Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Bach Family: Raising Young Philanthropists:

Nine year-old Henry Bach (who participates in our After-School Enrichment Program at P.S. 30 along with his sister Madelyn) pledged $100 to NYCID at our Annual Benefit this past June.  We were so impressed with both Henry and his sister Madelyn's generosity that we asked them, and their father Ken, to share their stories with us.


How old are you & what grade are you in?  I'm nine and I'm in fourth grade.

What activities do you participate in through NYCID’s After-School Program?  I did fencing and Legos. Legos was kind of boring because it wasn't really Legos and fencing was awesome. I got to sword fight with some of my best friends and learned that fencing is a lot like light sabers. 

What are your favorite hobbies/subjects?  My favorite hobbies include basketball and baseball. My favorite subject is social studies because we get to learn about presidents and do interesting research on them. 

How did you raise the money you donated?  I've made lemonade stands with my sister and I save my birthday money. If my dad offers me $5 to spend at the dollar store, I usually only spend one or two. 

Why did you want to donate? What inspired you to want to give to NYCID?  I wanted to donate because my dad works with people at NYCID and it helps my school. It helps me make friends in the programs.  I want to compliment Dominick and the man from Camelot on how nice they were. 

What do you hope the money you donated will accomplish?  I hope the money makes more programs to help more people and make them happy. I hope it keeps people out of hobo shelters. Giving the money makes me a better person. 

Madelyn made the winning bid on the silent auction item for a party at the Staten Island Zoo

How old are you & what grade are you in?  I am ten years old and I'm in fifth grade.

Madelyn Bach
What activities do you participate in through NYCID’s After-School Program?  When I was in fourth grade I participated in the drama program. It was fun because I made new friends. Also we did fun exercises. I learned “Bruno the Bear sits in the sun munching lots of honey buns.”  We had to say it in a funny voice to exercise our voices.

What are your favorite hobbies/subjects?  I like to sing and dance. My favorite subject is PE because you're sitting in a classroom all day and you get to exercise and hang out with your friends. I like art class because you learn about artists and you learn how to paint.

How did you raise the money you donated?  My friend and I sold lemonade from her front yard to the neighborhood and some really annoying and gross kids. But money is money! I also save my money from my birthday.

Why did you want to donate? What inspired you to want to give to NYCID?  I donated money because I wanted to help support the program and help families in trouble and because I really wanted a Zoo party.

What do you hope the money you donated will accomplish?  I hope the money I donated can help people.

Their Father, Ken Bach, Shares His Perspective

How did you teach your children about charitable giving? Leadership by example is more than a catchphrase on a motivational poster. Children are amazing.  They learn from every clue around them.  I haven’t taught them about charitable giving – they have learned by what we do.

Through Rotary, I have been giving back to the community for many years.  My children ask about Rotary and where I am going. I always tell them, “I am going out to change the world!”  Later, as we drive around the island, I show them where we’ve served holiday meals to the homeless, where we assembled turkey baskets and the neighborhoods we deliver to, and the parks that we help maintain.  This year, they are both eager to join me on these and other projects. 

Often we get, “Why do we need a babysitter again tonight?” Well, a frequent response begins with “Because Mommy and Daddy are going to a fundraiser.”  We let them know the goal might be to help raise scholarships for really smart students who can’t afford college or the local Boy Scout troop or children with autism.  When they heard we were attending the NYCID event, and that it was the organization that ran the after-school programs that touched their lives, there was no keeping them away.

Ken and Henry Bach
Were you surprised by Madelyn & Henry’s actions at our benefit? I was surprised at how comfortable they felt at the event, and that Henry actually chose to wear a button down shirt without being asked.  Madelyn was intrigued by the silent auction items, and I was proud that she came to us and informed us that she wrote her name on the item of her choice.  We approved her bid amount and she was amazed she won, especially since Mom and Dad won nothing.

And yes, I was shocked by Henry’s energetic and unanticipated hand raising at the $1,000 challenge request, amused at his persistence down the scale, and proud of his $100 contribution.  They still talk about the event, further spreading the culture of giving with their friends.   

Do you talk with them about people that need help? Given my job, family activities and our community, there are always conversations.  Part of parenting is helping the children to make sense of the millions of clues they need to assimilate.  It is important my children acknowledge they may not have as many material goods as some, but that they do have more than many.  They know when to accept help and when to provide help.  

Is this the first time they’ve made charitable contributions?  Henry and Madelyn have a long history of compassion and giving back, although this was the first time in such a sophisticated setting.  While attending elementary school in upstate NY, Madelyn hosted a web-based TV show where she interviewed the administration and staff.  She was honored by the City of Kingston for her artwork, which was later placed into a gallery that helped raise awareness of the dangers of swimming after the unfortunate drowning of an eight-year-old.  Madelyn and Henry also organized sledding parties where kids brought new, wrapped toys that we delivered to local children in need.   Recently, Madelyn hosted a lemonade stand to raise money for her CYO basketball team, and they both want to volunteer for the Parks Department.

Do you have any advice for others?  As you enjoy the company of friends, remember those who are lonely.  As you embrace your family, remember those who are in conflict.  As you sit down to dinner, remember those without a meal.  Donate and help make a difference.  Volunteer and change a life. You may be surprised that the life that most benefits from the change is your own.   

Is there anything else you would like to share?  NYCID’s outreach programs provide a rich after-school curriculum to help expand a child’s horizons for working and stay-at-home parents, and their conflict management programs help people learn how to emerge victorious from a seemingly hopeless situation.

Also, walk the Greenbelt. Look at the nighttime sky. Relearning our place in the universe is a great way to put our existence into context.

Do you have some suggestions about how to grow young philanthropists? Please share them in the comments below.

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