Lessons from School: How to Use a Photo to Discover Service

When you’re a Philanthroparent, you see potential for service around every corner, and sometimes it is hard to choose which social issue to focus on. Instead of choosing philanthropy activities for your family every time, try seeing the social issues we’re surrounded by on a daily basis through your child’s eyes…. or through their viewfinder!

DSC_0379This lesson (written for a service-learning organization that helps teachers integrate service into their curriculum) can also be utilized by parents, as well. Offer your child a chance to be a budding photo journalist. Hand over your camera, smartphone, or tablet. Let them document their surroundings. As you look back on what they’ve captured, there’s a good chance you’ll find a multitude of social issues in your immediate community, and this can drive a service idea. (more…)

Celebrate World Oceans Day, June 8th

Beach Heart - Version 2World Oceans Day takes place every year on June 8th, and my daughter and I are celebrating for the first time this year by making a plastic fish collage! You might also consider celebrating if … 1) You have been to the ocean or the beach and enjoyed it. 2) You have taken your child out on the ocean or to the beach and they enjoyed it. 3) You plan on taking your child out on the ocean or to the beach because your family will probably enjoy it.

Needless to say, our oceans and beaches are likely to become a lasting memory for your child. So, as a Philanthroparent, you might want to consider helping them find ways to appreciate these memories. And since you’re raising a socially and environmentally conscious kid, you might also realize that you need to introduce them to the fact that humanity’s actions are impacting our oceans in a multitude of ways.

Even if you don’t live in or near a coastal community, there are still ways to get involved. The World Oceans Day website has a multitude of ideas for honoring our oceans. You’ll discover surprising (and sometimes alarming) facts that can motivate your family into action. You can take a “Selfie for the Sea”, browse their project ideas, or take a pledge to do something to reduce your impact on our oceans. (more…)

Book Drives: Kid Tested, Philanthroparent Approved

This past weekend marked the first hands-on service activity I’ve participated in since parenthood. For years I’ve wanted to take part in Big Sunday Weekend- a compilation of community service activities orchestrated over one weekend in May. Even though I’d have a toddler in tow, I was determined to make it happen.  I couldn’t be certain how effective I would be if I brought my daughter, yet I was ready to start volunteer experiences alongside her. I scanned the event listings, and discovered a Book Drive for a local Los Angeles organization, BookEnds … This could work. Armed with plenty of reading material and my carrier, we set out to sort donated books that would reach needy schools, youth centers, literacy programs and educational organizations.

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Philanthroparent: A New Word for the Oxford English Dictionary

Even though it is not officially entered into the Oxford English Dictionary yet, selfie became the OxfordDictionaries.com 2013 International Word of the Year. It was chosen in part because its usage increased 17,000% between November 2012 and November 2013. Other Word of the Year winners in the 21st century within the UK or US: credit crunch, carbon footprint, locavore. New words that explode into use capture some of the trends and changes afoot in society. Why not help capture a new trend- parenting with a purpose- by adding two new words to popular culture?

Actually, anyone can propose a word for submission into the Oxford English Dictionary. To be considered, OED explains that the word typically has to be found within print by a published source and be “used with the expectation of being understood” – a word that people have a common understanding for that doesn’t require an explanation each time it is used.

I’d like to propose  two new words worthy of being included in future editions of the Oxford English Dictionary: #philanthroparent and #famanthropy. They signify a new era of socially conscious parenting. It starts with publishing them here. Use them. Introduce them to others. Let’s get this new parenting trend started!

Philanthroparent, n. : 1. A parent dedicated to exploring social consciousness with their family through philanthropy and service opportunities in the local and global community.  2. A parent reframing their family life towards more volunteer opportunities to raise community-minded global citizens.

Famanthropy, n. : The practice of family philanthropy, where family members collectively use their interests and talents to serve and better their community.