One of the greatest challenges of parenthood is the constant fear that the world we’re leaving behind for our children is a world filled with poverty, despair, hate and environmental disaster. The paradox, of course, is that we’re placing all of our faith in future generations to fix the problems we’ve created, and while it’s true that the children are our future, as a parent it’s hard to know how to give our kids the tools they’re going to need to change the narrative. Which is where Kristiana Tarnuzzer comes in. As founder of The Cause Bar, she’s dedicated her career to making sure that our children learn from an early age just how important and impactful empathy can be. As far as I’m concerned, she’s more Guardian Angel than Select Set Guest, and her 7 tips for raising a do-gooder are maybe the most important things we’ve shared to date.
One of my favorite things about The Cause Bar is my ability to organically teach my children empathy and a better understanding of the causes we support through my work. Have a budding global citizen and want to lead by example? Here are a few tips, picks and ideas on how to stimulate empathy and an appreciation for giving back at the ripe stage of childhood…after all, children are our future change-makers!
— Kristiana Tarnuzzer
1. Volunteer Abroad
Summer break is fast approaching, and with it comes a plethora of possible vacation destinations for your family. Family trips are an excellent opportunity to inspire change. Whether you’re traveling with teenagers or younger kids, volunteering abroad is a fantastic way to pass on your values to your children, learn about different places and cultures and, perhaps most importantly, leave a positive mark on the world. From building classrooms in Kenya, to bathing and feeding elephants in Thailand, the possibilities are almost endless — all it takes is finding the right fit for you and your family. Check out Elevate Destinations and Hands Up Holidays for more ideas.
2. Deliver Food
Serving others is good for all of us, and kids in particular benefit. Volunteering often introduces them to people who are different than them, but allows them to see the commonalities, too — we all deserve shelter, food, support and kindness. Delivering meals as a family is a great way to teach children gratitude and the importance of nutrition. Delivering a hot meal takes an hour, but the impact you make is enormous. Meals on Wheels is my go-to in this department!
3. Get Artsy
My kids love to roll up their sleeves and get involved, so what’s better than a project that gets them doing, making, thinking AND is for a good cause? Some super easy and fun ideas: Make cards for patients in a local veterans or children’s hospital or nursing home, and deliver them together! Another easy one? Assemble hygiene kits with travel-sized toiletries for a local homeless shelter.
4. Have Reflective Conversations
Yes, asking my five-year-old how his day at school was is like pulling teeth, but I’m amazed how much he opens up after we do a volunteer activity together. Having conversations with your kids following a volunteer activity gets them to self-reflect and see the impact they had on making someone’s day a bit brighter. DoingGoodTogether offers some great advice on how to spur conversations about volunteering.
5. Live Like Earth Day is Every Day
Of course our kids will watch us recycle, but there are also other fun ways to instill a love and respect for our planet. For example, grab some popcorn and plan a movie night to watch Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, which educates not only about the importance of seeing the beauty in our world, but teaches about our responsibility to protect it. Gardening is another way to instill a respect for our planet, and once children see how much time and effort goes into gardening, they will become more likely to recycle and not litter, and be more empathetic towards those who help put food on our tables every day like local farmers. Kids Gardening also has some cool programs to check out.
6. Color with Cause
Coloring Without Borders is more than just a book — it’s a work-of-art, bilingual activity book jam-packed with entertaining and thoughtful exercises. Each turn of the page is with intention and it’s a lovely little guide into compassion and creativity. Bonus! All proceeds go directly to supporting Families Belong Together and the unification of families separated at the border.
7. Fashion, But Make It Heartfelt
These sweet enamel pins from Leaderbag are so much more than sassy flair to add to your children’s backpack. They serve as simple reminders of the important virtues we want to teach our minis: Love, Solidarity, Kindness, Peace, Wisdom. Since we don’t spend the days at school with our kids to offer a constant reminder to be their best selves, these little pins do the work for us. Bonus! 100% net proceeds benefit March for Our Lives.
Kristiana Tarnuzzer, a mom, entrepreneur and changemaker, created The Cause Bar to inspire other changemakers and show how simple adjustments in our lives can make a positive impact. The Cause Bar seeks to inspire and educate people on easy, applicable ways to lead a socially good lifestyle. Prior to founding The Cause Bar, Kristiana co-founded a NYC-based charity organization with the focus of raising awareness around locally-based causes. She sat on the Board of Indego Africa, a global 501c3 dedicated to empowering artisan women through employment and education. In 2010, Kristiana traveled to Lisbon, Portugal, to work with Comunidade Vida e Paz (Community Life & Peace) to work with their team in delivering meals to the homeless, and in 2011, Kristiana traveled to Rishikesh, India, in partnership with The Khushi Charitable Society to build a school for an orphanage.
Most recently, Kristiana has been invited to sit on the newly appointed Council for The Alliance of Moms, an LA- based non-profit organization with a mission to break the intergenerational cycle of foster care, and is a member of the Advisory Board for Treatment Trunk, a soon-to-launch personalized subscription gift box for women undergoing cancer treatment. Professionally, Kristiana has worked with Habitat for Humanity and Heifer International on sharing their cause-oriented messages. She has extensive knowledge of brands and organizations that are socially responsible, philanthropic and environmentally conscious. Kristiana’s goal is to raise awareness on ways everyone can make positive changes and choices that better our environment and communities.