There are two things I want to in instil in my daughter — good manners and a kind and giving spirit.
Both are traits that need to taught by me and her tribe of friends and family.
Manners are a daily battle. I’m sure I say ‘What’s the magic word?’ or ‘Did you say please?’ or ‘What do you say if you want to interrupt?’ 50 million times a week, but it’s working. Please, thankyou and excuse me are now entrenched in her vernacular and she has very quickly learnt that they truly are ‘magic’ words. The way grown adults melt when her little voice shrills ‘Oh THANK YOU’ with such gratitude when she is given a treat, or when she says ‘Pah-Weese’ … they pretty much want to give her the world.
In truth, teaching good manners is easy, because the reward is tangible to a little human. They get stuff, they get heard and they get love and respect from a few simple words.
But what about teaching a giving spirit? How do you teach a young one to not just share, because sharing means both get a turn, the item is passed between the two, and the fun is doubled. Teaching to give means a child gives away the wanted item FOR GOOD, and I don’t know about you, but that can be really tough for a teenager, let alone a toddler.
Juliette Wright’s fabulous charitable organisation Givit is tackling just that dilemma. Last week, she was not only named Queensland’s Local Hero at the Australian of the Year awards; she also launched givitkids.org.au. I spoke to Juliette about this great achievement and Givit’s latest chapter.
Firstly, congratulations on being named Queensland’s Local Hero!
I’m still really overwhelmed; I’m just so excited to go to Canberra for Australia Day. Morning Tea with the Governor General and lunch with the Prime Minster! I feel really honored.
You’ve achieved this because you started up the organisation Givit. I met you at the early stages of this, but for those that don’t know, what is Givit?
Givit is a website where people can go and donate whatever they have or can give and I make sure it goes directly to someone who really needs it. This is done via a website where I match charity’s requests and people’s donations and we’ve done it 126,000 times now!
We also work with the state government to manage all offers of assistance in disaster recovery. Most of the donations that have gone through Givit have been given in a disaster because donations flow at that time.
You recognised there was a hole in the market.
I did, but I was also really passionate about people getting exactly what they need. So when I first started Givit I was trying to give away baby clothes but none of the local charities would take them. So I asked them what they did need and the answer was always weird and surprising.
The website is almost five years old now and it’s hit that tipping point. It’s been a lot of hard work but it’s great.
Now you’re encouraging kids to learn to give.
YES! We’ve created a G-rated website called Givitkids where children can go and they can donate items to kids who are in urgent need. One in six kids in Queensland are now living in poverty which means one in six kids don’t have the appropriate resources to do what they need to do. So they don’t have the right shoes; they don’t have enough lunch or soccer boots. Givit Kids is about getting kids to donate their stuff that they no longer fit or need to Indigenous schools or local programs. We want to breed philanthropists!
Recently we helped a boy who spoke no English and sadly couldn’t make friends. Another charity requested soccer boots for him, and the day he got them he went from zero to hero in his community. They discovered he was really good at soccer! It was that simple a gift for him to make friends.
Because it’s a G-rated website we keep the stories quite vague and easy for the kids to read. So it’d be really great if anyone could sit down with the kids after school today and go onto the website, press the donate button and show your kids that other kids don’t have those simple things. You don’t have to donate if you can’t afford but just get your kids thinking about others and how easy it is to contribute.
Well, Juliette, it’s no wonder you’ve been named the Queensland Local Hero for 2014, and congratulations on both Givit and Givit Kids. I’m going to get my little one, Millie, on there and make her aware that anything she grows out of or doesn’t play with anymore – she’s going to learn to give it to those in need.
That’s amazing, thank you! Givit Kids is only a week old now and we’ve had over 80 donations from children who’ve gone beyond the call and given! It’s wonderful.
To teach your kids to Givit, head to givitkids.org.au.