“My five-year-old Liam told me one day that he wanted to be an upstander, not a bystander, and he wants to do more to give back to society,” says Maggie Mok, mother of UCC Senior Kindergarten student Liam Au-Yeung and Year 4 student Kyle Au-Yeung.
“I want my boys growing up learning about compassion, kindness and giving back to society, but I don’t them to start volunteering just to satisfy the ‘volunteer hours’ needed for school.”
Mok was interested in supporting the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation (YHCYF), a registered charitable organization that raises funds to cover the operational expenses of services and programs of the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, as well as capital to build new centres.
Around the same time, the daughter of a friend of Mok was selling honey as a fundraiser. Mok reached out to Fairhaven Farm in Erin, Ont. and started planning the first Kids Pay It Forward initiative. Each participant orders a minimum of 24 330-gram jars of honey for $4.20 each. They’re sold for $10, and all of the profits are donated to YHCYF.
A network of “hero moms,” who are responsible for marketing and promoting the initiative and getting more moms to sign up, was established. And since the organization’s motto is “Kids can do it too,” children play a major role.
Kids are asked to come up with packaging, marketing and sales ideas that are enabled by parents. Among the concepts that have been created to help sell the honey are display boards with information about YHCYF, posters, honey recipes, decorated honey boxes, personalized cards and origami that are given to customers, and customized money boxes to keep sales proceeds.
Many of these ideas are shared on the Kids Pay It Forward website and Facebook page.
“I’m very impressed with the kids’ creativity and their effort and genuine kindness for the seniors,” says Mok.
“We would like our kids to learn how to give back to our society by doing different acts of kindness at a young age. Our goal is for our kids to learn about compassion, kindness and the importance of helping those in need. These are all important elements in raising kind, confident and socially responsible kids.”
More than 170 kids have signed up and more than 3,500 jars of honey have been purchased by families to sell in the community so far.
Mok says Kids Pay It Forward will decide on its next project after sales end and an award ceremony is held for this one.