Being a stay-at-home mom to Chase, age 5, and Adriana age 9, I wanted to do something different with the kids during summer vacation. I am also a bulldog owner, and for over 20 years this one-of-a-kind breed has always given me so much love and pleasure. This GIVING theme is what drove my passion to compose a summer activity which I named “GIVING BACK”, a notion I wanted to pass on to my kids and their friends. This idea became a threefold plan.
First, my kids decided they wanted the project to evolve around “bulldog rescue”. Then they gathered up friends and neighbors and proposed their plan to them, which instantly received much support and enthusiasm. Everyone wanted to join and sign up with our “Bulldog Rescue GIVING BACK project”. Finally, they all got together for a group meeting to discuss and plan out the project details. The children brainstormed over lemonade and brownies and came to us with a viable plan. The next week, the children, ages 5 to 15, went out knocking on doors, collecting donations of blankets and towels as well as bottles for redemption. Then they researched and found a whole-food recipe and made over 400 organic bulldog doggy-treats, all to be donated to Southern California Bulldog Rescue.
The kids worked diligently over several days to package the treats and decorate the treat-bags with words of encouragement for the bulldogs in rescue, their foster families and caretakers. Finally, we set up a day for the group to present their gift to rescue, and we all met at Dr. Kraemer’s hospital…it was such a delightful day. The kids had so much fun visiting the rescued bulldogs, the SCBR team and Dr. Kraemer. All their hard work, the learning experience and working together all came together that day; such is the gratification of “GIVING BACK”.
My goal was to teach the children compassion for all living creatures and help foster a charitable heart within them. The children’s enthusiasm and commitment far exceeded my expectations. Kids nowadays are so often underestimated and thought to be self-absorbed, but as I found out, all you need to do is provide them with a “GIVING” cause, and an opportunity, and they will prove you wrong.
I firmly believe we can foster a servant’s heart and teach them how to express gratitude for what they have. A type of project like our “The Summer of Giving Back” can be contagious and hopefully inspire others to look inside themselves and think about what they can do to help others. No good deed is too small!
Ann Marie Corio