Youth Philanthropy

The moment my eight year old son, Shasta Tangri, heard about the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, unprompted, he said, “We’ll have to make more buttons!”

Kathy and Shasta

Shasta and me displaying the pins he created in support of Japan

In 2010 when the earthquake devastated Haiti, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers, Spencer and Jacob Dwyer.  Following 9-11 they decided to sell buttons to raise money to help the people of New York following the devastation created by the planes flown into the twin towers.  Their campaign was picked up by by friends, family, work colleagues and random strangers they met as they promoted their cause.   They raised about $1,500.00, were written about in the paper and were on television news.  Shasta knew about it because he had seen the newsclip often.  It inspired him and, of his own accord, he wanted to do the same thing for Haiti.  He sent the money he raised through to the Red Cross, his contribution was doubled by the government and he raised over $2200.

Now, he has a goal of $1,000 for Japan (he will also contribute through the Red Cross) and while it is early days I suspect he will surpass his goal pretty quickly.  He’s almost half way there after only a few days.  He is enthusiastic, unabashedly advocating for his project.  This well spoken youngster has no problem specifying his request of a minimum contribution of $2.00 and, of course, many give more including at least three people who have each given him $100.00  (I was one).

It is wondrous to see how many people respond warmly to the request made so beautifully and simply from a young man working from his heart having been touched by a tragedy affecting people half way around the world who he has never met.  It warms my heart.  Of course, I will do anything to support him in the unfolding of this path, as long it as it is one he chooses willingly and of his own accord.

A good friend of his has offered to help.  The Dartmouth Players Theatre, where he is in a theatre class through Upstage Studios,  has offered to let him have a table at their event this Monday so he can sell buttons.  His school is allowing him to sell buttons to children and teachers.  Tomorrow we will be knocking on neighbours’ doors.

As this has been unfolding in my home, I have had the opportunity this week to meet Stefanie Shute and Blair Ryan, founders of the Empathy Factory, a cool new initiative providing the opportunity for children to act on their innate generosity, developing ideas they feel passionate about so they can act on their desire to make the world a better place.

This work and these actions in my home and my community and further afield in the world continue to inspire my own deep sense of hope and optimism that we can consciously shift the shape of the world in beautiful and profound ways.  Shasta is already doing that for himself and for so many others at the same time.  What will you do to shift the shape of your world?

Shasta and me

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