Young Philanthropists Create Opportunities for Giving

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Emilio Alonso-Mendoza in front of Volta Bureau

Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community, 

Life presents us with many opportunities to give of ourselves and many ways to make a difference in someone's life. Sometimes we make a difference with a gift of time and talent, while at other times, our gift is from our treasure. Our gifts don't have to be the most significant - in fact, they may even go unnoticed. The joy of giving is measured in the feeling of contentment of the giver when we see that joy reflected in the face of the recipient.

I think one is born with the inner desire to give back. When parents and caregivers give, children watch and follow. With the sweetest days of summer ahead of us, I would like to share two very beautiful stories of children giving to AG Bell. It's wonderful to be the recipient of these gifts, of course, but immensely satisfying to see the joy of giving blossom in these young philanthropists. 

Sadie and Aaron Palker
Sadie and Aaron Palker

In February two of our newest philanthropists who have hearing loss decided to donate their birthday gifts to AG Bell. Sadie, Aaron and their parents, Stacey and Todd Palker, have been involved with AG Bell since the 2012 AG Bell Convention in Arizona. It was there that Sadie was able to see other children who use hearing technology. Six-year-old Sadie and 4-year-old Aaron have birthdays that are five days apart. The party theme was princesses, unicorns and rainbows for Sadie, and dragons and knights for Aaron. With their special day soon approaching, Sadie asked her parents if she and Aaron could ask their party guests to give gifts to AG Bell rather than to the children.

"When children learn to give a piece of themselves and integrate the act of giving into their lives - whether it's being part of a charity walk, volunteering time or giving a donation, it makes them feel that they are part of a bigger picture," said Stacey. "Donating to others is a source of comfort and joy and holds deeper meaning to everyone. People can donate time, old clothes and even at the end of the year people could donate pennies they have saved. It is something that makes a person feel good." 

Palker Family
Stacey, Sadie, Todd and Aaron Palker

A great thing about exploring charity with children is how creative and excited they become when they know they'll be helping other children. Eight-year-old Parker Alholm, her 5-year-old brother, Coley, and a couple of her friends donated to AG Bell money they earned from a one-day lemonade stand. Their gift was made in honor of Coley, who has hearing loss. The Alholm family, which includes parents Brooke and Dan, became involved with AG Bell when they received an AG Bell Preschool Financial Aid award. Brooke also researched advocacy and parent tips through the AG Bell website, and she connected with attorney Bruce Goldstein through Ask the Expert. Thanks to Bruce's empathy and responsiveness, Brooke was able to understand parent advocacy and the rights of a child with hearing loss.  

Alholm family
Parker, Brooke, Dan and Coley Alholm

Brooke said that growing up with a sibling with hearing loss gave Parker a sense of awareness as she participated in daily activities that may not be found in a home where all family members have typical hearing. Brooke said that when she talked about hearing loss with her children, she made sure to talk to them about supporting Coley's therapy and embracing any differences as a family. Parker would attend the therapy sessions with her brother, and she would help Coley at home. Her compassion blossomed as she helped her brother.

"How about we give the money to kids who have cochlear implants?" Parker asked her mom on the afternoon she set up her lemonade stand. Her friends and her brother uniformly agreed. "They live in a small community," Brooke said, "and they were able to see what it was to give something back, and that it was a big deal." Brooke added that it felt great to see the spirit of giving in her children, and that it didn't stop with the one lemonade stand, but that spirit continues to flow into other aspects of their life as well.  

Parker Alholm letter
Letter sent to AG Bell from Parker Alholm.

This is a great time of year to harness children's boundless creativity and think of ways they can learn the joy of giving. Take the time to talk to your children about how they would like to help others. The weather is perfect for walk/runs, competitions and other events that support great causes, and I hope you'll consider AG Bell as the cause you choose to support. It's a great way to make summer memories before it's time to worry about going back to school.

I am always curious to learn about your philanthropy and how you teach your child the joy of giving, particularly those times when AG Bell is the beneficiary. Please share your stories with AG Bell at

Until next week,

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza


"Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others."
- Brian Tracy