Bringing Philanthropy to the Classroom
By Chaidan Leshinski
As a former teacher, I always wanted to teach my students more than just what came out of a textbook; what we had to teach them to do well on their state tests. I found myself spending hours each weekend trying to find local and national issues that I could speak about in the classroom and then after discussion offer my students teachable moments. During these teachable moments, I wanted to instill in my students how to be a good person. A person that was kind, charitable, giving, and who wanted to help others. Time and time again, I found that just speaking about being a good person was not merely enough. It wasn’t until I discovered that the act of doing something for someone else was when real understanding took place. In fact, I soon realized that the greatest tool I had in helping others was sitting right in front of me. My students.
By showing my students that they all had natural born talents that they could share with others allowed me to empower my students and help them make in difference in the lives of others. I learned that you cannot simply talk about the act of giving, you need to show children how they can be philanthropic with the tools that they already possess within themselves. When I learned this, I realized that through crafting projects, children could use their hands, their minds, and their heart to do just about anything they wanted for anyone in need.
Most recently, I became a mother and my husband and I decided that I would stay home with our daughter for the remainder of the school year. On a random Monday afternoon, I was talking to a dear friend of mine about this concept of children giving to others at a young age. As luck would have it, she told me that other teachers had expressed similar feelings with her. She shared with me that in response to several teachers’ comments, she decided to start a program called Giving Artfully Kids. The mission of Giving Artfully Kids is to support children in making a difference, as they become young philanthropists through giving. This idea of creating a foundation for children where they can share their gifts with others seemed like a remarkable idea. To help children explore various social issues and then foster an in-depth conversation was something that all children could benefit from. And then, empowering children by showing them how their talents and skills can help others was something that I had never seen before. Giving Artfully Kids is truly a groundbreaking program and one that is transforming how we can help our children make tomorrow better for others.
Click on the link below to start implementing kindness ideas in the classroom!