It takes a village

By Sue Tiffin

Published Nov. 27 2018

The announcement that 100 Kids Who Care a giving circle for children will launch in Haliburton County is an exciting one for the groups and organizations who will be impacted by the kids’ collective philanthropy and for our community as a whole.

It means that charity organizations will have the chance to help local youth understand the work they do here and potentially be chosen for a pooled donation as voted on by the group of kids and teens involved.

100 Kids Who Care will make a difference to county organizations but it will make the greatest difference to those 100 kids.

Each participant will be asked to bring $10 to donate to the chosen charity. While some kids might bring the allowance money they’ve saved from doing chores in their own home others might need to do odd jobs or errands to earn the money doing good in their neighbourhood to raise money they then donate back into the community.

They’ll be responsible for leading the meetings – operating the registration table hosting the event and learning how to mediate plan and organize as a result. This group of kids students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will be able to hear the impact of volunteerism firsthand from giving people throughout the county and gain a better understanding of the importance of grassroots agencies in helping the most vulnerable in our community. They’ll be inspired by people who have stepped up to help where there were gaps learning the importance of compassion thinking outside the box and community building. They’ll be encouraged to offer not just money in the giving circle but 100 minutes of their time to helping their neighbours. Perhaps most importantly they’ll be able to understand the value of working together and the contribution an individual can make alone and also when joining together with others.

A few years ago after a busy event that was well-attended by a broad range of people a community member remarked on the turnout especially noting there were so many kids in the area they hadn’t seen before. We are known as a retirement community but we can encourage more truly community events by acknowledging that families are often travelling outside of the county seeking recreation and entertainment when they feel it is not available here and that we can possibly do better to promote togetherness.

How do we do this? Organize a kid-based station or activity at your event so children can join alongside their peers or their parents. When planning events allow kids free entrance or offer a “pay by donation” option to ensure that ticket prices don’t deter families from being able to participate in theatre concerts or community dinners. If offering food have a healthy option on-hand for families who avoid sugar or have allergies. When possible add a matinee or family-friendly show to your schedule so younger kids can attend and caregivers can enjoy the show while also relaxing in a safe space where their kids can move or make noise during performances. Use accessible spaces so strollers can be used with ease and ensure water stations are easy-to-find and change tables are available in every public washroom. Support parents who might need a helping hand by offering a shuttle to the event or a convenient private place to breastfeed. Find ways for kids and teens to volunteer at your organization or event or offer incentives for grandparents to bring grandchildren out to make memories together and bridge generation gaps.

The kids are alright and we need to encourage their learning and experiences in this community by giving them opportunities to be engaged alongside us. Their involvement truly benefits us all.