Interning with The Giving Square was a unique and memorable experience. I joined the team during a crazy time in our world – amidst a pandemic and at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. My immediate reflection from the work was how intelligent and intuitive children are. I was constantly amazed at their creativity and engagement, and how realistic their perceptions and ideas were. While they did have an essence of positivity and idealism that I don’t normally see in adults, they were never naïve or unrealistic. Their ideas were genuine and much more sophisticated than I expected, bringing me to the conclusion that children are much smarter than often given credit for. Along the same line, understanding that children observe and are very attuned to the world around them means realizing that the social justice issues or global issues we discuss affect children too. They are not just engaged because they are good listeners, but also because they observe and unfortunately sometimes experience these problems as well.
Another important lesson I learned throughout the summer is how ingrained empathy is into all social justice issues. One of The Giving Square’s primary goals is to teach the importance of philanthropy and empathy to children and adults. Until I began examining various social justice issues, current events, and miscellaneous topics through the lens of empathy and philanthropy, I didn’t understand how intertwined they are into problem solving. When brainstorming for Kids for Kids Live (check out the TGS website for more info on this program!) there was never an issue of a topic being too unrelated to TGS’s message because every social justice issue and current event can be related to empathy, philanthropy, or both. Because of interning with TGS, I see global issues with a different perception: one that is more focused on empathy and one that is more positive, hopeful, and creative (thanks to the wonderful children and incredible TGS staff I got to know over the summer).