Allowance for Good: Creating Changemakers and Citizens of the World

By: Danielle Siebert
Danielle is an Allowance for Good parent. 

As parents, we want the best for our kids. We want to give them everything they’ll need to be successful in their lives. So often, however, our focus is on whether or not they attend the best schools, make the right grades, play the sport of their choice or spend their free time constructively. We are so fortunate to live in a community full of amazing resources and opportunities to help our children to succeed in every traditional sense of the word. But I’ve often wondered…is this really enough?

Despite all of these fantastic opportunities and abundant resources, are our kids really developing the skills they will need to find and create their own happiness? How will they discover what they are truly passionate about? Can they connect with others in a meaningful way? Will they grow up confident and kind? Most of all…will they become citizens of Chicago’s north shore or will they truly become citizens of the world?

The idea of service has always been important in our lives. My husband and I were fortunate to have parents who valued both volunteerism and philanthropy. We grew up knowing that we are so small in this big world and that it would be our efforts to connect with and help others…near and far, friends and strangers…that would bring us the most happiness. For us, this is one of the most important things we can pass on to our children. Their greatest joys will come from reaching out, connecting with and helping others and having the confidence to discover and follow their own passions. What a joy it has been to see our daughter grow and develop in these ways during her involvement with Allowance for Good.

Last fall, our daughter, Clara, was a participant in the Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy (ELP) Explorers program offered by Allowance for Good. Through their fantastic speakers, seminars and discussions, Clara gained a much better understanding of the many ways that she can get involved with local and global issues and organizations that she cares about. She has always been a kind, thoughtful and curious person, but was sometimes shy and a bit hesitant. Well, no longer! We’ve seen such a transformation in her and especially in her desire to become involved in leadership roles in her school, in her extracurricular activities and among her friends. The ELP program has helped her realize that the words “Be the Change” are far more than just words.

The teens who attend the programs offered by AfG find such determination relative to the changes that they can bring about…in their own communities and around the world. They are learning skills that will help them leverage resources effectively and they are gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities. Additionally, they are finding the joy that comes from doing something that they are passionate about. They are discovering how nonprofits work to connect, help and inspire. And they are learning that connecting and “giving back” can be about far more than just donating money. They see firsthand the difference that only one person can make and they see the big changes that they themselves can create.

We are looking forward to our daughter’s continued participation in AfG’s programming…especially the ELP Changemakers program and hopefully a trip to one of the global affiliates in the coming years. As a parent, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your child become passionate about helping others. We see her developing the same appreciation for volunteerism and philanthropy that we value so much. We are so grateful to AfG for helping our daughter and her fellow ELP participants along their road to becoming kind, caring and passionate citizens of the world!