A World of Givers 2020-21 Campaign
Empower and Develop Youth Givers with Aaron's Presents
Some of you may be familiar with psychologist Adam Grant’s bestselling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. Based on his research identifying people as Givers, Takers and Matchers, what Aaron’s Presents is doing is activating more Givers in and for society. These are the people he claims are the most effective leaders and have the highest potential to succeed at what they do, but also help those around them succeed at the same time. These are the people he says we should be hiring, supporting and developing. This research explains that special spark we see in Aaron’s Presents kids no matter what their circumstance, grades, etc. Because it is up to them to participate, our youth are actually self-selecting for the trait of being Givers. For many of the at-risk kids we work with who have very challenging life circumstances, engaging their natural desire to help and give at an early age is critical, because without experiencing that initial activation and validation, this inclination could either fade or never have the chance to fully emerge later on.
Imagine a World of Givers.
Imagine if the world could receive all the gifts that lie within every child, each human being.
One of our first projects this year was one that exemplifies our work and impact on youth and communities. Five 8th graders, led by Carrie and Esmeralda from the Wetherbee School in Lawrence, had an ambitious idea to make 600 pastelitos and give them out to homeless people. We took them grocery shopping and asked, “Are you really going to be able to make that many? How about 200?” But they insisted, “We want to make a BIG impact.” And since they are in charge of their project vision, and we have learned to trust kids who are this resolved, we followed along.
During the week, we confirmed with their moms, who had agreed to help season the meat, and with the girls, who seemed to have a plan. But then, that Friday, the big gas leak struck, and a school shooting threatened Lawrence High, all on the same day. The next day, however, they were up early, making the meat, chopping ham and frying. They spent the entire day making 700 pastelitos, and we drove around the city for 2 hours handing them out to homeless people on the streets and one shelter with 47 adults. They were so kind to everyone we met, regardless of their condition, and felt like they had made a real difference in over 100 lives and the whole community.
These five teens now know that they can change and uplift their city, which struggles under the weight of poverty, violence, stereotypes, low education and opportunity. They know there are amazing things they can do with their free time that can help others and empower themselves.
Will you join us in supporting and developing the Youth Givers all around us? People make our world what it is. These are the people we want to grow up and lead us into the future.
Founder & Executive Director