Chores For More than Your Piggybank
Back in my day, I had to do a summers' worth of chores in order to buy my prized possession, the trophy of the playground- the GameBoy. Today, though, students in the Bronxville, NY school district are taking out the trash and cleaning their rooms for a different kind of reward: the knowledge that they are giving to kids who aren't as lucky as themselves. As reported in a recent New York Times article, elementary school students in this Westchester suburb are "taking part in a campaign called Chores Mean More to raise at least $2,800 for storybooks and writing supplies for the Red Rose School in Kibera, a disease-wracked slum in Nairobi, Kenya."
This philanthropic movement has a variety of positive aspects. On the most basic level, it gives much-needed resources to children in Kenya. But what's more, it provides connections between groups of people (in this case children, but also, I'm sure, their parents) who would normally not interact. These connections, especially when created from an early age, will do a great deal to create a generation of citizens who understand that the world is bigger than themselves. It will teach children that people who are different from them still have the same basic needs and desires as they do, a lesson that is often not taught in schools. It is this kind of direct communication that will lead to better communication, and more progressive policies, between countries in the future.
Finally, the Bronxville schools are teaching students that giving is important. Furthermore, they are teaching that giving is more important than getting a new toy or video game. Basically, philanthropy is being taught to a new generation, and philanthropy is being learned by young people who will hopefully continue this trend. Perhaps donors can start to focus on supporting, or even starting, alternative efforts like these that will teach values and also lead to monetary donations/volunteering efforts