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Friday, December 27, 2013

Joelle Wyser-Pratte: Global Citizens

Joelle Wyser-Pratte is renowned for charity work around the world and likes to use the term “Global Citizen”. But she doesn’t preach lofty goals. Being a good global citizen, and being truly charitable doesn’t require lofty accomplishments, it just takes sincerity and an open heart. In “How to Raise a  Global Citizen, Wyser-Pratte gives ten good suggestions of how we can make a difference right at home. “Global action” usually makes us think of international conferences on global warming, we think of United Nations food programs and so on. These types of actions are important, but simple acts, done close to home are just as big a part of the process and just as essential for success.
Nothing fancy, just a loving approach. Connecting with other people in the world starts by connecting to those around you-it starts with your family. The ultimate measure of acting locally mean connecting with those right next to you who share your home and lives with you. No connection is more powerful than family connection.
Little kids always ask “why?” So do something that makes them ask-and then answer them. Joelle Wyser-Pratte’s work abroad is really no different than things we can do right here at home, she says. Passing out food to needy people in Cincinnati is no different, and no less significant than passing out food to the needy in Nairobi. So join the next food drive at your local church or rescue mission, ad take your kids with you. They will surely ask “Hey dad/mom, why are we doing this?” And then you get the opportunity to tell them that there are needy people, and that doing charity work is good and right.
Local efforts help the whole world. America may be a rich country, but if it has even one poor person, that means less aid can go elsewhere. Every person you help locally increases the chance that they will able, and willing, to help others elsewhere later.

If you don’t have time to do actual charity work, but have money to donate, tell you kids what you are doing and why. Joelle Wyser-Pratte suggests have the kids sit at the table with you while you write the check or make the online donation. Show them the website and the pictures of the people you are helping. All it takes is a little local engagement, right around your table, to help your kids be good global citizens who truly make a difference.

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