, you’re not just raising children who love to read; you’re nurturing empathetic, compassionate individuals ready to make a positive impact on the world around them.

Embark on a journey of cultivating generosity with our handpicked selection of 10 inspiring books that beautifully highlight the virtue of giving. Download the list today and get started weaving generosity into your family’s everyday life.

Celebrating Impact: How the Mental Health Association in New Jersey is Transforming Crisis Counseling

We’re thrilled to share some truly amazing news with you all. The Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s (MHANJ) contribution to the New Jersey Hope and Healing Crisis Counseling program has introduced new services, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.🙌

This initiative has introduced a range of new resources that are aimed at providing immediate and lasting aid to individuals struggling with mental health crises. And we’re proud to announce that these services have already had a profound impact.

To date, 444 participants have been aided through the work of MHANJ, receiving the help they needed when they needed it the most. These individuals were able to access crucial support and begin their journey toward healing.

As we celebrate this achievement, we also look forward to continuing our work supporting MHANJ and 10 other partner agencies at the Holiday Fund. There are many more people who need support, and we’re committed to reaching them. Together, we can make a meaningful difference and bring hope to those in crisis.

Join us! Support the Holiday Fund by donating at holidayfund.org.

10 Books to Read as a Family to Inspire a Generous Spirit

Explore these books to read as a family that can bring people of all ages together to inspire a lifelong commitment to giving.

Every family has its traditions, but one that stands the test of time is reading together. This simple act not only fosters a love for literature in young minds, but also cultivates empathy, understanding, and a sense of community. Particularly for families, teachers, and advocates who are passionate about shaping their character and values, books are a valuable and powerful tool.

In this article, we will introduce you to 10 books that families can read together, each highlighting the beautiful act of giving. These books are designed to instill a spirit of generosity and kindness in our young ones, teaching them the importance of sharing, compassion, and philanthropy. 

Learning Empathy Through Literature

According to a study by Michigan State University, children who read are more likely to exhibit social understanding and empathy towards others. In an article entitled ‘Children and empathy: Reading to learn empathy’, author Kylie Rymanowicz explains:

“When children read stories, they are given the opportunity to understand the story from the perspective of the characters. Think of reading as a game of role playing, where children can practice seeing the world through someone else’s eyes that allows them to develop an understanding and respect for the experiences of others.”

Furthermore, a report from the National Endowment for the Arts suggests that reading fosters a child’s emotional intelligence and civic involvement. By introducing children to books about giving, we are promoting a culture of generosity and understanding that can inform their character for life.

As parents or professionals who work with children see every day, the power of a good book extends beyond the pages. It influences the mind, shapes perspectives, and in this case, nurtures a giving heart. So, let’s explore these books that can bring families together and inspire a lifelong commitment to giving.

10 Books to Read as a Family to Inspire a Generous Spirit

The Rain Came Down by David Shannon 

Themes: Patience and Joy

Recommended Reading Age: 2-5

The Rain Came Down begins with a muddy dog creating a ruckus, irritating its owner to the point where the man scolded the dog and awakened the baby, prompting the dog to bark even louder. And still, the rain persisted. Out on the street, a taxi driver honks at a halted truck, leading to a heated argument in the following scene. One by one, shopkeepers bump into pedestrians as tension mounts. The falling rain instigates a domino effect of sour moods, which are swiftly dissipated when the clouds part unexpectedly.

Readers as young as age 2 will be wowed by the engaging illustrations and curious angles.

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Themes: Sharing and Community Spirit

Recommended Reading Age: 3-7

“Omu,” a term from the Igbo language meaning “queen,” is the main character in this heartwarming story set in a busy neighborhood called Thank You, Omu! She is cooking a rich, red stew so delicious that she believes it could be the best meal she’s ever prepared. The scent of her irresistible stew makes its way through her apartment, luring a variety of visitors to her doorstep.

Generously, Omu shares her plentiful stew with each visitor who knocks on her door. From a young neighbor and a local police officer to the hot dog vendor living downstairs, everyone gets a taste of Omu’s delicious stew. Even the city’s mayor makes an appearance! However, when Omu finally sits down for her own meal, she realizes her pot is empty.

But the story doesn’t end here. Omu’s generous spirit sparks a chain reaction of giving among those she fed. This book is recommended for children aged 3 to 7 years, serving as a beautiful tale of sharing and community spirit.

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Last Stop On Market Street by Matt de la Pena 

Themes: Sharing and Community Spirit

Recommended Reading Age: 

Last Stop On Market Street chronicles the journey of a young African-American boy named CJ, who joins his grandmother, known as Nana, on a city bus ride to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Their story begins as they leave church amidst a downpour. As they trudge towards the bus stop in the rain, CJ questions Nana about why they must endure the rain, to which Nana responds that just like them, trees need water too.

Upon reaching the bus stop, CJ spots his friend, Colby, comfortably riding home in a car with his dad. This prompts CJ to question Nana about why they don’t own a car. Soon after, their bus arrives and CJ and Nana make their way to the front seat. Throughout their journey, they meet a blind man and observe two boys engrossed in their iPods. When a man strikes up a song on his guitar, CJ experiences a moment of profound beauty.

The narrative concludes with CJ and Nana dedicating their time at a soup kitchen, reinforcing the themes of community service and compassion that thread through the story.

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Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright, and Ying-Hwa Hu

Themes: Gratitude and Generosity

Recommended Reading Age: 5-7

In the book Sam and the Lucky Money it’s New Year’s Day, and young Sam is excited to spend his lucky money, a gift from his parents. Amidst the lively New Year celebrations taking place in Chinatown, Sam considers the many ways he could utilize his $4.

During their festive wanderings, Sam unexpectedly encounters a shoeless man sitting on the cold winter street, a sight that leaves him concerned. As Sam’s day unfolds, he realizes that everything he desires costs more than his lucky money, leading to a moment of frustration. His mother gently reminds him to value what he has been given.

When they once again encounter the barefoot man, a light bulb moment occurs for Sam. He finally figures out the perfect use for his lucky money. This book, ideal for children aged 5 to 9, beautifully portrays the values of gratitude and generosity.

Shoebox Sam by Mary Brigid Barrett

Themes: Respect and Generosity

Recommended Reading Age: 4-9

In Shoebox Sam, youngsters Jesse and Delia make their Saturday visit to Shoebox Sam, the friendly owner of a shoe repair shop located at the corner of Magnolia and Vine. Between helping paying customers, Sam, along with Jesse and Delia, extend their kindness by offering shoes, food, and warmhearted conversation to those who wander in from the streets.

When the children question why one man consumes six doughnuts, Sam responds with a cheerful reminder: “When you’re hungry, you eat!” 

This story subtly instills values of generosity and profound respect for every individual who steps into the shoe repair shop. It’s a delightful read for children aged 4 to 9.

Stone Soup by Jon J Muth

Themes: Hospitality and Generosity

Recommended Reading Age: 2-7

Stone Soup is an age-old folk story that underscores the importance of extending hospitality to strangers. In this tale, a trio of monks, or at times different voyagers, reach a village where the inhabitants are hesitant to share their sustenance. 

These travelers begin crafting a soup using nothing but water and stones, eventually convincing the villagers to contribute additional ingredients like vegetables, meat, and seasonings. 

The outcome is a sumptuous soup relished by all, serving as a reminder of the virtues of generosity and collaboration. Children ages 2-7 will enjoy this classic tale. 

One City, Two Brothers by Chris Smith

Themes: Sacrifice and Generosity

Recommended Reading Age: 4-9

One City, Two Brothers is a timeless story of generosity, cherished by Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Holy Lands for generations. It follows two brothers—one single, the other with a family—who work on their adjacent farms. While each brother is content with his life, they both harbor concerns for the other.

During a year when the harvest is exceptionally bountiful, the elder brother decides to surprise his younger sibling by secretly adding extra grain to his barn at night. Unbeknownst to him, his younger brother, moved by the same sentiment, is simultaneously doing the same in the elder brother’s barn.

The following day, as each brother counts his sacks of grain, they are left perplexed. Their secret acts of generosity continue until one bright moonlit night, they unexpectedly bump into each other while carrying out their deeds. This heartwarming tale is recommended for children aged 4 to 9.

Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff and Kyrsten Brooker

Themes: Community and Shared Traditions

Recommended Reading Age: 4-8

Chik Chak Shabbat is a heartwarming story about Goldie Simcha. Every Saturday, her neighbors eagerly anticipate the afternoon when the irresistible aroma of her cholent, a traditional Jewish stew, permeates through the apartment building. When they gather for the Shabbat meal, each neighbor has their own theory about what makes the cholent so delicious. But according to Goldie, it’s not the ingredients that give the stew its distinctive flavor, it’s the shared experience, peace, and togetherness that Shabbat brings.

However, one Saturday, the familiar scent of cholent is missing from the apartment building. Undeterred, Goldie’s neighbors are determined to recreate the feeling and taste of Shabbat for Goldie. This heartwarming tale, suitable for children aged 4 to 8, beautifully encapsulates the spirit of community and shared traditions.

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One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway

Themes: Investments, Generosity and Global Citizenship

Recommended Reading Age: 3-11

One Hen, inspired by real-life events, narrates the journey of Kojo, a Ghanaian boy who leverages a small loan to establish a prosperous farm, creating employment for many. 

After his father’s death, Kojo had to leave school to help his mother in gathering firewood for sale. When his mother gets a loan from village families, she gives a bit to Kojo. With this modest loan, he buys a hen, which turns into a flock of hens over time. His earnings enable him to resume his education. Eventually, his farm expands to become the region’s largest.

Aiming to educate children about global issues and inspire them to be better global citizens, the book is recommended for children aged 3-11 years.

What Makes a Hero?: The Surprising Science of Selflessness by Elizabeth Svoboda

Themes: Heroism and Selflessness

Recommended Reading Age: 12-18

This engaging book delves into the biology and psychology behind our willingness to make sacrifices for others and would make a great read for teens and their parents. 

For the first time, researchers are scientifically exploring heroism. They’re trying to understand how biology, upbringing, and external influences combine to generate altruistic and heroic behavior, and how we can promote such behavior in various settings.

In What Makes a Hero?, the author utilizes numerous intriguing real-life examples to illustrate how our genes drive us to benefit others, how experiencing hardship can foster altruism, and how heroic acts can significantly boost mental health. She debunks the myth that heroes are born, not made, asserting that heroism is not just about biological predisposition. Instead, anyone can embrace their heroic potential with dedication and effort.

Practice the Art of Giving

The gift of reading together as a family is one that keeps on giving. It not only nurtures a love for literature but also instills critical values like empathy, understanding, and generosity. 

As you explore these books that emphasize the art of giving, consider practicing what they preach. There’s no better time than now to begin nurturing a spirit of generosity within your family. 

An excellent way to start could be by contributing to the Holiday Fund. Every donation, no matter the amount, will make a difference, echoing the teachings of these books and demonstrating the power of kindness and sharing in real-time. 

Elevate your journey of inspiring generosity with an additional 10 thought-provoking titles. Get them now when you download the ebook and continue the ripple effect of giving!

A Mother’s Dream Comes True: The Fresh Air Fund Sends Two Sisters to Camp

Janet, a mother of three beautiful daughters, wanted to give her children a break from the city and the chance to run and play freely. Her income was meager, but she remembered how much she loved going to camp as a child and wanted her daughters to experience the same thing. Two of her daughters were eligible for camp based on their ages and were eager to attend.

Thanks to the Fresh Air Fund, Niyea and Naziah were able to attend day camp for two weeks. They loved interacting with other campers and participating in various activities, including bike riding, swimming, and music. The bus ride to the camp site was also a highlight, as they got to see different farm animals and a pond along the way. They often included their younger sister in their stories about camp.

For Janet, it was a relief to see her daughters having fun and being able to enjoy nature without worrying about their surroundings. Thanks to the Fresh Air Fund, they had the chance to create lifetime memories.

You can help support children and families by contributing to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund today!

Original story taken from NJ.com

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