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Jacq Tatleman is the founder of State Bags, for every State backpack sold a backpack loaded with essential tool for success is hand delivered to a kid in need. Beyond just giving products, they send child development specialists to lead motivational rallies that leave participating kids with a renewed spirit and belief in themselves.

I know as mamas there are millions of goals we struggle with daily when trying to raise happy, compassionate, kind, vibrant children. We try to give them all the things they need to be successful, but delicately straddle the line of giving them everything for the fear that we might raise… BRATS. At least this is something I struggle with in my home. “Oh, you don’t want to wear that dress, how about this one?” “Your crayons are broken – lets get more.” We all want to raise children who are self aware, but simultaneously conscious of how much they have or how little they truly long for. I try to tell my three year old daughter that there are loads of children living only steps away that don’t have the same privileges that you have in life – things that seem simple – to choose a different dress, to get a new set of crayons, to have a million bibs. Its obviously difficult for a three year old to understand such a complex idea… so we have chosen to do small things… small things with great love.

Now I know its not easy to take the time to volunteer – with the stress of work and the craziness of the day to day schedules, so here are ten relatively simple ways in which you and the little people you love can give back to the community you live in and the world around you.

  1. Never underestimate the power of random acts of kindness. One rainy Sunday my husband and I decided to bake some cookies with Ayla to pass the time. After they were finished and the rain stopped we left the house, cookies individually wrapped up, to hand them out to our neighbors. We wound up passing them out to people walking on the street by our home. Every single person took the cookie (obviously baked with clean hands), and gave Ayla a giant smile. It seemed the cookie lovers walked away with a pep to their step and Ayla felt incredible about it too. Something as simple as a freshly baked cookie on a rainy day made everyone feel good.
  2. Download the Charity Miles App and go for a family, walk, run, or bike ride; you can earn up to 25 cents per mile for non profits including Autism Speaks & Stand Up to Cancer. It’s also a fabulous way to encourage your child to be active – healthy body = healthy mind.
  3. Re-gift electronics and other household goods to a local fire house (call ahead), so first responders can make their living quarters feel more like home.
  4. Mail a letter of appreciation to a member of the military through A Million Thanks.
  5. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation – cultivate tiny entrepreneurship while giving back. A foundation started by the family of a four year old girl named Alex, who declared while battling neuroblastoma, a type of childhood cancer – that she wanted to “start a lemonade stand” to support doctors and hospitals dedicated to childhood cancer.
  6. Make small “works or art” to drop off at a senior center or shelter for woman and children.
  7. Create a blanket for Project Linus. This organization provides homemade security blankets to children in hospitals, shelters or wherever kids are in need of comfort. No sewing skills needed: The site has a no-sew pattern that you and your crew can do together. Head to a fabric store and have the kids pick a few they think other children would like.
  8. Donate your child’s birthday. In lieu of receiving a birthday party present your child can choose to ask their guests to donate to various organizations. Several companies have made this extremely easy for parents to sign up – charity water, STATE Bags (shameless plug), or simply visiting http://www.charitybirthday.com
  9. Follow The Lorax Project and plant a tree near your home or community. Trees are obviously essential to our environment and our planet. It’s super important to instill knowledge on the value of planting trees to our children. Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals, and let them know that one large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people. Wow!
  10. Spend donate save piggy bank – this is a lovely way to get your kids excited about earning money and choosing to donate back.

I truly believe just doing one of these ten ideas with your children makes them aware – these little brains absorb more than we can possibly understand. I also think this world needs to breed more love and compassionate people, so let’s all start them small.

“For these are all our children, we will all profit by or pay for what they become.”

–James Baldwin

To learn more about Jacq, check out State Bags, her Instagram, and her heymama profile

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