Hope Center program helps children learn about giving

By: 
Steve Chapman

Izabelle Woods, 9, holds up a picture of an angel that she is going to color.
(Photo by Steve Chapman)

Children giving to children to help brighten Christmas
 
The Hope Center in Mt. Vernon is hosting a program designed to help children learn about the importance of giving.
In the program, called Teach the Children to Give, a child colors the picture of an angel. After coloring the picture, the child can bring the angel back to the Hope Center and receive a small treat bag filled with candy, small toys and other items. The Hope Center will display the angel in their front window and also donate $1 towards next year’s Holiday Central, for which the child receives credit.
Tina Mulleady, director of the Hope Center, said she wants to help area children realize the importance of giving.
“I just try to encourage kids to remember that not everybody has what they need or want,” she said, “and I want them to realize that if they do something nice, it will give other kids a chance to have something nice, too. I believe in giving back.”
This is the second year the Hope Center has sponsored Teach the Children to Give; they started the program late in the holiday season last year, but still got 50 children to color angels. Mulleady said the program is popular with kids because they like the idea of helping others.
“The kids just loved it,” she said. “I make sure that when they come in, I say, ‘Hey, you’re going to be donating that dollar. We’re giving a dollar from
 you, to other children.’ And they like that idea. They seem to like the idea that they’re helping buy a toy for another child.”
Mulleady said children like to help others because they have a special capacity for caring.
“I think it’s that pure heart,” she said. “I think that most kids have a pure heart, and they like the idea of making somebody smile and making somebody happy.”

 This year, Mulleady said, children will be able to bring their angels in until New Year’s. After that, the Hope Center will send the monetary donation to Holiday Central, along with a letter listing the first names of all the children who colored angels. In addition to the dollar per picture the Hope Center is already donating, they will also donate an additional dollar to match the children’s giving, up to a limit which Mulleady said hasn’t been determined yet.
“We will take the money from this year and mail it to Holiday Central for next year,” she said. “We’ll match how much (the kids help give), and we’re taking each of the kids’ first names and their ages, and I’ve made a letter, so they will know it came from the kids.”
Mulleady said she hopes more children will color angels so the Hope Center can give more to Holiday Central.
“Hopefully we can help a lot more children, because it’s been such a bad year, and I don’t know if next year is going to be any better,” she said. “And we want to try and help as many people as we can get their Christmas, because there’s nothing worse than waking up to Christmas with nothing.”
 

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Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712
www.lawrencecountyrecord.com

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