COLUMBUS, OH – In the spirit of giving, it’s evident that one is never too young to learn to care for others.
Research shows that children as young as three years old can exhibit empathy and compassion.
Recognizing this potential, one organization is dedicated to teaching children, even toddlers, the importance of volunteering and the incredible impact of a simple act of kindness.
Brandy Jemczura, a mother of three, had identified a need in her community.
“It was really difficult to find volunteer opportunities for young kids in the community. And I thought, you know what? We’re missing a huge opportunity here as a community to not engage our youngest generation.”
The realization helped create the nonprofit organization, Seeds of Caring.
Starting in Ohio with 285 children, the Seeds of Caring initiative has since flourished over eight years. Now, 26,000 children participate, contributing 10,000 sack lunches annually to shelters and food pantries.
Patrick and Aggie Barrington, along with other dedicated volunteers, assemble and distribute lunches.
“We see people that are struggling just to even find a meal,” Patrick Barrington said.
The younger children help create handmade bags used for packing.
The impact of Seeds of Caring reaches far beyond immediate acts of kindness.
“A three-year-old can do more than we would think they can. We are starting to grow their empathy muscles. We are teaching them from that youngest age that we’re all one big community and we all have a role to play in making it a better place,” Brandy Jemczura said.
Parents say they witness profound changes in their children.
“It has single-handedly changed the trajectory of who they are as humans and who they will become as adults,” Jemczura said.
For Brandy and the children involved, their message is simple yet powerful: “Kind is Cool.”
The Seeds of Caring organization relies on private donations, corporate support, and grants to fund its initiatives.
Jemczura says that even without a Seeds of Caring chapter in your neighborhood, you can begin teaching your child about the importance of volunteering.
This can start with age-appropriate books that introduce kids to community needs and progress to crafting at home for those in need. As your child grows, introduce them to various places such as nursing homes, animal shelters, and food pantries.
To learn more about Seeds of Caring, visit their webpage at seedsofcaring.org.