With egotism at an all-time high, it often feels like we have lost touch with humanity. We crave and expect society to comfort our needs while complaining about poor WiFi service and low battery life. It is almost laughable how absurd our demands have become, and when you compare them against those who are truly struggling to survive each day, it makes you second-guess human behavior.
I am a firm believer that goodness comes from within, but how does it get there? How does a child learn to comprehend the effects of their actions without causing harm? Do we wait until they do something they may later regret or empower them with practical wisdom and compassion so they can BE the change we want for this world?
Kristen Stocks is a mother, Child Life Specialist and the brains behind Kids Boost in Atlanta. I first learned about Kristen during a live broadcast of The Bert Show’s Big Adventure: a nonprofit organization that provides a magical, all-expenses-paid, five-day journey to Walt Disney World® for children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families. She was speaking on behalf of one of the kids in her organization, Savanna, who had danced her way into raising $2090 for their cause. I was mesmerized by what this woman created and dropped what I was doing to listen to her story.
While working as a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), she met a young boy named Jared, who had undergone seven surgeries for a traumatic injury to his arm. He was six years old when it happened but knew, one day, he wanted to repay CHOA for saving his arm and nursing him back to health. At thirteen, he combined his passion for rock climbing with a desire to give back and asked friends and family to pledge a contribution to CHOA for each rock wall that he climbed. In total, he scaled one hundred walls, raised $2500 and became the inspiration behind Kids Boost.
When their work together ended, Kristen was so touched by Jared’s generosity that she wanted to take it to the next level. She wondered what the world would be like if every child had the opportunity to use their gifts and talents to do something positive. Soon after, her inquiry became the reality that is now Kids Boost.
Kids Boost meets with boys and girls, eight years old or older, to identify which activities excite them (i.e., sports, music, theater, etcetera). Once established, they take that genuine enthusiasm and wrap it into a lesson on philanthropy by giving the child $100 (donated to the Boost General Fund), a one-on-one coach, and the tools they will need to guide them along the way. Best of all, 20% of the total contributions they receive goes right back to Kids Boost to help another child get started on a charity of their own.
The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. They are sponges waiting to absorb whatever spills at their feet, so why not strengthen their confidence by teaching them about business, money management, and benevolence; it just seems like the right thing to do. As a mother of an eight-year-old girl, I am in love with the concept of Kids Boost. Though philanthropy is a component at my daughter’s school, it is not a required part of their curriculum—yet. Perhaps all they need is a Boost.
To find out more about Kids Boost and how you can get involved, visit them online.