PUBLISHED: 5:38 PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Giving can be fun
Hey youngsters...
Summertime brings family adventures, activities with all our friends and thankfully, a long vacation from school. It can also be a time to do something really fun that helps make a difference for your favorite charity/non-profit group.

When I was a kid, I would spend my summers having fun and volunteering three days a week to hang out with other kids in my community that were deaf and blind.

It was a blast.

  Linda Wahl
I would like to say that they learned something from me, but honestly, I learned a whole lot more from them. That experience helped shape me into who I grew up to be.

I wasn't the only one involved in really cool activities that helped someone else. There were others who had lemonade stands, bake sales and car washes.

They donated the money they earned to a non-profit of their choosing. After all, if you earned the money you would want to choose who it would go to, right?

Last year, my family and I decided to save the money that we would have spent at McDonalds and send it to Africa to help a family purchase a goat for milk and enable the digging of a well that not only allowed for fresh drinking water but also helped in irrigating their crops. Yes, there was a small sacrifice on our part, but the results were very big, and the knowledge that we were a part of that was very humbling.

This is a fantastic way for everyone to get involved. Whether donating pennies or selling lemonade to raise funds, learning about giving at an early age instills a sense of community and compassion and allows for kids to learn the ability to look outside of themselves and see another's need.

And if done as a family, the time spent on a project together will always be a special memory. It can even become a tradition the kids will pass on.

So, have fun this summer, and at the same time help out those organizations that have a commitment to our community. Let's reach out our hands to help those who help others.

If you don't have a favorite charity to donate to, the American Red Cross of Alaska Southeast District might be one you think about. If you decide to do so, you may by mail at 3200 Hospital Dr # 203 Juneau AK 99801 or by calling 463-5713.

Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross of Alaska is dedicated to saving lives and helping Alaskans prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Led by over 1,500 volunteers and 27 employees, last year the American Red Cross of Alaska mobilized relief to over 1,050 Alaskans affected by disaster, trained over 32,000 people in lifesaving skills, taught over 78,500 Alaskans how to be better prepared for disasters, and exchanged more than 4,100 emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families.

For more information about the American Red Cross of Alaska, please visit our website at