In a time when messages about community, hope and compassion are lost to news about COVID-19, politics and social unrest, how can parents instill
GIVING KIDS A “HELPEN” HAND
National Program Works with Nonprofits to Turn Today’s Kids into a Generation of Helpers
In a time when messages about community, hope and compassion are lost to news about COVID-19, politics and social unrest, how can parents instill the values in their kids they are not seeing in the media? A new program called Helpen is looking to fill that void. Created during the pandemic, it’s a revolutionary method that bridges families to worthy nonprofits through dinner conversation, voice-assisted learning and life skills designed to shape kids into the generation of helpers. Realizing children are in their most crucial development period between ages 5-12, Helpen uses that time frame to expose kids to examples of charity, community and selflessness. The result, said founder Craig Sanders, is that kids will learn empathy, accountability, decision-making and how compassion and giving benefits the world.
“Helpen is a charitable platform designed to empower kids to give, understand how they’re helping and have families connect with meaningful conversation, right at the dinner table,” said Sanders. “In such a formative time in their lives, showing kids the power of generosity is an important part of them developing into responsible, aware and selfless individuals. Helpen is about providing a fun and easy giving experience that will help shape the next generation into the empathetic and generous leaders of tomorrow.”
The concept is simple: Every week, Helpen sends postcards to families listing pre-screened, child-appropriate nonprofits. Used mostly during dinnertime, kids pick a charity they want to learn about and support with a $1 donation. Parents enter donations using a special QR code on the cards and then activate Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to share a customized message about their chosen cause and how far their $1 contribution can go. Included in the voice experience are real-life examples of what their donation can help accomplish, whether it’s feeding a horse, giving PPE, providing lifesaving medications or delivering colorful bed sheets to pediatric oncology patients.
Parents are already impressed with the new program.
“We did our first Helpen session last night and it was a hit,” said Hillary, a mother of two whose family recently subscribed to Helpen. “My 7-year-old’s eyes lit up when he realized he was helping provide coloring books for sick kids. This is going to be a fabulous journey of teaching empathy and giving.”
“Letting children see how their choice made the world a little better is a valuable lesson they might not otherwise receive,” said Sanders. “This kind of activity builds character, empathy and a desire to contribute.”
Helpen also shows kids the immediacy of their decision-making — how just a $1 donation, when combined with others, can lead to big change.