PGK (Project Giving Kids) is now Create the Change®!


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Molly Yuska, Founder


Raising children is tough. I was just reading an article the other day entitled, “Why Parents Struggle So Much in the World’s Richest Country.” Apparently, in the U.S. it is even tougher. (I tend to agree with the assessment.) Consequently, we, as parents, often find ourselves thinking about how we can make it a little easier, a little more meaningful, a little more hopeful. I have found that in raising my four kids, few things feel as grounding and rewarding as serving our community. As the founder of a nonprofit that makes it easier for young people and families to find ways to help others, perhaps that is no surprise. But in doing the work, as a mom and a nonprofit professional, I have discovered a few valuable truths along the way.


  1. Creating the change doesn’t have to be big, expensive, or time consuming. In fact, like most things with kids, it’s the frequency and consistency that matter. Small actions done repeatedly stick with kids. Find a simple way for your family to positively impact others and your kids will likely consider that a way of life rather than an act of goodness reserved for select moments. (And imagine for a moment a world where everyone lived that way!)

  2. Your example matters. My kids currently span the ages of 6 to 19. We experience a lot on a daily basis, from big kid worries to small kid tantrums, but what I am often struck by is how much they absorb in witnessing each other’s challenges and triumphs. When we think about the fact that our kids watch us more than anyone else, consider the way in which you engage in serving your community (if you do)  and how that impacts their expectations and inclinations to do the same. As Gandhi so aptly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I would say, “Be the change you wish to see from your kids” because that is likely what you will get.

  3. Different people call for different experiences. In addition to a wide range of ages in my house, we have four distinctly different personalities in our mix too, with different talents and interests to boot. As such, how they want to serve others is different. One size does not fit all when it comes to service. Ask them what they’re passionate about. Give them options. Guide and help steer, but don’t hold the wheel. They are each on their own journey to finding themselves and how they want to impact the world.

  4. Be flexible. We hear that a lot as parents, but it’s true. Kids will not enjoy every service opportunity. They may not enjoy the ones you love. If your goal is to get and keep them involved in serving others and their community (and we hope that is the goal!), remember that you will need to bend, flex, and redirect just like in every other aspect of parenting, if you want to be successful. Sounds exhausting, and it can be, but no one said this parenting job was easy!

  5. Don’t beat yourself up for the moments that are less than perfect. Remember that setting the intention to make service a meaningful part of your family’s life is huge. In doing so, you have already positively impacted your child’s development and your family culture. Yes, this too requires frequent reassessment to make sure you are on a good path for your ever-changing kid(s), but celebrate the small victories. Every act of kindness has a ripple with no known end. Hold on to that, and give yourself a pat on the back rather than a critical thought that somehow what you helped them experience wasn’t enough.


The job of parenting begins and ends a lot quicker than we think. Making service a meaningful part of family life is something we need to prioritize while we can. As Ferris Bueller once famously reminded us, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And making service part of your family journey, is not something you want to miss.

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