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By: Shirley Velásquez
Though parents should encourage their kids to get involved in charity work throughout the year, there’s no better time than the holidays to start. According to psychologist Melissa Lopez, a licensed clinical social worker, that’s when “lots of organizations are asking for help.”
Giving back can be fun, creative and easily incorporated into family traditions. Lopez suggests two ideas. Have your child choose one of their gifts and donate it to a shelter. Or, choose an organization based in your family’s native country and create a coin jar with a photo of the flag. Discuss why the charity was picked and make a special date to donate the full amount.
The point is to empower your child, regardless of age, with the knowledge that some people’s lives are difficult, and that they can do something to make things a little easier. Says Lopez: “The more that parents encourage giving back, the more the message sinks in.”
is an editor and writer at ELLE magazine. She has contributed to Woman’s Day, Glamour, InStyle, Latina, The New York Sun, and Border-line Personalities, an anthology of essays written by Latina writers. She is a frequent contributor to Las Fabulosas.