- The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi
Donate My Hair
It takes a long time to grow 8 or 10 inches of hair. Her goal is to donate enough to make one wig, which is at least 6 donations total. In five years, she's half way to her goal. I'm a bit surprised and pleasantly pleased that my tween has a 10 year plan for something, especially in light of the fact that she cannot remember what I said 5 minutes ago, but that's for another post.
One person can have an impact
My daughter's first grade teacher donated her hair and the day her teacher came to school with a short hair cut was the day my daughter decided she also wanted to donate her hair. She patiently grew her hair and it was long enough a year later. In the years that have followed and as my daughter has continued to donate her hair, it has been fun to see some of her friends follow suit, and they in turn have inspired others. The domino effect that good deeds can have is awesome.
Gifts are given freely
When my daughter was ready to donate, a friend of hers had said she was also going to donate. At the last minute, though, the friend changed her mind and opted not to make the cut. While my daughter was disappointed, it was a good reminder that people need to do and give what makes them comfortable and that the best gifts and donations are made freely, not as a result of peer pressure or any other reason.
You may not know the impact you have
I posted a Facebook photo of my daughter's haircut and my friend Casey McCluskey, a breast cancer survivor, kindly wrote, "Please tell her just how much a former cancer patient appreciates such a generous donation! It means more to us than she realizes!!!" My tween was really touched by that and said that she thought that only the person receiving the wig would care. It was a wonderful reminder that a selfless act can have impacts we don't even realize (and a reminder that such an act does have to be selfless, and not just about attention or a response from Facebook).
Giving doesn't always have to be about money
My tween gave of herself, literally. It didn't cost a cent, but sometimes those gifts are the best ones.
How to research a charity
Selecting which organization will receive your donation is a personal choice. Read about them to decide what the best fit is for you, and if your tween is donating, have him/her participate in the research. This is a great chance to teach them how to make sure their donations are going to an organization that they can support. The American Cancer Society does not accept hair donations and refers people to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Wigs 4 Kids. Have them do a basic Google search. This article published in May raised questions about Locks of Love uses its hair donations. Check out CharityNavigator.org to start, but keep in mind that it only evaluates charities that file with the U.S. IRS. It includes a review of Locks of Love but not some of the other groups.