I have supported The Pendsey Trust since November 2014 by sponsoring a child and fundraising in order to reach a wider group of young people who Pendsey work with. Recently, I was reflecting upon the experience when I realised that the benefits extend well beyond the children in India and into the philosophy of our family life in West Yorkshire.Fundraising can be defined as “planned activities to raise funds”, so far we have held a raffle, Oliver sold sweet cones and we are planning a fun day. Oliver, 8, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago, is encouraged to join in these activities. Why? Well, there are many reasons why I believe children should be involved in charitable work.
We live in a consumerist society and children need to learn that money isn’t everything in life. As a child’s sense of self develops, so do the demands for things they “need” and want. Children should be taught about giving and not just taking; fundraising provides the perfect opportunity to do this. As a parent, I want Oliver to learn that human welfare can be advanced through what we give, not by what we own.
Involving children in charitable work also provides the opportunity for a moral education; they learn that there are people less fortunate than themselves. Oliver knows that whilst he might be unlucky to have type 1, he is lucky to live in a country where insulin and other diabetes supplies are fully funded by the tax payer. He is learning to be responsible for these resources and to appreciate what he has. Oliver can empathise with others; he knows how ill he will become if he doesn’t manage his diabetes properly, he also knows that children in some countries do not have the resources they need to do so and that they must feel ill often. Through his involvement with charitable work, he knows that he can make a difference, that his small actions can make a very positive change to the lives of others. Seeing his actions bring about change is very empowering, this makes him feel good about himself and builds his self esteem.
On a day to day level, supporting Pendsey can also support a child’s academic skills. Oliver has looked at India on his globe and google earth, he has developed his maths skills by keeping track of the number work involved in his charitable efforts and his business skills by looking at profit/loss and marketing. Ability to work in a team is also developed and as a parent, it is an excellent bonding activity which provides the opportunity for me to become involved in his life. I hope that charitable work will contribute to him becoming a well rounded, considerate adult who can show compassion for others; and by starting young that giving will become a way of life for him.
How can the children you know get involved in fundraising and learn these valuable life lessons?