The Penny Harvest is all about connections, and the first one is students and their families connecting with their neighbors. See Kids Dream supports the Penny Harvest in Columbus through a partnership with its developers, Common Cents a not for profit agency based in New York. Common Cents has been successfully running the program for over 20 years and last year nearly 1,000 schools nationwide participated in the Penny Harvest program. The Penny Harvest shows young people they have the ability to make the world a better place. It introduces them to the power of philanthropy and service during their formative years. As children help others, they develop their generosity and moral character, and they learn through practice the skills and responsibilities of democratic participation.
Research conducted by Columbia University social scientists has shown that the students who participate in this program reap the following benefits:
- Increased self esteem
- An increased interest and effort toward academics
- Improved communication and leadership skills
- Improved decision making and problem solving
- A greater sense of responsibility to peers, adults and community
- Improved ability to work with others
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
- Harvest pennies door to door with your child, download a "Tip Sheet for a Family Harvest Together"
- Harvest pennies at your workplace to show your child that you support his/her efforts, download instructions on how to conduct a workplace harvest.
- Encourage your child to get involved with the roundtable at his/her school (January)
- Talk to your child about issues that are important to him/her
- Take your child on a community walk near your home. Then, talk to your child about the positive and negative things that you saw on your walk (for example, your child might notice trash on the ground). Talk about what your family can do to help.
- Share with your child about any volunteer or civic activities you do in the community. Are you active at your place of worship? Do you help your neighbors? Donate your time or money? Share with your child why these activities are important to you. If possible, involve your child in your activities.
- Talk to your child about how he/she might like to get more involved in the community.
- Tackle small service projects as a family. Just making a card for an elderly neighbor is a great way to begin service and philanthropy in your home.