If your grandchildren are school age or older, you might find it increasingly difficult to share quality time and experiences with them. They have busy school and extra-curricular schedules; they have friends to hang out with and a million other activities that keep your time with them to a minimum.
And, you may fear that the close relationship you once had with them as babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers is getting lost in the shuffle. Add to that your own schedule and responsibilities and perhaps a slowing down of energy and…
What to do?
How about considering a special project specifically designed and planned with your grandchild? While there are many choices for sponsorships and aid abroad, some of them are directly aimed at easing the lives of children in third world countries.
Most young people can be energized when asked to participate in an altruistic project. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Your grandchildren will enjoy helping to choose which agency to help, how to become involved and the process of either raising funds or giving of their own money. They may even enlist other friends to help. They may teach you how to do a crowdfunding project.
And besides doing some good for those less fortunate, you’ll be spending quality time with your grandchild as you dream, research, and decide on a plan. It can be a small project with a specific beginning and ending, or it can be a long-term commitment to an agency and the good work they do. Some children enjoy finding a pen-pal through one of these agencies, and thanks to wonderful internet connections they can track the gifts given and see the good results.
This wonderful organization, founded in 2008 by Karen Osborn is based in Malawi, Africa. It is dedicated to improving the life of poor children through active and creative play. Kusewera means “to play” in Malawi. The daily lives of poor children, especially those in orphanages, are often devoid of fun and healthy activity. Kusewera has developed a community center which provides sports clinics and guided activities in dance, music and art. As of 2014 they are branching out into the Philippines. In the process of teaching healthy play activities they also teach life skills such as leadership, discipline, goal-setting, perseverance and team participation. Visit the website to see the scope of this work.
Ways to help:
Plan a volunteer trip in which you would help conduct activities with local children.
Raise funds or donate gently-used sports equipment or gather music and arts and crafts items.
Gather new and gently-used shoes for local children.
Donate to the school book program.
Check out the new pen-pal program or participate in the middle school or high school club program.
Pearl S. Buck International www.pearlsbuck.org
This organization was founded by the board of the Pearl S. Buck foundation. Their goal is to foster exploration and appreciation of other cultures around the world and to foster better lives for children. The center is based at the original family home of Pearl Buck in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. Programs include ways to enrich the education, health and well-being of the children. This organization works in Korea, China, The Philippines, Taiwan, Viet Nam and the U.S.
Ways to help:
Raise funds for a special project such as the restoration and renovation of an elementary school in Thailand or the Filipino Nutrition project.
Sponsor a child. Children living in single family homes, orphans, or those in ethnic minority groups are selected for sponsorship programs. You will be the child’s only sponsor and can exchange pictures and letters over the years.
Take part in a language immersion trip planned and overseen by Pearl S. Buck International.
Visit a summer culture camp.
Join a high school leadership program.
Palestine Relief Fund www.pcrf.net
The Palestine Relief Fund (PCRF) is a non-political, non-profit, organization dedicated to healing the wounds of war, occupation and poverty. It works with adults and children in the Middle East and treats them regardless of race, nationality, religion or gender. They have both medical and humanitarian aid projects ongoing.
How to help: Since most of this organization’s work is done by volunteer medical professionals, the best way to help is to raise funds for a specific project.
Raise funds for:
children’s summer camps
sponsor a child
The organization is currently working on special projects in Gaza and Syria.
Be assured that when you take on a project such as supporting one of the above agencies or another like it, both you and your grandchildren’s lives will be forever changed.