Action Group for Kids

Encourage your kids to form action groups in their school, scouting troop, religious education program, or neighborhood. Help your child create a group just like John Holland McCowan’s mother did when thought up Kids Cheering Kids. Support your kids turning their visions into actions. Sit down together and see how you can help her begin. Write up a plan, then get started. Children are capable of launching national movements. Maybe your child will be one of them.

Need some ideas for projects?
Visit these great sites for tons of ideas:

Do Something
Fabulous website with a mission “to inspire young people to believe that change is possible.” They train, fund and mobilize kids K-12 to be leaders. For activities specifically for younger kids, go to:

Kids Cheering Kids
Children and young adults, 5 and up reaching out to enrich the lives of children less fortunate. Founded by 4 year-old John Holland-McCowan

Kids Can Make A Difference
Kids in middle school and high school ending hunger and poverty; click on "What Kids Can Do." Addresses root causes of hunger and poverty; shows kids their role in helping.

Kids Can Free the Children -
Founded by 12 year-old Craig Kielburger. Shows kids how they can help children in need around the world.

TeenHoopla Activism Page
For teens who really want to make a difference. Shows what they can do and has superb links to organizations.

America’s Second Harvest
Collects and distributes food to hungry people. See how the whole family can get involved.

Habitat for Humanity
Visit this site and see how your family can help rehabilitate houses for low income families. Create a miracle.

Want to volunteer but don’t know how? This website has tons of information on volunteer work and provides an online database where you’ll find opportunities by zip code, category, and date.

Another site that will help you find a place to volunteer. There’s a database of service roles. Click on "resources" to find information for kids under 18 who want to volunteer.

My Hero
This inspiring site introduces you to people of all ages who’ve made a difference in the world, their communities, and the lives of others.

Project Linus
Provides homemade blankets and afghans to children all over the world who are ill, traumatized, or in need.

The Giraffe Project
Features stories of people who have “stuck their necks out” for the common good.

Camp Haze
Helps children who lost a parent or loved on September 11th. Provides a network of peers and a specially trained staff -- certified teachers, therapists, and experienced counselors. Provides support to parents also.

Comfort Quilts
Find out how your child’s school, scouting troup or organization can create quilts to give to children in need of comfort.

Find out how to help children around the world. Many opportunities on this website.

Books for Parents on Making a Difference

Lewis, Barbara A., The Kids Guide to Social Action. Minneappolis, MN: Free Spirit, 1991.
Activities you can guide your children to do to help their communities.

Cousins, Norman. Human Options. NY: Norton, 1981.
Thoughts from one of the world’s great thinkers on war, peace, and personal responsibility. My bible.

Farnham, Suzanne G. and Gill, Joseph. Listening Hearts : Discerning Call in Community. Morehouse, 1991.
Asks us to listen to our hearts so that we may discover what our calling is how we can remain faithful and accountable to our purpose.

Muller, Wayne. Legacy of the Heart: the Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
Lessons learned and won the hard way. Teaches people to find “a place of grace” in th pain they’ve experienced.

Helmstedder, Shad. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself. NY: Pocketbooks, 1982.
The definitive book on using affirmations to self-actualize and find your purpose.

Kushner, Harold S. Living a Life That Matters. NY: Knopf, 2001.
Insightful book shows how we each have the capacity to make a positive difference in the world and in other people’s lives.

Wallace, Aubrey. Green Means: Living Gently on the Planet, 1994.
Highlights people who have worked hard to help the environment against big odds; “Ordinary people with extraordinary commitment can make sweeping change for the long-term benefit of the earth and its residents.”

Wiesel, Elie and Hefner, Richard D.: Conversations With Elie Wiesel. NY: Schocken, 2001.
Wisdom and insight on compassion, tolerance, personal responsibility and more. from one of the greatest men of our times.

Wolpe, David. Teaching Your Childen About God. NY: Henry Holt, 1993.
Sensitive guide for parents about the nature of God and spirituality.

Books for Kids on Making a Difference

Coles, Robert: The Story of Ruby Bridges. NY: Scholastic, 1995. The true story of the little girl who was the first black student in her segregated school. (Grades K-3)

Cooney, Robert and Michalowski, Helen. The Power of the People: Active Non-violence in the United States. Peace Press, 1979
Documents the struggle by peace leaders against war, and their impact on history.
(Grades 7 - 12)

Crowell, Thomas Y. Rosa Parks. 1973
The story the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement -- her courage, conviction, and the difference she made. (Grades K- 4)

Lewis, Barbara A. What Do You Stand For? Free Spirit Press, 1997
Real children challenge the reader to build traits such as empathy, citizenship, leadership and respect. Focuses on volunteering. (Grades 3-6)

Lewis, Barbara A. The Kid's Guide to Service Projects. Free Spirit Publishing, 1995.
Helps older children develop service actvities and carry them out. (Grades 5-7)

Meltzer, Milton. Ain't Gonna Study War No More. NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985
“Theories, thoughts, and actions of generations of heroes who bravely rejected all violence, or participation in wars they considered unjust.” (Grades 7-12)

McKissack, Patricia. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Man to Remember. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1984.
King’s story of leading the fight against racism and his efforts to bring, tolerance, dignity, and understanding to this fight. (Grades 4-6)

Peavy, Linda and Smith, Ursula. Dreams Into Deeds: Nine Women Who Dared. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1985
Nine courageous women who made a difference from 1880-1930, including Jane Addams, Marian Anderson and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. (grades 7-12)

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