There's a buzz going around about a program called Giving Artfully Kids. Parents are getting excited to see that week after week; children are inspired to continue to help others and spread kindness. But what exactly is Giving Artfully Kids and why should you get involved?
Back in 2014, I had recently started a website connecting crafters with volunteer opportunities called Giving Artfully (www.givingartfully.com). A friend knew about my site and wondered if I could incorporate the concept of helping others through crafting as an after-school enrichment program for kids. Not having professional teaching experience, but being a parent of 3 kids, I thought I would give it a try.
However, I knew I wanted to do something more comprehensive. I did not just want kids to show up and craft an item for someone else. I wanted children to understand the social issue behind the group they were helping and why they were helping them. I wanted the children to be in the mindset of giving.
So, with the help of a dear friend, we launched our first Giving Artfully Kids program during the Fall of 2014. We piloted a 6-week, 1-hour afterschool program and it was a success. Children loved the projects, and we had some great insights on what we worked and what we could do better (i.e., trying to teach a class of 12 to sew in one-hour was not a good idea!)
Fast forward three years, and with programs continuing to grow in my community, I have had several requests of running my program outside of my geographic region. I knew I did not have the bandwidth to try to manage programs outside of my community. I knew I needed to count on others, who had the same passion as I do for teaching kids about helping others to, to start programs in their communities.
I need you to help spread the message about Giving Artfully Kids. It is a mission I believe can make a difference in this world. I know that we can create a more kind, compassionate and empathetic world, one child at a time.
5 Reasons for Becoming a Giving Artfully Kids Instructor
1) Be Part of a Movement Where Children Can Make a Difference
Each week, our instructors have the opportunity to inspire and encourage kids to help others and spread kindness. Being kind is essential to our society, and we can start instilling these values at a young age. Children are inherently compassionate, and we just need to help encourage and reinforce kind act.
One of our instructors, Suzanne, said it best, "Instilling the value of kindness at a young age is crucial to creating compassion and hope for our children’s future. I am honored to be an instructor on the Giving Artfully Kids team. Many students have told me that they LOVE coming to the Giving Artfully classes. They are enthusiastic about each project, excited to create, to learn, and—most importantly—to help others."
2) Consistent Fun & Meaningful Projects
One of the best advice I received when I started working with kids is that if you can make an experience fun, they will want to come back and try it again. Children love crafting, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem. However, the bigger question was can we still make crafting fun when we the project is going to be made to be given away?
The most heart-warming realization with our classes is the natural sense of generosity and compassion children have for helping others, especially when we put the project in the context of how their gifts would help others and make them feel. We saw how the conversation would shift from, "Can I keep this project" to "Can I make another one to help someone?". This change is attitude is a sign of success in our classes - kinds realizing they can make a difference in someone else's life.
3) Save Hours of Research & Planning
The internet is just an endless stream of information, so it is easy to spend hours trying to find the right project. From deciding on the organization to help to what materials to purchase, you can easily spend a couple of hours each week planning for just one project. Repeating this process week after week can easily deter you from wanting to continue. However, through our years of running Giving Artfully Kids classes, we have tested our projects. We have found the best places to purchase the materials, tips for each project, and the recipients of the crafts. Our goal is that our instructors can focus on teaching kids versus the time for research and planning.
4) A Job that Directly Makes and Impact
Having a part-time flexible job that is making an impact on my community - this is one of the reasons I love Giving Artfully Kids. I know that my business makes a difference and impacts the next generation of kids. I can earn some extra income for the family, all the while knowing I'm helping our community and beyond. I am also part of a movement that is so important to society - what would happen if we were all just a little kinder to one another? As said by Harold Kushner, "When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world."
5) Flexibility to teach at your convenience
An afterschool program, a weekend park district program, birthday parties, workshops at the library, Girl Scout project -- these are just a few examples of where you can implement a Giving Artfully Kids program. Once you join, you have the freedom and flexibility to decide who, when and where you would like to run the program. We have instructors that work with elementary kids, while others that started an inter-generational workshop at a senior center. The possibilities are endless, and that is the beauty of becoming an instructor.
If you are interested in learning more about Giving Artfully Kids, please feel free to contact me at GAKids@givingartfully.com, or you can set up a 15-minute phone.
call with us at bit.ly/2y204y8.
Don't forget to check out our Resource Library of Kindness Activities!