Back in October I reported that the YMCA was accepting nominations for its Youth Matters Awards, which would be presented on December the 5th. Well, I’m pleased to announce that their Young Volunteer of the Year Award was eventually won by 20-year-old Jemma Masterson, from Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, who beat five other candidates shortlisted for the honour. Jemma started helping out at Worcester YMCA as part of a university course she is doing in youth and community development.
This month was particularly special for Jemma’s family – days before she received the award her grandmother Madge Field also received public recognition, when she was presented by Leverstock Green Village Association with the Fred Buglass Award for her contribution to the community. Madge, who is an 87-year-old silver surfer (she uses Facebook to keep in touch with Jemma at university, a goddaughter in Egypt and a godson in Exeter), organises a Monday afternoon sewing group and arranges the church flower rota in Leverstock Green, where she has lived since her childhood.
And one thing leads to another: researching that story has brought to light yet another youth award – the Fred Buglass Youth Award. I now plan to cover that tomorrow. So, make sure you check out Generosity News on Friday!
Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the last fortnight you’ll be only too well aware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. You may also have seen the countless warnings about bogus charities that have sprung up in the wake of the disaster, claiming to be in aid of storm victims. But many genuine non-profits have also been set up over the last week or so, and one that caught my eye today was the brainwave of an 11-year-old girl, in New Jersey.
Photo credit: Jon Bradley, Philly Post
Lucy Walkowiak, who – according to her father – already does a lot of community service through her school, has opened a temporary Internet café outside her home (in one of the few areas still with power), to allow people to keep up-to-date on the news and contact friends and families, as well as charging their phones and other devices. In return, she asks for a small donation towards the relief work that the Red Cross is carrying out in affected parts of the USA.
Photo credit: Jon Bradley, Philly Post
Opening from 7.30am to 10pm the café has apparently attracted a lot of grateful users, and has already raised over $100, thanks to Lucy’s and others’ generosity. What an enterprising young lady she is… yet another young philanthropist to add to our rapidly growing list!
For more on this story, see the following video:
Today is Make A Difference Day in several parts of the world, including here in the UK. This is the UK’s biggest day of volunteering, and provides opportunities for thousands of people around the country. The special theme this year is using our skills, and whether these involve computing, gardening, photography, accountancy or other professional activities, we are being encouraged to put them to good use helping others. On last year’s UK Make A Difference Day there were over 2,400 events, and 70,000 people participated: the organisers hope to beat that, this year.
I don’t know about you… but I will certainly be doing my bit to Make A Difference to kids lives, today. It’s that time again, when we – the Trustees of the Chreda Foundation – meet to plan how to “Inspire the Next Generation” to good works. This will be a particularly important meeting, as we are now starting to seriously plan the award scheme that we have been hinting at, for quite a while. So today’s blog is necessarily very short. But I couldn’t let the occasion pass without a brief mention.
Why not check out the official event website now – http://www.csv.org.uk/campaigns/csv-make-difference-day – and see what you can do to be a part of this great celebration of volunteering!
The world of philanthropy, charity and altruism is constantly coming up with surprises. On this website recently we reported a number of comparisons between different groups in respect of their generosity and compassion, and we have just published a report highlighting philanthropic tendencies among today’s young people, in stark contrast to the stereotypes that regularly appear in the media. We are continuing to collect similar stories of young philanthropists, and will be using this to inform the Chreda Foundation’s plans for a future award. (Watch this space!)
The latest controversy is over two conflicting reports that have appeared, a few months apart, regarding the generosity of so-called ‘Millennials’ – people born during the 1980s and 1990s. In March this year the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published the results of a long-term study, conducted between 1966 and 2009, that suggested they were obsessed with accumulating riches and had little appetite for giving to others or much concern with politics or the environment, compared to previous generations at the same age. The tag ‘Generation Me’ was therefore felt to be more applicable to them than the commonly-used ‘Generation We’.
But now a new report produced jointly by Achieve, and Johnson, Grossnickle & Associates, following a survey involving more than six and a half thousand people between the ages of 20 and 35, and a number of focus groups, shows that a very high percentage of this age group donates and volunteers (around 75% and 63% respectively). What appears to have been lacking from the earlier study was an appreciation of the Millennials’ psychology in approaching the subject – most of them give in smaller amounts, and only when they have a real relationship with the charities concerned: they also tend to give more for emotional reasons, and unsurprisingly they prefer giving online, rather than face-to-face. Indeed, the majority say that they actually prefer to learn about non-profits from their websites, or social media and e-newsletters. This is encouraging news to those of us who spend a great deal of our time promoting charities online!
But perhaps the key lesson for charities from this study is that Millennials want to know exactly how their contributions will make a difference: they are prepared to do their homework, and the vast majority of them will investigate a non-profit thoroughly before committing their time or money. Crucially, the report says that “Millennials want to make it clear that they should not be taken for granted, and can play an important leadership role, even if they can’t commit a lot financially right now.” So, those of us who are involved in charitable activities shouldn’t be dismissing the potential of the young to create a better world – instead, we should be using this latest research as a timely reminder to keep our work fresh and relevant… and to make full use of the opportunities afforded by the Internet.
This year the Walt Disney Company’s Helping Kids Shine programme has given a record $1.5 million to non-profits in Central Florida, and today’s Orlando Sentinel reports that a major recipient was the charity Quest, which received a cheque for $55,000 and a Mouse statuette – the latter is in memory of the former Walt Disney World Vice-President, the late Bob Allen, who was especially noted for his generosity to the community.
Quest helps people of all ages with disabilities, but the programme receiving the grant money focuses specifically on young people: it aims to help children with autism develop computer skills. Many of them apparently find it less stressful to relate to computers than to people, and it is hoped that through the programme some will eventually be inspired to pursue related careers or further studies. This is felt to be increasingly vital as one in every 88 children are now affected to some degree by autism and ways need to be found of helping them develop towards productive adult lives.
Although Walt Disney himself began his company’s tradition of encouraging people to contribute positively to their communities, the Helping Kids Shine grants started in 2004. They recognise and support community efforts focusing on children and adults supporting them and helping them thrive as “healthy, productive, compassionate, and capable citizens, able to reach their highest potential”.
Other grant recipients this year have included the local Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, the Coalition for the Homeless, as well as many arts and education charities.
Applicants for grants are expected to:
- Strengthen a child’s character through healthy living habits, responsible behaviours, and compassion for others.
- Inspire, motivate, and lead children on a path to artistic discovery, new experiences, and exciting possibilities.
- Promote self-sufficiency by responding to critical social needs that impact children and families.
- Positively affect the destiny of (our) youngest citizens and those who support them, leading to a stronger community for all.