Here at American Girl, we know that every girl can make a difference. Whether she is raising money or awareness for a cause, addressing a community problem, or simply standing up for herself or a friend, girls are changing the world every day and inspiring us at every turn. Throughout this holiday season, both you and your girl may feel motivated to give back and make a unique mark on the world. Here are a few ideas to inspire the entire family:
Instead of traditional gifts, your girl can request that donations be made instead. Charities that help homeless people or shelters for animals often need donated clothing, food, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Ask your girl to pick her favorite cause, and then check with the charity or shelter for a list of most-needed items.
Your girl can get crafty and then sell her works to raise money for a cause. Great girl-sized projects include making bracelets, baked goods, or cards to sell to family, friends, or neighbors. Help her choose the best way to spread the word about her project. Need inspiration? Find ideas and supplies for gorgeous handmade cards in the American Girl book Bits of Glitz.
Not only does volunteering make you feel great, it’s a good opportunity to model empathy and to build your girl’s character. Many groups require an adult to accompany child volunteers, so choose a group that’s doing work important to both you and your girl, and make time to pitch in together.
Team up with your girl to help protect animals and their habitats by creating an art sale to support the World Wildlife Fund. Not only will you be helping animals and their habitats all around the world, you'll also be entered in the Wild at Art Sweepstakes and eligible to earn additional fun prizes as a thank-you for your hard work. Prizes include stickers, plush animals, games, and more!
And here are just a few of our favorite stories of girls who are making a difference:
Quinn, an 11-year-old from New Zealand, spent a year beating an aggressive cancerous brain tumor and later became an ambassador for a childhood cancer foundation. She continues to share her journey with wide audiences to raise awareness of childhood cancers. We heard from Quinn recently—she wrote us a letter to let us know that our dolls without hair have helped to raise the spirits of cancer patients like herself.
Hailey, a 10-year old from Washington, was surprised and upset to learn that people who are homeless often have little or no access to fresh food. In response, she began growing fruits and vegetables in her vast home garden and donating the harvest to help homeless people in her community. Hailey told her compassionate story in a recent issue of American Girl magazine.
Ify, an 11-year-old New Yorker, was bullied at school because of her weight. So she started an anti-bullying charity and also created a clothing line for all body types. Her designs have since appeared on fashion runways, and she plans to grow her clothing line and continue her anti-bullying work. Ify appeared in a style-themed episode of AG Life on American Girl’s YouTube channel.
These girls’ achievements are impressive. But remember: Even the smallest kindnesses count – especially during the holiday season – and every bit of good that goes out into the world makes a positive difference!