Giving Families' Giving stories

These are our families & these are their stories.

 

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Boss Family

We started requesting donations instead of presents on our daughter's first birthday. We aren't rich, but she is a lucky kid and has plenty of food and a roof over her head. Simply getting more toys that she would forget about in a matter of days just didn't make sense to us - we wanted to do something more (wanting to "leave the world better than we found it"!). We have done this every year and I have to say the response has been amazing. People really seem to get into the spirit of it and I know it makes the kids feel good about themselves. We always do giving trees, etc. at Christmas, but by giving up the chance for birthday presents feels more of a connection with giving to others. We've been to a lot of other birthday parties where it's just a consumer free-for-all and our daughter doesn't seem to be envious or bitter - she truly is proud of her giving.We started requesting donations instead of presents on our daughter's first birthday. We aren't rich, but she is a lucky kid and has plenty of food and a roof over her head. Simply getting more toys that she would forget about in a matter of days just didn't make sense to us - we wanted to do something more (wanting to "leave the world better than we found it"!). We have done this every year and I have to say the response has been amazing. People really seem to get into the spirit of it and I know it makes the kids feel good about themselves. We always do giving trees, etc. at Christmas, but by giving up the chance for birthday presents feels more of a connection with giving to others. We've been to a lot of other birthday parties where it's just a consumer free-for-all and our daughter doesn't seem to be envious or bitter - she truly is proud of her giving.

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Elliott Family

My girls watched an American Girl movie and read the books about Samantha.  Samantha works hard to support the orphanage with a clothing drive at Christmas.  My oldest daughter wanted to do the same beginning in 1st grade, but as I investigated the needs at Cincinnati "orphanages" I realized that traditional orphanages don't always exist in the age of foster care.  SO to keep our focus on young kids we decided to work with Cincinnati Children's Home (the Children's Home works hard to place kids in foster care over the holidays, but they do have dormitories and are a full service children's social service agency so it fit our bill).  The Children's Home had a library that always was in need of gently used books and new books - so that is what we did!  All three of my children sent home letters with their classmates to collect the books. We delivered them to the Children's Home every year just before Christmas.  One year we were lucky enough to arrive as the children were caroling through the campus buildings - it was really sweet to be able to listen to them and feel good about the book drive.  Every year we had over 100 books to donate and my kids would separate them into genres or styles (board books, chapter books, etc.) then wrap them in ribbons.  Sweet memories!

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Hauser Family

As a parent I struggle with how to teach my children about giving.  It is a difficult concept.  I have been able to give them a safe and secure world, so it is hard for them to understand that other’s in our world might have needs or be struggling on a day to day basis.  Every Christmas, I feel conflicted about giving gifts when my children don’t “need” anything.  What a beautiful gift if I can teach them to be compassionate and giving towards others.  When they look back on their childhood, they may not remember the toy they got for the Christmas of 2013, but they might remember how they helped others in need.

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Jacquemin Family

It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget that there is a whole world out there that is so different from ours in so many ways.  We believe this is one of the biggest challenges in raising our children; how to give them more of a world view when our busy lives can barely handle the 10 mile radius surrounding us where most of our lives are lived.  Two of our children joined our family from other parts of the world, so the plight of people in other places is very close to our hearts.  One small way that we have tried to encourage their thinking of others is through their birthdays.  Since they began school, each year for their birthday party, they select a charity that their guests may donate to, if they choose, instead of bringing a gift.  In this way, they learn about others in need and about the spirit of giving.  Our hope is that this metaphorical “stone” of giving that we throw into the “water” creates many ripples that extend out to others and increase awareness; not only about our chosen charity, but about giving in general.  This is something we believe is central to our family, and the world; giving for the sake of giving, and doing what we can to help others.  We heard this said once, “You need to contribute to the good of the community without expectation of reward.”  This is how we raise our family, a motto we truly believe in.  Community is your family, school, town, city, state, country, continent, and world; there are so many ways to contribute to any of them.

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Nowak Family 

While teaching Kindergarten for 12 years, I was deeply inspired by parents who encouraged their children to help others in need; some of my students donated their birthday presents to patients in our local children’s hospital while others operated lemonade stands to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research. In 2011, one family organized origami-folding parties at recess so they could send the paper doves to victims of Japan's tsunami as a sign of peace and hope! With children of our own now, my husband & I want to create meaningful & memorable family giving experiences too but, after TONS of searching, we struggled to find any resources that would help us. So, I decided to create Giving Families as a way of helping other families share moments of giving with their children too! We're excited you're here; WELCOME to Giving Families!

 

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Pauly Family

Our family has tried to give back for many years in lots of different ways. Our great grandparents were supportive of many of Cincinnati's first institutions like the Zoo, University of Cincinnati, and May Music Festival. The current generation gives what we can of our time, talent and treasure as we are inspired by the great efforts of many in our community. At home we talk about the problems of the world than try to find a way to solve them locally. One example-our Dad and our Daughter created Nooks for Ninos, a way to buy e-readers for the children at Ronald McDonald House. We've bought about 10 thus far and they are very popular with the children. Think of ways you can help others in unique ways. Giving Families is a terrific place to come up with ideas to support nonprofits and provide solutions.

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Schmidt Family 

My daughter's birthday is on December 24th, so she is inundated with gifts at that time.  Not that we are able to ward off the materialism of the season in this one act, but asking the children attending her party to bring toys to be donated to the children staying at the Ronald McDonald House was an attempt to have her think beyond her own experience and good fortune.  After we gathered the gifts, we set up a time to deliver them and received an informational tour; this was a crucial part of making the donation “real” to her...she felt so extremely proud of herself.  Over the summer, I took the kids to visit a homeless shelter that I worked at the summer before I started graduate school.  It is a shelter in St. Louis, MO in which the workers stay with the guests.  It is called “Karen House”- A Catholic Worker House (although there are no Catholics working there now).  My son took it all in stride, but my daughter was uncharacteristically shy.  To my embarrassment, when asked to sit and talk, she replied “No, thank you.  I’ll stand”.  We talked briefly about the house and the people there and let it go.  Months later, in school she wrote her “Lifetime Goals” and one of them was to “work at the Karen House”. 

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