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Children for Children Concerts, and how to help your kids put on their own

by Shawni

Ok, so when I wrote about our refugee project and also shared some pictures from our Children for Children concert back HERE, I mentioned that my niece Hazel was making up a “Children for Children Concert Instruction Kit” that I was pretty sure she’d be willing to let me share with anyone who was interested. I got enough requests for that through comments, email and even dm’s on Instagram that I figured it would be worth posting here. So here we go.

First I should probably introduce Hazel. She is fifteen and smart and beautiful inside and out. And she is on-the-ball as you will see from her instruction kit. As she writes in the first introductory document, she’d love input and suggestions if anyone has them. My personal suggestion, Hazel, is that you add some pictures because I wish I had one to post right now of you and your planning committee! But maybe that’s a post for another day 🙂 Thank you, Hazel, for your work on these documents so that others can have their own Children for Children Concerts!

For readers who are unfamiliar with what Children for Children concerts are, let me give you a brief overview. Growing up in my family my parents were always working to come up with new ideas for us to be aware of the world around us. And also to take responsibility. One of the ways they figured would help in both of those aspects was to help us put on a concert to raise money for projects/charities that could use support in the world around us. The “cause” could be anything from a local food bank to weather related disaster relief to donating medical care in villages in developing countries. You name it, there are so many wonderful organizations in the world who are working hard to reach out and make a difference. My family would focus on organizations that benefitted children. Hence the name “Children for Children.” My parents would gather families to our home one special evening each year during the holidays, and the kids would perform and the parents would donate money to the charity we were supporting as their “admission fee.”

As we have started families of our own, many of us are carrying on this tradition and I love the ripple effects as well as all the new ideas that have been added. We have encouraged our kids take the reins for the most part, they pick and vote on a specific charity to support, they put together the invite list and pass out (or email) invitations, they follow up, they’re the ones who make dessert, greet, make up programs, they’re the “masters of ceremonies,” etc. And do you know what that does for kids? A lot.

So, without further ado, let’s get to Hazel’s “kit.” As you read it, keep in mind that Hazel and her family have really become “experts” at this and have involved neighbors and friends in the planning process. This works so well, but it can also be very simplified if it’s just you and your few kids. Don’t be overwhelmed if you don’t want to get this fancy at first. The important part is to meet with your kids and have them talk it through and decide how they want to pull it off and this kit will give you so many good ideas to jump from!

You’ll find the tool kit from Hazel HERE.

I’m going to take you through memory lane for just a minute to put some pictures with the ideas.

This was our first Children for Children concert invite clear back in 2009 shortly after we got Lucy’s diagnosis:

This was the program we made up (it was the cover and it was folded so that that Children for Children jazz was on the front, along with a picture of an eyeball drawn by one of the kids and the other stuff was on the back):

Max and Elle did such a great job as the MC’s of the event and our neighbors and friends were so nice to come support.

Look how little they were!

For some reason we took a few years off after that, but were back at it in 2015 in the wake of working with a great organization in Cambodia with our neighbors that we fell in love with called CICFO. Our two families joined forces to provide some ongoing support with some continuing needs:

We showed our guests a video the kids had put together of the kids over there in Cambodia:

And had some talents in there followed by moving to the piano for some pretty awesome musical numbers:

In 2016 we got together for a planning meeting with our “committee”…

…and decided to support a refugee program we had fallen in love with through my sister Saydi’s friend:

Again, the kids introduced the project and showed all the guests a video with so much information, and each “committee member” shared a refugee story.

The best part is always getting to count all the money donated after the event:

The kids get pretty excited!

In 2017 we worked to raise money for OSSO, the organization we were headed to work with in Ecuador. I do not know where the invite is to that one, but we had all the guests cut out snowflakes as a “gathering activity” when they arrived so that we could take them and hang them all over the school when we arrived there:

We also collected shoes as a request from that organization:

So exciting, again, to count the donations that came in:

Last year (2018) was complicated with Max’s wedding in December, so we held our concert in January. The kids decided to raise money for Yapay in Bolivia, an organization run by our neighbor’s friend. Here was the invite for that one:

I love that they sent us pictures of all those kids with the bags they were able to purchase with the funds the kids raised:

We try to stay in touch with each of these organizations and ideally we should have a little report on how each is doing during our “committee” meetings before the concerts, but hey, we’re still tweaking around here!

Here’s our first meeting for our concert this year last week:

Everyone voted to raise money for Family Humanitarian, the organization we worked with and fell in love with in Africa last summer.

And I’m going to wait to tell you more about that until we get the invites ready, but I’m excited because I think Hazel and her family voted to support the same charity this last weekend…and Eliza and Isaac’s family will too since they were able to go there last summer on a youth expedition.

Ok, there we go. Please let me (or Hazel) know if you want or need any additional information, and hope that helps for those who are interested in putting on their own concerts in their own necks of the woods.

Love, Shawni & Hazel

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2 comments

Jenny also November 4, 2019 - 3:29 pm

Beautiful! Your love for and pride in your niece Hazel really shines through in this introduction. Three cheers for the power of encouragement from extended family!

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Jessica November 5, 2019 - 8:25 am

I love this thanks for sharing these details!

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