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The mad rush to buy holiday gifts has begun. We have been getting bombarded with emails and commercials about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Stop. Take a mindful deep breath. There is more to the holiday season than shopping, spending, and stressing. Why not gather your family together for some holiday volunteer opportunities?
What Is Giving Tuesday?
This special day is focused on giving. Giving Tuesday is a global day for sending charitable donations to organizations of your choice. This social media campaign was initiated in 2012 by the cultural center 92nd Street Y in New York City in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Tens of thousands of nonprofits, businesses, civic organizations, and individuals from nearly 100 countries come together to make real change happen in their communities and around the world.
Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since it began, Giving Tuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.
It is so wonderful that this day has been created to highlight the importance of charitable donations for organizations supporting those in need. Giving Tuesday is responsible for increasing online donations by 470 percent!
How To Celebrate With Family Volunteer Opportunities
As parents, we can use this opportunity to teach our children about the importance of giving and helping others. Here are some ways your family can celebrate Giving Tuesday:
- Explain what it means to be compassionate. Teach your children about compassion by reading Wee Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes.
- Discuss how they can help. Find a few minutes during the ride home from school or at dinner to ask your children who they would like to help. Provide some options like babies, animals, people without homes, children who do not have families, students who need books, or the elderly. Brainstorm some places where you can send a donation. Check out these resources for charity ideas. Let them send the actual donation online so that they can experience the act of giving firsthand.
- Teach your children how to balance giving with receiving. Review these lessons with your children, especially as you prepare for the holiday season.
- Talk about the importance of charitable giving. Enjoy reading Fred Rogers’ The Giving Box together. Then create or purchase your own giving box for each child. Ask them to set goals about how much they would like to give next year and who they want to help. Check in weekly or monthly throughout the year to see how close they are to reaching their goal.
- Make your own giving box. Here are some great ideas for making your own charitable collection box that your kids will love.
- Commit to volunteer work throughout the year. This is a wonderful opportunity to also decide where your family can volunteer together. Learn how to choose the best volunteer activities for your family.
Featured Charities 2018
This is the fourth year that I have published a post about Giving Tuesday. Last year I added a new feature to highlight some of my favorite charities that I hope you will consider supporting. This year I am shining the spotlight on organizations focused on gun safety.
- March For Our Lives: Created by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida after the devastating shooting at their school, this organization strives to ensure that what happened at their school never happens again. The Parkland students, along with young leaders of all backgrounds from across the country, demand direct action to combat this epidemic such as pushing for gun violence research funding, universal background checks, a high-capacity magazine ban, funding intervention programs, and safer storage.
- Everytown For Gun Safety: Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities in every town in America. They work hard for common-sense steps that will save lives. Their issues include domestic violence, gun trafficking, background checks, and responsible gun ownership.
- Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence: As the oldest gun control organizations in the country, the Brady Campaign was founded in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns by an armed robbery victim named Mark Borinsky. It was renamed the Brady Campaign in 2001 in honor of Jim Brady, the White House press secretary who was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt made on President Ronald Reagan. The Brady Campaign advocates for policy but also for the government to enforce various laws already on its books.
- The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence: This group seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement, and effective policy advocacy. Drafting, passing, and implementing evidence-based legislation is their number one priority.
- Giffords: This organization is committed to tackling our national gun violence epidemic through shifting the American culture, changing policy, and challenging injustice. They have a non-profit arm that mobilizes lawmakers and the constituents they represent—gun owners and non–gun owners—in support of safer gun laws; a Political Action Committee that supports elected officials who step up to fight the gun violence epidemic; and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence that works to research, write, defend, and enact the laws, policies, and programs proven to reduce gun violence and save lives.
Another amazing program that I have to share with you is that TOMS has committed to giving $5 million to organizations across the country that are addressing gun violence. So now you can buy some amazing shoes that not only come in vegan options and for every pair you purchase a pair will be sent to a child in need, but now your dollars will also go to fight gun violence. TOMS sure do make the perfect holiday gift this season! Buy TOMS now.
How will you support Giving Tuesday as a family?