More than a few girls spend their 18th birthdays dancing with their 18 roses and receiving flattering well-wishes from their 18 candles in a lavish celebration that shows the world they’ve reached the age when the world can begin to call them women. But Charice Pempengco isn’t one of these.

The singer decided she would celebrate her 18th birthday at Enchanted Kingdom, and instead of spending it with a select group of friends, she invited 200 to 300 children from Bantay Bata, World Vision, Operation Smile, and a Laguna orphanage to enjoy the rides and her concert at the theme park last Saturday, May 22. Kids from each organization showed their appreciation by performing song and dance numbers during the concert. In the video shown below, she sings with Chadleen Lacdo-o, one of the beneficiaries of Operation Smile.



This example adds to our list of things kids (and grown-ups) can learn from Charice Pempengco: she’s got a strong sense of social responsibility.

A couple of years ago, “social responsibility” was a corporate term synonymous with charities and donations. But as the teenage diva knows, social responsibility is a concept that goes beyond the walls of high-rise buildings—it’s all about having a sincere desire to help others in need and to put that desire into action.

But how exactly can you instill in your kids the kind of social responsibility Charice has shown in this weekend’s birthday bash? Let FN help you out with these three tips for teaching your kids about social responsibility.


EDUCATE THEM


Education starts at home, and keeping your kids informed is the first step to getting them involved. Start by letting them know about the state of the world around them, not just to scare them or give them a sense of social guilt, but so they’ll understand the problems and can start contributing to the solution. Make sure to keep things relevant by showing them how their lives are affected by things like global warming and pollution, or compare their own luxuries like cell phones and iPods to those who do without. It's also a good idea to watch the news with them and talk about things they don't understand.

Still, talks and lectures will only get you so far. Give them some hands-on learning about acting on their social responsibility. For example, Hands on Volunteer Vacations (HOVV) are a one-of-a-kind experience where participants get to do community work while learning more about the sights and sounds of the country.


SET A GOOD EXAMPLE


Show your kids that anyone can become part of the solution by taking the time to help out yourself. It may as simple as conscientiously refusing to use plastic or segregating your trash at home, but it doesn’t hurt to volunteer once in a while too. Not only do you get to tell them about your firsthand experiences as a volunteer, but you get to be a real-life hero to your kids too. After a party or family celebration, why not bring your leftovers to the nearest shelter or orphanage? Making social responsibility a part of your daily life also demonstrates that even a little goes a long way, and giving can easily be merged with our daily activities.


GET THEM INVOLVED

There are a number of ways your kids can practice social responsibility. Here are just a few:


Be creative.

Put the fruits of their summer workshops to good use by asking your kids to have their own bake sale or a mini arts and crafts store, where a percentage of their proceeds get donated to an organization of their choice. Not only do your kids get to hone their talents, they get to help out in their own way too.


Get them involved in their community.

You may be sending help to remote regions, but there may be people close to you who need you and your kids’ help as well. Your child’s yaya’s mom might be in need of medicine, or the school janitor may need some financial assistance for his kids’ schooling. It’s important to show genuine concern for those around you, so this is something you should absolutely teach your kids. Encourage them to be sensitive to the needs of the people around them and extend their support whenever needed. They can start with simple things like mobilizing their friends and relatives to have a monthly soup kitchen, or offering to plant more trees in the village park.


Have them pitch in.

If you give monetary support to companies such as Greenpeace or World Vision, you may ask them to save P20.00 and add it to your monthly sponsorship. You may also take a cue from the mommies who brought their kids to volunteer centers to help out typhoon Ondoy victims, by setting a particular day of the month to volunteer. NGOs such as Habitat for Humanity, Greenpeace, and World Vision have various setups for volunteer work. See below for information on how to contact these, although there are certainly many organizations out there so you can match your affiliations to your causes:


GREENPEACE PHILIPPINES
Telephone number: (02) 332-1807
E-mail address: info.ph@greenpeace.org
Website: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/get-involved


HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Telephone number:  (02) 897-3069
E-mail address: info@habitat.org.ph
Website: http://www.habitat.org.ph/site/index.php


WORLD VISION
Telephone number: (02) 374-7618 to 28
E-mail address:  wv_phil@wvi.org
Website: http://www.worldvision.org.ph/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
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