Children Helping Children is Teaching Kids How to Give Back

Former Buckhead schoolteacher, Michelle Hodgson, created the nonprofit Children Helping Children (CHC) in 2008 for one reason—to teach kids how to give back.

“What we like to do is highlight what makes each kid special, whether it’s music, art, math or writing. We use it as a way to get them motivated to give that particular thing back,” Hodgson explains.

One of the most empowering aspects of the organization is that it gives children the opportunity to lead. Every spring, applications become available for kids (ages 12 to 16) to be a part of the organization’s Junior Board of Directors. In May, the Senior Board of Directors select 12 applicants from drastically different backgrounds (including being homeless or being the child of a National Basketball Association player) to fill the coveted spots.

Michelle Hodgson (back row, middle) and the 2017 Children Helping Children Junior Board of Directors at the 2017 Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST event.

Michelle Hodgson (back row, middle) and the 2017 Children Helping Children Junior Board of Directors at the 2017 Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST event.

From there, the junior board members are given the rundown on other philanthropies CHC has supported in the past including Kate’s Club, Camp Sunshine, and Emmaus House. Hodgson explains that the junior board members are also given an opportunity to research other Atlanta-based 501(c)(3) charities that benefit children. The goal is that the kids will connect with one of the causes or a specific nonprofit. Each child then reaches out to the executive director of his or her chosen organization to find out what its wish list needs are.

Using this information, they get to work creating hands-on projects that will benefit the nonprofits they’ve selected. These tasks could be anything from a food can drive to collecting toys and therapy materials. The projects comprise CHC’s signature fall event, Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST, which was held on Oct. 29, 2017, at Piedmont Park. Here, visitors go from tent to tent and get involved with each activity.

Following the festival, the children’s term as a board member comes to an end and they embrace the status of mentor. Hodgson’s ultimate hope is that they will take what they’ve learned and become stewards of service for the rest of their lives.

(L – R, top row) Tanner, Philip, Nora, Didi, (middle row) Eliza, Justin, Myles, Bhuami (bottom row) Ellie, Aidan, Riley, Kate.

(L – R, top row) Tanner, Philip, Nora, Didi, (middle row) Eliza, Justin, Myles, Bhuami (bottom row) Ellie, Aidan, Riley, Kate.

Apply to be on the Junior Board of Directors

In the spring, kids ages 12 to 16 can fill out the one-page application (which includes strategic questions to gauge their level of interest in community service) for the opportunity to be a part of the board.

Assemble and Donate “Be Well Bears”

Help stuff teddy bears that will be distributed to children in need and local nonprofits.

Get a Group Together

CHC has year-round programming to bring its Compassion Curriculum for children to schools, neighborhoods, and churches.

To learn more, visit chcatlanta.org

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