Houston Children Give Back: Kids Volunteer Group


Editor's Note:  ParentsPost is a proud partner of Houston Children GIve Back. The non-profit organization's mission is to "build charitable hearts by helping children learn about their world, appreciate the needs of others, and create positive change." It's being launched by a dynamic group of Houston moms: Anika Jackon, Dena Piano Winkler, Keryth Hauch, Traci Bauer Ayer, Lorena Guilanshah, Candace Thomas, Andi Danenberg Haddox and Megan Pastor.   

The following interview is with Anika Jackson, President of Houston Children Give Back.   


ParentsPost:  Why have you created Houston Children Give Back? Why is it needed?
 

ANIKA JACKSON:  A group of Houston moms launched Houston Children Give Back because we saw an opportunity to empower children in our community and help them grow "charitable hearts." Our vision is to partner with the Houston community and charitable organizations to create hands-on learning opportunities for elementary aged and children as young as three – to teach them to get involved and make a difference. We want our children to grow up with a sense of gratitude for their lives, an understanding that they lead privileged lives compared to most of the world, and an ingrained desire to volunteer and become philanthropists of the future.

 

ParentsPost:  What types of activities will HCGB offer to teach kids about charity and gratitude?  

ANIKA JACKSON:  We will offer not only fundraisers and hands on voluntarism, but also additional educational opportunities and a curriculum guideline that families can use, either as supplemental to our events, or as an at home "course" for those families who cannot attend. The basic curriculum, available through our website, will be developed for each topic and activities and events will be folded into it as we continue to develop and decide on focus issues for each year. 

 

ParentsPost: Tell us about the activities and lessons available at a Houston Children Give Back event.

ANIKA JACKSON:  At our first event for the topic of Clean Water, we partnered with charity: water to raise funds to build a well. At the event, children and their parents will get to "water walk" and experience a small taste of walking with Jerry Cans, which children and women in Africa carry for miles and hours to get water that is not even clean. We will have craft stations, dances and music from countries where clean water is a big issue. We will also have an example of a basic sand filtration system, such as is used in Cambodia to clean water.  The children will walk away with information about each country and a story about the children who live there and what their lives would be like. 

 
CLICK HERE for more information about HOUSTON CHILDREN GIVE BACK and CHARITY: WATER
 

ParentsPost:  What are some issues you plan to explore?

ANIKA JACKSON:  A future topic will be Food Insecurity. Activities may include working with local organizations to sort food or make meals, learning about the issue on a global scale through an organization such as Heifer International, and touring a local organic farm, grocery store and restaurant. We plan to offer a variety of events so that children of many ages can participate. We will be taking suggestions but plan to partner with many organizations. It is important that our children see how they are citizens of the world and that an issue in our community may affect someone in a community across the globe. The organizations will be dependent upon the focus issue we are tackling. 

 

ParentsPost:  For families that can only contribute service, and not monetary donations, how can their kids join?

ANIKA JACKSON:  Their children can utilize the website as well as participate in volunteer activities. We will have events that require RSVPs as well as recommended activities which families can execute on their own. In the future we hope to create a classroom curriculum that takes this a step further and which can be integrated into school's service activities and programs.

 

ParentsPost:  How do you envision Houston Children Give Back growing and evolving? 

ANIKA JACKSON:  One hundred percent of ticket sales or funds for a particular event will go to our partner charities. We will be raising funds for HCGB to implement our vision through board member contributions, corporate sponsors, and a series of events aimed at the grown-ups including Nonoo Trunk Show at Julie Rhodes Home & Fashion, a February event at Kendra Scott, a March event at Esperson Gallery, and many more down the line. The fantastic thing is that our model will be easily duplicated in other cities. In fact we have interest from Chicago, La Jolla and Los Angeles families in starting branches in their areas. With a look towards the future, we will be launching Children Give Back with a "brand bible" that gives other cities the tools they need to successfully start a chapter.

  





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