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Kids follow parents' lead in charity giving

November 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
During this time of giving thanks it may be a good time to instill the giving spirit into your kids. Children usually follow their parents' lead when it comes to helping others.Kennedy Jet Kulish always keeps an eye on little brother Kaeden. She remembers his battle with heart problems at a young age.

"I was looking at all the other kids, and I was like, 'Mommy, I want to start helping other kids,'" said Kennedy.

So she called friends and held bake sales and charity auctions. Her Kisses for Kaeden group donates cash each year to hospitals.

"Since I was 6 years old, I've have raised over $94,000, I think," said Kennedy.

Halloween never ends at the Shapiro home. Emma Shapiro, 12, decided some old costumes could go to kids who couldn't afford new ones.

"I told my mom about the idea, and she kind of challenged me to think of an idea of how I could help these kids," said Emma.

The Shapiros founded The Halloween Helpers. With Emma running the collection drive, they hauled in more than 2,000 costumes.

"Emma actually is a pretty altruistic kid," said Llyse Shapiro, Emma's mother. "This isn't the first idea that she's come with that's had that kind of bent."

Heather Gee with the Philadelphia Foundation says parents have to plant the philanthropy seed.

"Make it a dinner conversation. Ask questions. What would you do with a million dollars? What would you do? What do you want to change in the world?" said Gee.

Start by encouraging your kids' passion, and doing so at a young age. Involve their friends, and the whole family, too. Studies show nine out of 10 youngsters who volunteer have family that does the same.

"It doesn't matter how big or tall you are. It doesn't matter who you are. You can help, no matter what you do," said Kennedy Kulish.

And those benefits last a lifetime. While parental involvement is key to this kind of growth, it's also possible to stunt that growth.

Studies show if you don't volunteer, there's a 60 percent chance your child won't either.


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