Thousands of charities and their volunteers rise up and speak out against social injustices. Issues regarding youth and family often go unnoticed but are statistically likely to impact someone in each of our lives. Problems of and responses to youth and family come in many varieties and we delve into several here.
The Charity Charge team met with Adrienne Longenecker, the Director of Development and Marketing for Thinkery to understand more about how the children’s museum tackles injustices in Austin, Texas. Their facility offers children from all backgrounds a chance to collaborate, inquire, build, and be inspired. With rotating hands-on activities, visiting youth are joyfully enlightened while being nearly oblivious to the fundamental lessons they simultaneously soak up. Adrienne said the mission of Thinkery is, “To create innovative learning experiences that equip and inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers.” These words come to life when youth look in microscopes, paint on glass, manipulate water currents, mix food and science, and so much more!
The ultimate gift from Thinkery to its community is called the Open Door Initiative. Adrienne told us that Thinkery is open to every child and family “regardless of any financial barriers.” This initiative runs on one million dollars of annual donations from individuals, corporations, fundraisers, and admission fees. The National Center for Children in Poverty found that about 40% of children in the United States are part of low-income families. The Open Door Initiative creates opportunities for exploring and creating that these children and families could otherwise not access.
There are numerous other organization that help children and families thrive in spite of situations of abuse, neglect, divorce, substance abuse, natural disasters, and more. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has a vision of success for all children and their stories of success are never ending! Their tactful development of a mentorship between a struggling adolescent ‘Little’ and a volunteer adult ‘Big’ allow each child to defy the odds during hardships in their personal and school lives. There is no denying the impact that Bigs have on their Littles! In-house research at BBBS discovered that children who participate in the program for 18 months (opposed to those who did not) were 52% less likely to skip school 37% less likely to skip a class. Bigs take Littles to enjoy normal everyday activities like watching sports, eating out, or going to the movies. They know however, that the Littles’ success has less to do with the activities they enjoy and more to do with the caring adult figure in their lives.
Save the Children also does an outstanding job of transforming youth and family lives and impacts over 120 different countries. As the charity stated, donations they receive are used for “helping vulnerable children where the need is greatest with whatever they need the most.” This organization has programs specific to HIV/AIDS, education, hunger, disaster relief, and child protection. Each cause has a corresponding committees that address the needs of children and families through classes, and financial and resource support.
At Charity Charge we see how supporting children and families is imperative for creating a future generation of thinkers and doers. We find that organizations like Thinkery, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Save the Children, and many more are doing the most they can do to make positive impressions on this young generation. We celebrate the words of Nelson Mandela who said that, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” We foresee that a generation of youth that receives respect and support can lead to a brighter future for us all.