Charitable Children

How you can inspire your little ones to get

involved and give back

Philanthropy is not reserved for adults and the wealthy. Many parents call us with a desire to begin instilling empathy and other positive characteristics in their children, but wonder how and when to start. Early experiences make lasting impressions, so involving children in giving back as soon as they can complete volunteer tasks or earn allowances is a great time to start. We’ve put together some ideas other families have adopted to expose their children to philanthropic opportunities.

Model Giving Back

The first way to help instill philanthropic values in your children is by modeling the behavior you’d like them to follow one day. Discussing causes you are passionate about, charitable giving, attending events and volunteering all reinforce the concept that philanthropy is part of your everyday family life. If these things are not part of your day to day, it’s not too late to start. Begin the conversation. Start by discussing what causes are meaningful to you and how you might decide to get involved.


Volunteering can be an excellent initial experience in giving back. It can be fun, eye-opening, and easily introduces the concept that it is better to give than to receive. Sharing this experience as a family solidi es a lasting impression and a positive memory. St. Joseph Diner is open 364 days a year and has three (3) different shifts every day to pick from. We allow children of almost any age to come and volunteer with their families to prepare meals, serve on the buffet line, eat with the Diner patrons, or organize the pantry. You can view all our open shifts by visiting

Donating a birthday or holiday

Several families have started donating their birthdays or holidays like Christmas and Easter to our programs. Instead of gifts families ask for people to either donate monetarily or through a supply drive for those in need. On our website there’s an easy and fun way to do this all online - you can check it out there: It even gives your family a way to share your story, your reason for supporting the cause. For example, just this past Christmas a child asked for Santa to bring them a donation for our women’s and children’s shelter, New Life Center, and Santa did.

Chores for charity

Once children reach the age to complete chores, This is a good time to begin teach them to give, save, and spend. Some families do this by creating different jars and dividing the allowance by a specific amount or percentage each month. With their “give” money, children can donate it to a charity of their choice or purchase in-kind supplies to be donated to a charity. We have had a few families purchase new socks and underwear for our men’s housing programs and utensils and plates for our rehousing efforts.

Be impact driven

As your child gets older, encourage them to stay engaged in the organization’s work and progress. Have conversations about how the organization is making a difference for the people it serves and the greater community. This also helps your children to uncover why they personally want to be charitable and to remain focused on the bigger picture which is supporting the programs and services that make a measurable impact.

Casey HollierComment