Raising Compassionate Kids Through Acts of Kindness and Volunteer Service

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Raising Compassionate Kids Through Acts of Kindness and Volunteer Service

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Raising compassionate kids through acts of kindness and volunteering: http://bit.ly/1SwEk80 #FamilyVolunteerDay | via @PointsofLight
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 11:00am

In honor of Family Volunteer Day, Nov. 21, Points of Light and Disney are recognizing families with the Daily Point of Light Award. Meet the Sjolseths of McKinney, Texas, and nominate someone in your community. 

For the Sjolseth family, giving back is so, well, daily.

For the past three years, the family – Erik, 44, Sheila, 40, Everett, 9, and Merritt, 6, have made it a point to give something back and perform acts of kindness every single day.

“It’s not big acts of service that changes kids,” says Sheila. “It’s the small daily repetitive actions, that 20 minutes a day where we all think about something else other than ourselves. It’s a way to fight the sense of entitlement that so many kids have. It’s helped make us a happier family, and made them so much kinder, in general and to each other.”

Sheila and Erik share a lifelong commitment to service. But they didn’t want the kids to just be tagalongs.

“Sheila came to me when the boys were 3 and 5 and said, ‘I’m going to do a community project with the boys every day,’” Erik recalls. “And I said, ‘OK, for how long?’ And she said, ‘Every day, forever.’”

Part of Sheila’s inspiration was born from tragedy. When a close friend lost her 21-month-old daughter Penny in an accident, Sheila felt humbled by her friend’s strength and love in response to loss. Sheila founded a nonprofit, Pennies of Time, which provides resources to help make serving reasonable and doable for children of all ages and their families. 

“A few minutes a day is just a penny of time, but it makes a big difference,” Sheila says.

The impetus to start Pennies of Time was also practical. “We found that most big nonprofits shut the door on having small children serve,” says Erik. “We didn’t set out to start a movement or even a nonprofit. We set out to do service with our boys and nobody was really out there doing it.”

Read the rest of the story on the Points of Light blog.

Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Awards & Recognition | Daily Point of Light Award | Disney | Family Volunteer Day | Pennies of Time | Points of Light | family volunteering | generationOn