Friday, September 01, 2006

Interview with Freddi

Q: You were very young when you started writing A Kid’s Guide to Giving—why did you decide to start the book. What was your motivation?

A: Initially, I was motivated by frustration. I wanted to donate to a charity, and didn’t want to do it blindly, so I started doing research online. The information on these charity websites wasn’t kid-friendly, so I started by taking notes on each one in my own words. I made a list of questions and emailed or called every one of the organizations to get the answers. Pretty soon I had a huge pile of information. My mom suggested that I make it into a book, to save others the trouble that I went through. I didn’t have to think twice about doing it. I remember how difficult it was, and I didn’t want others to have to experience what I did, so I took my frustration and turned it into something productive.

Q: Why does giving & volunteerism mean so much to you? Are there any stories that you would like to share?

A: I love the feeling I get from giving, but that’s not the reason I do it. It means so much to me because it should. I see it as my responsibility as a human being on this planet to give back to a world that has given me so much. I was working at an animal adoption program at a local farmer’s market once when I was in high school, and I got so attached to the dog I was taking care of that I convinced my aunt to come and adopt her! I get very involved in my work, and seeing that I’ve made even a small difference makes all of my time and energy worth it.

Q: What advice would you give to kids who want to start giving?

A: My best advice for a kid who wants to give is to find something that inspires them. When you are passionate about a cause, you can use that passion to make change. And remember, no change is too small.

Q: What charities mean the most to you? Why?

A: That’s a difficult question. I know many people who have a particular cause that they are extremely dedicated too, but I’m still looking for mine. Issues involving children are very important to me. When I was younger, I’d watch the news and see images of kids my age suffering from hunger or poverty. I talked to my parents about doing something when I was about 12 or 13. They suggested I sponsor a child through Save the Children, so I did. I was assigned a girl named Myrlene. She was three years old, and lived in Haiti. I wrote letters to her every month and gave money for her food and education for several years, until her community was stabilized and Save the Children could move on to another area. I kept her picture on my desk as my motivation, a reminder of the difference I was making.

Q: What do you think is the best way to encourage kids (and adults!) to start giving?

A: I think most people want to give, but when something doesn’t affect us directly, it’s easy to forget that it’s a problem. It’s important to be aware of global issues, as well as local ones. I don’t think kids need encouragement, but rather to be told that the world needs their help, and that it is in their power to make a change.

Q: What do you hope that this book will accomplish—do you think that it will make a difference?

A: I’m optimistic; I do think it will make a difference. I hope it inspires kids to care—to go into the world aware of their power to help. It’s easy to fall into apathy or feel like one person can’t make a difference. I want to inspire others. That is my goal.

9 comments:

Brandy Ford said...

Freddi,
I think what you have done is amazing. I shared your story with my 6 year old son, Jaevin, and he was so excited and wants to draw you a picture.
Last April he drew a picture of himself and his great-grandmother (she suffers from Alzheimer's Disease) and wanted to sell it to give all the money to scientists so they could "fix great-nanny's brain so she will always remember me". I am so glad that I listened to him and let him put it up for auction because he ended up raising $2600.00 for the charity.
When I read about you, I couldn't help compare you with my son. He cries when he sees stories on the news about animals being treated bad, and has given all his money away, and emptied our pantry to help other children.
I felt I had to take this moment to tell you how important your work is, and to share my story with you.
Jaevin said he wanted to meet you because you have "love in her heart too, mommy" and maybe one day he will!
Keep up the wonderful work, Freddi.
p.s. i actually opened up a blog just so i could leave you a message! :)

Roger Carr said...

Thanks you for doing the interview with Freddi Zeiler.

I have read "A Kid's Guide to Giving" and it is outstanding. Not only does Freddi write in an easy to understand way, but she has also covered ways of giving that go beyond money.

This book was written to inspire and motivate kids to give. It will. However, it should also be read by many adults that want to make a difference but don't know how.

hopechestforkids said...

Freddi,

My husband and I co-founded, "Hope Chest For Kids" an organization for transitional living for foster/adoptive children 18-25 years of age. We also help with graduation expenses, purchase of automobile and auto insurance, summer camps, swimming, vocal and horseback riding lessons. If you have friends or readers interested in helping us bring joy and happiness back into their lives by giving them "Hope" that someone cares. Please visit our website @ hopechestforkids.com to make a donation. We are also interested in having someone hold fundraisers for us. Thank you for your interest in children and giving. Suzie Forbis

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