In our Raising World Changers series, we hope to equip parents with practical ways they can educate and empower their children to make a difference in the world…
Around the holidays, we are often reminded of how lucky we are. A perfect holiday evening might involve twinkling lights, festive music playing, a cup of cocoa in your hand, and a beautiful draping of snow on the ground. Many people are lucky to experience a serene holiday season like this, but this is not the case for everyone. Fortunately, the holidays often bring out the giving spirit in all of us; once we realize how fortunate we are, we also realize that we need to give back. Now is a great time to help refugees—those in your community or overseas. Here are five easy ways to get your whole family involved:
Throw a diaper party:
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably used a lot of diapers so you know how valuable they are. Imagine being stuck in a camp with nothing clean to put on your baby. A diaper party is an easy way to help refugee parents and get your family involved in the process. Call all of your friends, have them bring over the kids and some diapers, and you’ve just made a huge difference in a refugee’s life.
Get involved in your local refugee community:
Once every few months, my town has a get together for any refugees in our community; it’s a chance for the locals to get to know those who have just come to the community and a chance for our new residents to meet the locals. There’s food, friendship, and fun. This is a wonderful way to show refugees who are new to your community that they are welcome, as well as forge friendships that may last for years. Do some digging and find out if there’s a resettlement agency or non-profit near you.
Write a letter:
You can be the lifeline for a refugee family wanting to get involved in the community by writing a letter welcoming them to your community. Have each member of the family introduce themselves and describe their interests. If you have young children, they can even draw some pictures to make it more welcoming. You might send your letter to your local paper to help others see how vital it is to support their local refugee community.
See if your community has a local group that provides assistance to refugees. Many local agencies are always on the lookout for people who can help their cause. Maybe you are linguistically gifted and can translate. Perhaps you could teach someone to read and write in English. Get your family involved by volunteering to provide babysitting services for refugees who are taking citizenship classes or applying for a job. Whatever your skill set, there is a way for you to give back.
Encourage your children to make friends with any refugees who attend their school:
In my house, we ask our children four questions during supper: What was your favorite part of today? What was your least favorite part? Were you kind to someone today? Was someone kind to you today? The most powerful way to make the world a better place is teaching our children to treat everyone with kindness. Help them practice that quality by encouraging your children to make friends with any new students, especially students who are refugees. Chances are, there are refugee students in your community. We all know how difficult it can be trying something new; imagine being a refugee student in a new school, possibly speaking a new language. That sounds terrifying. What if your child could be the person to make school easier for that student?
Changing the world sounds like an impossible task. But if we all do something, we can change it together. If you only do one thing on this list, it’s something. You never know the impact that one kind action can have. As you’re sitting down by a cozy fire this holiday season, remember how fortunate you are and try to find one way to share that good fortune with someone in need.