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Parents set the example for children’s giving spirit

Heifer International, families we help, depend on youth’s ingenious generosity

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Dec. 01, 2011) – When it comes to children’s ingenuity to raise money for a cared-about cause, nothing is off limits. At Heifer International, children are among our most generous givers. A scan of news stories proves that—a kiss for a cow, lemonade for a llama, car washes for water buffalo, read-a-thons for rabbits.

Every nickel, every dollar raised helps change a life. Every pledge helps feed a child, provides a family income, pays for school fees, ensures medical care and safer housing. It’s the purest form of giving—raising money for something for which they expect nothing back. It’s moving and it’s meaningful.

It’s been said that a child will lead them, and children’s gifts have helped lead millions of families from the desolation of poverty and hunger to a secure, self-reliant future. But it was the parents who first instilled generosity in these children by sharing their own appreciation for the benefits of giving.

Studies show that parental behavior has a greater impact upon a child’s behavior than religion, politics, race, household income or any of the many measured factors that affect people’s giving. For children, actions and words both matter—hearing their parents talk about the importance of giving, then seeing them give is a powerful future influencer.

There are formal ways to teach children about the power of giving. Read to Feed, for example, is a Heifer International program that allows children to secure pledges to buy animals or shares of animals for every book they read. And there are the informal ways—volunteering together, collecting clothing or toys to donate. Children mimic what they see.

Transferring your values to them through giving mirrors Heifer’s Passing on the Gift cornerstone, where a family that receives an animal and training agrees to pass on the first-born female offspring of that animal and training in its care to another family in need. Through this, families that were hungry and poor become givers, teaching others the power and promise of sharing and caring.

Heifer International’s model is a true circle of giving. The parent teaches the child to share their time, talent and treasure, which the child does, raising money for a cow, a goat, a flock or chicks or even honeybees. Then that gift helps a family, which gives a gift to a family, which gives a gift … the circle expands and more families break free from despair and hopelessness.

Giving stems from the heart, but it begins in the home.

Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.  For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 1-800-696-1918.

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