“Can I help?” It’s a question kids often ask, but adults don’t always know how to answer. A new book shows children real examples of how little ways of giving can create big change in their community.
Vasilopoulos is an internationally-recognized, award-winning fundraiser who says parents have asked her for years how they can raise children who see the importance of giving.
“I couldn’t find anything that really spoke to that, so I wrote this book,” she says.
BALANCING SPENDING, SAVING AND GIVING
The 43-page, full-colour book follows several young children who each receive $5. They are told they can spend $3 on something they want, and they should save $1 and use the remaining $1 to do something good for the world. The children then explore ideas for what to do with that single dollar, ranging from giving to an animal shelter to growing healthy food for others. But some of the ideas don’t involve spending any money at all, such as bringing a lonely senior a cup of tea or cleaning up beaches.
What Can You Do With Just One Dollar? Is available to order now.
“This is a reminder that you don't have to have millions of dollars to give away,” says Vasilopoulos. “It doesn’t have to be monetary at all. It’s that concept of giving.”
REAL EXAMPLES OF HOW TO GIVE
When writing the book, Vasilopoulos, who is the mother of three grown children, took inspiration from her own kids who she says were always looking for ways to help when they were very young.
“Seeing my kids now, in their careers they have, seeing the application of those value systems you can really see how it manifests into empathy and confidence. To see the impact of kindness no matter how big or how small was a great life lesson.”
She believes that while children are inherently inclined to share, concrete ideas for how to give aren’t always kitchen-table discussions for many families. “I wanted to get them to get their minds thinking about what they could do.”
NEED IS EVIDENT MORE THAN EVER
The book encourages children to become involved in issues and causes in their community that they care about. But also shows how they can achieve even greater change when they combine their single dollars to create a larger act of giving, together.
While financial pressures are weighing on Toronto families more than ever, Vasilopoulos says that makes the timing of this book even more crucial.
“I think this is exactly the time to talk about giving because the need is so evident everywhere.”
The soft-cover book is brilliantly illustrated by Vic Guiza, an award-winning designer with nearly four decades of experience working with top brands such as Disney and Marvel Comics. The author says the illustrations are intentionally diverse and inclusive, with characters of every race, religion, ability, age and culture.
“We wanted every kid to be able to pick up this book and find themselves in it.”
There are currently Canadian and American versions, featuring loonies and dollar bills, respectively, and Vasilopoulos says she hopes to be able to publish What Can You Do With Just One Dollar? in other languages.
She says the values it presents are universal, as is the need many children feel to feel some control over the ever-changing world around them.
“Kids can feel a loss of control over what’s happening in the world,” she says.
“This book gives kids the power to take a bit of that control back and be able to do something where they feel they’ve made a difference. I think that’s more important now than it has been for a long time.”
What Can You Do With Just One Dollar? is available from Canadian and American online retailers (links below). As is fitting, Vasilopoulos is donating all proceeds from book sales to The WoodGreen Foundation.
Walmart.com (US Site)
Walmart.com (US Site)
Barnes and Noble (US Site)
Amazon.com (US Site)
ChaptersIndigo (Canadian Site)