What Kids Get From Giving

You may have heard of outreach – giving to help those in need. But have you ever heard of in-reach? Coined by former school principal and founder of SchoolAid, Sean Gordon, in-reach describes the benefit you get from being involved in outreach; of doing something for someone else.

SchoolAid is a schools-based philanthropic network that empowers kids to help other kids in crisis. Founded 11 years ago, SchoolAid has raised more than $4.5 million in various appeals including the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, the Queensland floods, the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, and the recent Typhoon Haiyan. More than 4,000 Australian schools have contributed to this significant fundraising effort.

I was lucky enough to meet Sean in mid-2013, when he addressed MSP Photography’s annual national conference in Hobart.

Sean tells of volunteering with the local fire brigade and State Emergency Service (SES) rescue squad, attending the scene of horrific accidents, including the Thredbo landslide.

“I was leading my SES team when we found (landslide survivor) Stuart Diver,” Sean told.

“His resilience and ability to hang on made me think about hope. I’m a parent and an educator and I wondered how do we get kids to be hopeful – where does that come from? How can I do something with my students to help create a sense that they live in the lucky country?

“Then I thought, ‘What if the 10,000 schools in Australia combined together and did something? If those 10,000 schools could raise $100 each, that’s $1,000,000 towards a good cause’.”

He described how children innately want to give, and how he established SchoolAid to not only allow kids to contribute to something greater than their individual school could achieve, but also show them how their funds were used and how that made a difference to kids in need.

“Without that, it’s just a coin in a box,” he said.

“My aim for SchoolAid is to assist parents, teachers and principals by providing practical and meaningful ways for kids to really live the values of care and compassion so they can develop a lifelong sense of contribution and active citizenship.”

If Sean Gordon gets his way, the positive impact this has on the children who give, and to society in general, will be felt long into the future. Such is the power of in-reach.

MSP Photography is proud to partner with SchoolAid. You can read more here.

Tips for Encouraging Philanthropy in Your Child:

  1. Let them choose – talk to your children about different charities and let them choose where your family donation should go.
  2. Match their contribution – if your child wishes to contribute to a fundraiser with their own money, offer to match it.
  3. Encourage giving – along with teaching children how to save, also encourage them to donate. A good way to do this is to separate their pocket money into three piggy banks – one for spending, one for saving and one for giving.
  4. Talk to them about the news – kids will often see confronting images on the news and not know how to process what they see. By asking how those images made them feel, you will help them come to terms with the world around them. Donating money, goods or sending a message of hope to those affected by a natural disaster, for example, might help them feel better about what they’ve seen.
  5. Visit the SchoolAid website – there are lots of ways kids can be empowered to help other kids in crisis and the SchoolAid website is a great starting point. There are many resources on the site for kids, parents and teachers alike.