Now that kids are back in school, many high school students are focused on college. In the increasingly competitive application process, students are bombarded with advice that seems to center around one buzzword: impact. What was your legacy? How did you make a difference to your family, your school, or your community?
To the average teenager, this seems like a daunting question. Many, unfortunately, have interpreted “impact” to be a list of metrics to determine success: test scores, AP credits, leadership experiences, internships, etc… But even after stressful, sleepless nights spent attempting to improve these outcomes, many students are still left feeling that their efforts are not enough.
At The B Fund, we teach children of all ages to use their time, talents, and treasures to make a difference in their community. Our activities are built around a unique curriculum that encourages kids to measure their “impact” from a different perspective: hours spent selling lemonade, handmade cards decorated for children in the hospital, or pieces of Halloween candy counted and sorted to help children in need. These “metrics” are centered on acts of giving and kindness, not competition. We believe in teaching our children to see the value in all acts of kindness, large or small, from a young age.
A recent study from Harvard is inclined to agree! Making Caring Common, a project from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, released a set of suggestions to focus the college admissions process more on the common good and less on long brag sheets. Some of these suggestions really resonated with us, and we hope that more colleges follow suit in recognizing kindness and compassion in their admissions processes!
- Value the different ways students make contributions to their families and communities.
At The B Fund, we know that every child is different; not all children will have the same amount of time, the same talents, or the same treasures to give, and that’s ok! No act of kindness is too small.
Therefore, we offer our families a variety of different activities that can be selected to best fit their schedules, interests, and abilities. Whether a child is making cards for children in the hospital or baking cookies for a bake sale, our hope is that children from all backgrounds can engage in meaningful philanthropy.
- Stress the importance of authenticity.
Studies have shown that involvement in acts of giving is beneficial to children’s confidence and integrity. Our curriculum encourages participants to not only give of their time and treasures, but also their unique talents. Through our activities, children can not only give back to others, but also learn more about themselves and nurture their abilities in a meaningful way!
- Engage in meaningful community service.
Summarizing the Harvard report, Lisa Heffernan and Jennifer Wallace of The Washington Post write, “The report highlights a common misconception that volunteering for certain high-profile causes or traveling to exotic countries will make an application stand out. It will, but for the wrong reasons: namely that it looks inauthentic.”
At The B Fund, our mission is to help children become lifelong philanthropists; therefore, The B Fund curriculum is centered on activities that are sustainable, engaging, and reflective. Children should come away from our events and activities aware not only of the needs of their community, but the ways in which their acts, no matter how small, can make the world a better place.
Are your children stressed about applying to college? Read more about Harvard’s study here.