A Child Can Make a Difference
by Rachel Paxton
Sometimes dreams really can come true! May 8th - 11th, 2000,
my daughter and I traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Florida,
because of a dream of my daughter, Amanda to make a difference
in this world.
Amanda (then a 6th grader) entered McDonald's
Millennium Dreamer contest and told them about her contributions
to the humane society and her dream of making the world a better
place for animals. Amanda's dream is to help homeless pets find
homes, and she makes this dream a reality by writing a newsletter
and donating all her profits to the humane society.
Her entry won
her and a parent an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World to
meet with other Millennium Dreamers from all over the world.
2,000 kids were chosen in all--1,000 from the U.S., and 1,000
from 90 other countries.
The kids' accomplishments were
recognized in an awards ceremony where Christopher Reeves and the
CEO of McDonald's corporation were among the key note speakers.
Each congratulated the kids on all they have done and encouraged
them to continue their efforts, emphasizing the fact that their
contributions are the key to our future.
One of the most exciting
parts of the trip was trading pins with the kids from other
countries. Amanda came home with pins from Germany, South Africa,
Israel, Korea, U.K., and Indonesia, just to name a few. The kids
were given free passes to all the theme parks and treated to
firework shows, parties, and lots of other entertainment. It was
quite an event! Fun as well as inspirational.
So what does all this have to do with you? Your child, too, can
make a difference! The majority of the children who participated
in the Millennium Dreamers event were between the ages of 8- 12.
These kids each had one thing in common. They have a dream.
Everyone has dreams. It's just a matter of whether or not they're
ever acted upon. Most children have big dreams there's no way
they could materialize on their own.
This is where you come in.
And I don't mean step in and try to fulfill their dreams for
them. That would take up every minute of every day! Just be there
for your kids and listen to their dreams. Encourage them to reach
out to those around them and make a difference in the world. The
younger children learn this the better...selfless children turn
into selfless teenagers and then empowered adults.
children in the community keeps them out of trouble and teaches
them life-long skills in responsibility and how to work with
Children do not learn these skills on their own. When
your child asks you to donate food and toys to a local food drive
or charity, give willingly and help them spend some of their own
money or give away some of their own toys to help out. Most
children love being able to give what little they have to others.
One Millennium Dreamer was too young to ride in the local
bike-a-thon to raise money for charity, so he organized his own
neighborhood bike-a-thon for kids and has raised more than $4,000
to help fight cancer.
One girl was saddened to see foster kids
moving from house to house with their belongings in garbage bags. She started going to yard sales to find duffel bags for them to
carry their belongings in and now adds a stuffed animal and
personal note from her in each. A large corporation heard about
what she is doing and now donates all the duffel bags she can
Another boy was sad to see kids who couldn't afford
school supplies and started going around to office supply stores
asking for donations. Office Depot soon became his corporate
sponsor and now donates all the office supplies he needs.
Opportunities are out there wherever you look. See if your
community has an office that organizes volunteer efforts in your
area. The next time your child comes up with a great idea to make
a contribution to your community, give it a chance and help them
out. You'll be amazed at the gradual changes in your child as you
continually encourage these ideas.
Our children are tomorrow's
future. Help them help us make this world a better place to live!
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home
decorating, crafts, and frugal family fun, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.