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Newsletter: November 2014

Tips for Talking about Giving


– Henry Timms, executive director of the 92nd Street Y and founder of #GivingTuesday.

We couldn’t agree more, Mr Timms.

If you’re not familiar with #GivingTuesday, here’s the scoop: Each year, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year, December 2) is established as a “day of giving”—a day when we can all choose to counteract the cultural messages of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by focusing our efforts on doing good for others. Last year, we partnered with #Giving Tuesday to provide families with resources to help inspire acts of giving, and we’re proud to announce that we’ll be a part of the campaign again this year. Read about our campaign for 2014 here, and stay tuned for a whole smorgasbord of new ideas in the next two months on our website–all around the themes of giving and gratitude.

In the meantime, we offer some tips to help you have conversations with your family about giving:

“Kids will come to the issue of giving with different sensitivities and sensibilities,” says Dr. Anne Fishel, a founding member of The Family Dinner Project. “With most kids, it’s important to make a very personal connection to giving and explain that everyone—kids and grownups alike—need help from others.” Think of a close neighbor, friend or a relative who needs help in some way and what you might do as a family.

One good question to ask young children is “what is something you love that you’d like to share with someone else?” Questions for older kids and adults include “What is a strength or a gift you have that you can share with others?” or “Think about a time that someone did something nice for you? What was it and how did it make you feel?” Download all of our Conversation Starters about Giving.

Giving isn’t just about people in need. Strike up a conversation about people your family appreciates—like a teacher, a coach, a babysitter, or the friendly mail person. Then brainstorm ways you can surprise this person with a handwritten thank you card, homemade cookies, a gift card, or something else!

You can do this as a family, a couple, or individually, but the goal is to do it regularly and connect it to issues that matter to you. If you give your children an allowance, ask them to divide their allowance into three jars: spending, saving and giving. Again, help connect their choice of charity with something that is meaningful to them. An alternative to this idea is to start a “give” jar into which everyone contributes money or items for charity. Actually witnessing parents giving is a powerful motivator for children of all ages.



In the folk tale “Stone Soup,” a village full of hungry people enjoys a feast together, which is only possible because they learn to share what little they have. Our recipe for Stone Soup is designed to use whatever you’ve got on hand, and could also be a fun way to share a meal with friends – assign each person to bring whatever they have for the soup, and put it all together to see what you can make!



GAME: Guess Who?
Everyone thinks of a person, place or thing that needs help. On a piece of paper, write down 5 ways to help that person, place or thing. Have the rest of the table guess what person, place or thing you are by listing just those 5 ways of helping
(Click here to print a game sheet)


You can never have enough conversation starters about giving, right? Here are some of our favorites:

Age 2-7

Create your own giving superhero. What’s his or her name? What would your superhero do?

How do your friends or family help you?

Do you know someone who is a giving person? Who is it and what makes them so?


Age 8-13

Have you ever volunteered? What did you do? Did you enjoy it?

What are 3 things you could give to or do for a close friend that would make him or her happy?

‘To give is to receive.’ What does that quote mean to you? Do you think it’s true?


Age 14-100

Who is  (or was) the most generous person you know? How are they generous (this can be someone you know, or a famous person).

Are there lessons you have learned about giving that you could share with those younger than you?

Explore more conversation starters!