Children Who Inspire ~ The Charity Group

I had so much fun with my last “Children Who Inspire” interview that I’ve decided to make it a recurring feature on the blog. I find it fascinating and inspiring to see how many children there are out there who are taking an active interest in making the world a better place, and I think it’s important to share their stories. This growing group of young change agents give me hope for the future and more importantly, inpsire me to want to make a difference with my actions.

I was excited to have the opportunity to interview a Canadian duo who are doing their part to give back. Jasmine (10) & Grace (8) are the co-founders of a local club called, The Charity Group. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because I had previously featured The Charity Group in one of my early posts, so I was excited to get a chance to see what they were all about. Here are their answers to my questions, along with some commentary from one of the parents.

CD: What made you want to start “The Charity Group”?

Jasmine – I had been collecting funds or food for my birthday for several years (i.e. 7th birthday – money was collected for CHEO; 8th birthday – money collected for Japanese Earthquake Relief; 9th birthday – collected food for Kanata Food Bank) with some success. One day I asked my dad how to do more. He mentioned that there were groups of people that raised money for charities and that maybe a way to raise or do more. I thought this sounded like a good idea and began typing a letter to start my own Group. I asked Grace to help out and we went from there.

Grace – It sounded like a good idea. Helping the neighbourhood and community is fun.

CD: How did you get others to sign up?

We made a sign up sheet with some cool visuals. We went around to specific kids in the neighbourhood (aged 5 to 12; and they had to be able to walk to our houses). We asked these kids to join; Grace and Jasmine each memorized a specific portion of their recruitment speech. Most kids were eager to participate and the age range expanded as other neighbourhood kids asked to be involved. Parents were also asked/encouraged to join as support and to assist in harnessing the kids’ energy.

CD: What has been your favourite experience with it so far?

The Cancer Carnival of 2012, by far. It was fun, we raised the most money of all our events, there were lots of activities, we met new kids and we had fun hanging with the other Charity Group members.

CD: What is next for your group?

We are planning on building bird houses/feeders for the Wild Bird Centre.
We have a Christmas Show to be done at a local Senior’s home for this holiday season.
We are designing a Hallowe’en Safety Brochure – that will be on the blog; and handed out to the neighbourhood.

CD: What advice can your give to other kids who want to start a similar project in their school/neighbourhood?

For a neighbourhood group:
a. Find like-minded people to help out.
b. Go out to recruit from the neighbourhood and ask your target group if they want to join.
c. Be ready for kids/people to say “No”.
d. Start with small projects and local, which can be very visible and easy to do- like cleaning the park
e. As you get momentum with finishing your initial, smaller, local projects, you may begin to “Think Big”. At this time, you will need to involve parents as support and to assist in logistics.
f. Be mindful of the school year – it is easier to get together in the summer, because there are less activities being done by group members. During school time, sports, dance, music, tutoring, other lessons, tournaments, competitions, family time may take away from when meetings or events can be held. Not everyone may be able to do or go to everything.
g. Send out communication to the group regularly (i.e. minutes from last meeting; follow up from ideas discussed). Be sure to include parent emails to this communique.

CD: What are your long and/or short term goals with your philanthropy?

Short Term
Keep on using birthdays to raise awareness of charities or events
Do annual cleaning of the neighbourhood play areas
Explore how to interact with community more (hospital visits or senior home visits).
Explore technology – use of blog, Youtube, making a video.

Long Term (5-10 years)
The girls were quite struck about what they may be doing when they were 16-19 years old! They both began thinking of jobs and or school.
The Charity Group may still be going – the hope is that younger kids would be continuing the torch – maybe two portions, an older and a younger group membership?
Exploring other options of doing more things outside of the Charity Group – like volunteering at a shelter.
Using work experience to spread the word – doing something with part-time work?
Continue to be involved with the neighbourhood, but looking to expand impact.

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I want to say a huge thank you to the girls for taking the time to answer all my questions and want them to know that I am inspired by what they are doing. My hope in putting this feature together is that it will inspire others to get their kids involved in making their community a better place to live. Great work, girls!!

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