Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Great Giving Tradition

Gratitude Day 16: A Great Giving Tradition

I'm grateful that many, many years ago, my parents started a great tradition that taught us to focus on caring and giving as part of our Christmas festivities. Every year, they'd help us learn about children around the world who were suffering and we'd choose a group of children we wanted to help. Then they helped us invite all our friends and neighbors to a "Children for Children" concert at our house. All of us kids would perform a little piano piece or do a dance or hold up a picture we'd painted or whatever. The audience (our parents and other friends and neighbors) would "pay" to come to the performance by putting a donation into a box. Then we kids would give all the money we'd "earned" to help the needy children we'd learned about.

I loved those Children for Children concert memories. I have great memories of helping to rearrange all the furniture and round up chairs from neighbors to accommodate a ridiculously large crowd in our not-so-big house. I loved the delicious refreshments. I loved having all my friends and their families there and seeing everyone share their talents. And I loved, loved, loved counting up that money in the donation box at the end and feeling so good that we could help those in need.

In the past few years, my sister Shawni and I have loved doing our own Children for Children concerts with our kids (and I'm sure more siblings will do the same when their kids get old enough). This year will be my family's 5th Annual Children for Children concert. And we're going to make it the biggest and best yet. We've been offered space at a beautiful old church just a block from our house so we can accommodate a great crowd and we're working to spread the word to everyone who might want to come. I'd love to have YOU and your family participate if your local - and if not, please forward the info along to those who are in the SLC/Bountiful/Odgen/Logan area, OK?

Here's the invitation I've been sending out - consider yourself invited and feel free to copy and paste this into an email to send to friends:

Dear friends:

Many of you have participated in the past or have heard about the Children for Children concerts my family does each year to help us all enjoy some meaningful giving alongside some fun and holiday cheer. We've got a date set for our 5th Annual Children for Children concert to benefit One Heart Bulgaria (I served a mission there and have personally worked with the destitute orphans there - one of my friends started this non-profit and all the money goes right towards meeting the kids' needs - it's a great organization that makes donations go a long way). The concert will be held on Monday, December 5th from 6:00-8:00pm. We've secured the use of a beautiful old church/community center a block away from our house here in downtown Ogden for the concert so we can make it an extra big concert this year. We'd love to have you join us!

Here's how the concert works: Children share their talents (I use the word "talent" liberally - we've had everything from poetry recitations to dances to piano pieces to songs sung to chime-playing to holding up a painting they've done) and grown-ups come to watch, "paying" the kids for the concert by putting a donation in the amount of their choice into the donation box (we've received everything from quarters to a check for $1000). The kids then donate the money they've "earned" to help needy orphans in Bulgaria get the food and access to health care and extracurricular activities that they desperately need. We show a brief video of the orphans who'll be benefiting as part of the concert and end with refreshments.

To read about past concerts, you can click on the links below:

Please email me (saren at powerofmoms dot com) by Thanksgiving (or right now if you can!) to let me know:
1. Whether you can most likely attend the Children for Children concert on December 5th. (You don't need to have children participating to attend - in fact we hope a lot of extra people will come an enjoy the kids' performances and support the cause.)
2. Whether your children would like to be on the program (each family can do one-two things totaling no more than 3 minutes per family)
3. Whether your children would like to be part of the simple no-rehearsals-required Nativity play at the close of the program (I have the costumes. Kids can do this in addition to an individual or family talent or they can just participate in the Nativity if they'd prefer to just do the Nativity)

Ashton, my 11-year-old, will be putting all responses into a spreadsheet and confirming details as we move forward. I'm trying to have my kids take this concert from here so it can truly be a "children for children" concert!

Thanks for considering this as part of your holiday festivities for this year! And feel free to forward this email along to those who you think would be interested and whose emails I don't have.


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