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Pediatric Health

Kids Helping Kids

Teaching the Value of Helping Others

December 01, 2009
This time of year can be plagued with "I want" sentiments from kids as they have pictures of the latest "must haves" dancing in their heads.

One of the best ways to combat the "give me's" is to give children opportunities to focus on others, particularly other children. It's helpful for them to see that other children may not be as fortunate, or may be experiencing difficult circumstances.

"It's so good to teach the value of philanthropy and giving at a young age," says Molly Giles, annual giving coordinator with the St.Vincent Foundation. "When children take part in giving activities, they learn early on that one person reaching out and giving back can make a difference."

Over the past year, Giles has worked with many children's groups to raise money or collect in-kind donations to benefit children who are being treated at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. Groups include Girl Scout troops, Cub Scout dens, sports teams, schools and more.

Using talents to raise funds

This past summer, for example, the Westfield High School boys' soccer team raised $9,000 when they hosted a charity tournament event with a few other high school teams. They aren't the only student athletes getting in on the action, though. At Heritage Christian School, the girls' basketball team recently collected donations for the St.Vincent Foundation.

"The sky's the limit on the types of fundraisers that can be held," Giles shares. "We encourage groups to use their passions and talents to engage people in their various communities. That may be a soccer team, your Girl Scout troop or your school community."

Dancers with Stage I Dance Academy engaged those in their dance community to raise funds for the St.Vincent Foundation. Proceeds from a special dance performance were donated to the foundation's Children's Fund to purchase equipment, toys or other specialty items for Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent.

If groups are short on ideas, the foundation sponsors a few events for children's groups of all sizes and ages. Every October, the foundation hosts Trick or Treat for Kids Off Their Feet—one of its most popular fundraising events. Kids collect coloring books, CDs, books and other items to give to young patients at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent. This year, about 20 different groups participated in the "spook-tacular" event.

Groups also can take part in Prayer Paths. Held inside or outside any time of the year and at a location convenient for your group, Prayer Paths give children the opportunity to pray for a patient and collect pledges at the same time while they walk a designated path.

Making a difficult time easier

Although there are opportunities year-round for kids to get involved with the foundation, Giles says the month of December provides a special opportunity to provide support. "The holiday season is often a hard time of the year to be in the hospital, particularly for children," she explains.

Giles says groups offer to do a variety of activities during the holidays, including collecting donations for gifts, bringing in arts and crafts projects, giving choir performances and holding holiday parties.

Finally, while many children's groups around the state support the St.Vincent Foundation, the power of one is often as meaningful and memorable.

"We've received very generous donations spurred on by just one child wanting to help others. Some kids collect books, or donate their birthday gifts to the hospital. It's inspiring for a child to see the tremendous impact just one person can make in the lives of others."

If you want to learn more about how your children's group can benefit the foundation and, ultimately, the children being cared for at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St.Vincent, contact Molly Giles at 317.338.7193 or mmgiles@stvincent.org.

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