What is “cool” these days?

As parents of kids in elementary and middle school, we want to help our kids be cool – even though it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends.

Often, being cool is related to the latest technology gadget or toy, while sometimes it’s cool to have a special talent or knowledge about arcane subjects. While the next cool thing is pretty important for kids ages 8-14, parents still very much influence their children’s behaviors, beliefs and interests. We can help kids understand that giving back is cool.

According to Learning to Give, youth flourish when they participate in philanthropy, feeling a sense of ownership and pride, and also more connected to their communities.

How are you encouraging your teen or tween to be philanthropic? Share  your success in the comments below!

Ways to Nurture Generosity, Youth Philanthropy

For philanthropists who work with The San Diego Foundation and want to grow their children’s commitment to giving back, we recommend the following strategies to instill curiosity about how your actions can make a meaningful difference to your family and the world.

Encourage Awareness:

  • Be aware of current events. Watch the evening news together or read the local section of your daily metro newspaper online. Then, talk about what’s happening in your community.
  • Be immersed in your town. Spend time outside, and take public transportation to parks or beaches. Attend forums like The San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement events. Look, listen, discuss and learn.
  • After raising awareness, brainstorm with your child about a particular aspect of your community they want to help improve.

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Grow Their Passion:

  • Identify an organization or cause that aligns with your teen’s interest area. He or she can learn more about their interest area with online research or (with your permission) social media platforms like Twitter.
  • Visit your local library together, and learn more about your child’s interest area by checking out books, from the youth and adult sections.
  • Talk with your teen about what that makes them excited about giving back. Look for examples of other kids giving back (like 9-year-old Amara Kirkpatrick of San Marcos, who makes micro loans to women in Lebanon, Peru and Tajikistan through the nonprofit Kiva, or recent Foundation Future40 young philanthropist).

Engage in Philanthropy

Once your children are more focused on where they want to make a difference, it may be time to participate in youth philanthropy forums.

For example, the Building Tomorrow Together Conference will be hosted by the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation from July 7-9, 2016 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® in Anaheim, California. The event is targeted toward youth philanthropists and the adults who support them.

Another possibility is to link them with teen philanthropy programs such as SVP Teens, a program hosted by San Diego Social Venture Partners, or the Jewish Teen Foundation at San Diego’s Jewish Community Foundation.

The San Diego Foundation wants to ensure that giving back stays on the “cool list”, and we look forward to helping you guide your budding philanthropist, along with other young stewards of our community’s future.

How are you encouraging your child to be philanthropic? Help fellow San Diego parents out by sharing your efforts in the comments below!

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