It seems as if, more and more, the kids of today are distracted. Social media, hand-held gadgets, sensory overload in the form of fast food, loud music, movies and television shows, the selfie culture, and other distractions can occupy most of their time and leave little room for compassionate work…like volunteering for a cause.
The good news is that there are practical ways to get young people involved in relevant causes without taking away the fun and enjoyment they would normally have in social gatherings. Enter cause-oriented gatherings, a new party trend that is big on both enjoyment and helping others in need. In form, they are like the usual birthday parties kids love to attend, but with a twist. Instead of giving the celebrant gifts and providing food and drinks to guests, there are beneficiaries who will receive them. These beneficiaries can be a certain group, a charitable organization, or victims of calamities like typhoons and earthquakes.
Bringing the party to the beneficiaries
Favorite fast-food franchises like Jollibee can accommodate on-site parties, similar to the Christmas celebrations for Gota de Leche’s beneficiaries and sponsors. Food, drinks, entertainment, and dancing mascots heighten the party mood and give beneficiaries an unforgettable treat while teaching more privileged kids the values of compassion and sharing.
Donations in lieu of gifts
Instead of showering a celebrant with gifts, an invitation can indicate that donations in cash or kind can go to a chosen charitable institution or beneficiaries. As an alternative, the budget for a party can be redirected to these beneficiaries who need them more.
Organizations like Stop Hunger Now hold meal-packing events that help institutions like Gota de Leche feed hundreds of malnourished beneficiaries in Manila and other parts of the country. Half a day’s session can mean several months’ worth of meal packs, so consider having your teenage kids participate in such an event.
A creative twist to a kiddie birthday party would be to plant seedlings in the garden of an orphanage, a feeding center, or other institutions that can benefit from the shade, fruit, or vegetables these seedlings will eventually provide. You can plant the same number of seedlings as your child’s age, and make it a yearly tradition. It will help instill in your child a love for the environment, as well as hard work and selflessness.