By K Mayme Lawrence Dear Diary, It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. OK, so what that my family and I live in sunny California. So what that the rising temperatures would melt poor Frosty the Snowman in a matter of minutes. Despite the start of summer being days away, my children and I are getting ready for Operation Christmas Child. Recently, we went shopping and checked off our lists. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, aims to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world. Kids receive a shoebox filled with gifts, like toys and school supplies. My daughters and I make crafts, such as bracelets and bookmarks, and fill the boxes with the items and an encouraging note. My girls love making things and love the fact that their creations will benefit less fortunate children even more. If you’re not a crafty mama, you can even build a box online. Operation Christmas Child has become a tradition in our house. We’re actually getting more than we’re giving, since we’ve made priceless memories every time we shipped the packages. Operation Christmas is just one of a dozen charities close to my heart. Check out this list of other organizations impacting infants and toddlers across the country and around the world. AVID- Advancement Via Individual Determination Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a global nonprofit organization that operates with one guiding principle: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge. AVID’s kindergarten through higher education system brings research-based curriculum and strategies to students each day that develop critical thinking, literacy and math skills across all content areas. Big Brothers Big Sisters For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people. CASA- Court Appointed Special Advocates CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives who ensures their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Children’s Defense Fund The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The organization champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protects them from abuse and neglect; and ensures their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Children’s Health Fund Children’s Health Fund is committed to providing health care to the nation’s most medically underserved children through developing and supporting innovative, comprehensive primary care programs, reducing the impact of public health crises on vulnerable children and promoting the health and well-being of all children. The Fund works specifically to support a national network of pediatric programs in some of the nation’s most disadvantaged rural and urban communities and educate the general public about the needs and barriers to health care experienced by disadvantaged children. Institute for Black Charities The Institute for Black Charities collects and distributes resources to improve the quality of life for children, families and communities in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Texas. The IBC’s service areas include natural disaster response, creating and finding new funding sources, capacity building and networking and collaboration. March of Dimes The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Every year, more than half a million babies are born too soon in the United States. Over the last 25 years, our country’s premature birth rate has risen by 36 percent. That’s serious cause for concern, especially since premature birth is the number one killer of newborns. My Stuff Bags Foundation The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides new belongings, comfort and hope to thousands of children each year who must be rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment across the United States. The My Stuff Bags Foundation’s ultimate goal is to provide a bag filled with new belongings, such as toys, books and security blankets, to each of the nearly 300,000 children each year who must enter crisis shelters and foster care with nothing of their own. Wigs For Kids When children lose their hair, they don’t just suffer physically. The change in their appearance can drastically undermine their self-image and sabotage their self-esteem. To help heal the pain of these struggles, Wigs for Kids provided hair replacement systems and support for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families. World Vision World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. The organization provides emergency assistance to children and families affected by natural disasters and civil conflict, works with communities to develop long-term solutions to alleviate poverty, and advocates for justice on behalf of the poor. Hey DFTM Fam–What children’s charities are you supporting? Which organizations should we add to the list? Keinya Lawrence is a married mom raising three daughters, ages 4, 6, and 9, in San Francisco, CA. She writes about social change as it relates to raising kids and important causes to be aware of regarding child development. She loves being a mom because despite the craziness in this world and the many disparities, it gives her an opportunity to share life’s joys and spread good through her kids as they will become stewards over their own gifts that they too can share with others. When not writing for DFTM, Keinya works as a program coordinator for an award winning health education program. She also blogs at KK’s Busy Famblog. One Response K Mayme Lawrence November 15, 2014 Just finished packing Operation Christmas Child boxes! Yay! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.