We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” When I stop to think about this tried and true sentiment, what strikes me is that kids—and not just adults—are part of that “village.” Yet kids often get little credit for their role as integral members of (and contributors to) our communities. We tend to think of ourselves helping them—less so the other way around.
In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered some pretty amazing kids—a 10-year-old playing the guitar and singing a song he wrote about recycling; a 7-year-old raising money for Special Olympics by participating in the Polar Bear Plunge (and swimming in frigid water!); a 5-year-old leaving Port Discovery Children’s Museum announcing, “I wanna donate—I love this place, and I wanna donate!”; and a teenager who found my wallet in a Wegmans’ shopping cart, and had the courtesy to hand-deliver it to my house!
The beauty of these kids’ contributions is that they’re all different. Some tap into their individual talents and interests, while others reveal a deep desire to help people in need. All of them reflect a zest for getting out there and shaping their own communities into great places to live, learn, and play.
United Way has a wonderful approach to giving back. They identify three main ways of contributing—through your talents, your time, and your money. All are equally valid, and very much needed in the world today.
In Curiosityville, we’ve integrated a number of ways to help teach the youngest members of our society—3 to 8 year olds—the value of giving back. As kids play online in Curiosityville, they earn awards in the form of apples. Instead of spending apples on themselves, they donate them to one of three organizations: the Ultimate Block Party, a movement to bring quality play experiences to kids; DonorsChoice, an organization helping public school teachers fund classroom projects; and the Association of Children’s Museums, supporting children’s museums nationwide. Our awards model is unique—and something we’re very proud of in Curiosityville.
Right now, kids’ top pick for apple donations is the Association of Children’s Museums, pulling in 2,102 apples. As one Curiosityville player told me recently, “I’m giving my apples to the museums because I love going there with Nana and Grandaddy. I also love helping out!”
This child’s enthusiasm for giving back reflects something true and important—that giving back is not just good for the receiver but also for the giver’s soul. I’m reminded of a quote by the remarkable pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, who has helped so many people in his life: “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Our plans for our awards system are a work in progress. But we do know this: at the end of the year, each apple donation will translate into a monetary donation made by Curiosityville to the organization of your child’s choice. So as your children play and donate apples in Curiosityville, please know that their contributions make a real difference.
Another way your children can give back is by playing and learning with our new character, Jack the Policeman, launching soon in Curiosityville with a police station full of activities. Jack comes from a long line of public servants, and his favorite saying is, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” In addition to helping kids build essential skills, Jack’s games and activities will encourage them to reach out and lend a hand in new and imaginative ways. Your kids can start getting to know Jack by visiting his Good Neighbor Club, live now and featuring a new activity each month.
Just like your own community, Curiosityville is a village in which kids play a vital part. We hope our apple awards system takes off and proves successful in teaching kids that their actions do indeed matter. Please tell us: what do you think of our awards system? Do you have ideas for making it better? Your feedback—and that of your kids—will help us shape Curiosityville into the dynamic, collaborative village we envision. We welcome any and all ideas!
To submit feedback and ideas, please click Comments below. Thank you!