Op-ed: Teach your children to Pick.Click.Give

At this point in the sign-up period for the Permanent Fund Dividend, if you haven’t had a reminder about “Pick.Click.Give,” the easy way to share some of your dividend with charitable causes, you must be out of touch.

But here’s one more reason to participate: get your kids involved in giving while they’re young.

Remember what Helen Keller said - true happiness doesn’t come from self-gratification, but by supporting a worthy purpose.

Charitable giving is an American tradition we need to pass on to the next generation.

As you fill out your Permanent Fund Dividend applications, take a look at the long list of ways you can share some blessings with others. The Pick.Click.Give program lets you share a portion of your PFD with your choice of 471 Alaska charities and non-profit organizations. You can still add a Pick.Click.Give. donation even if you’ve already filed for your PFD. Just visit the PFD website and click on the green “Add or Change Your Pick.Click.Give. Donation” button.

Small donations add up to a huge impact. Last year, over 23,000 Alaskans gave more than $2.2 million to charities across the state.

And with so many organizations to choose from, every Alaskan can find a cause that’s close to the heart.

A click of your mouse sends help to women and children who are vulnerable, hungry or homeless due to domestic violence. You can give food, shelter, and counseling to those seeking to escape a life of physical abuse or sexual assault.

Or as we all should, maybe you have a heart for veterans. Your donation could give counseling and job training to vets. You might want to help elderly Alaskans, or assist low-income families get access to quality health care. There’s no shortage of opportunity to bring comfort and aid.

Get your kids involved, and teach young Alaskans the importance of helping those in need. In the Treadwell house, each kid picked a charity that resonates with something they care about. Do your kids like animals? They can help veterinarians visit small communities that don’t have regular veterinary services. Or they can help find loving homes for forgotten and neglected cats and dogs. They could even help train service dogs to assist those struggling with a physical or mental disability.

Every little bit helps, but I like to tell my kids to give till it hurts, and then give some more. C.S. Lewis is known around our house for the Chronicles of Narnia stories, but he has wise words about giving, too. He put it well: “The only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. ... If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them.”

In this season of Lent, as we think on an incredible sacrifice, I would encourage you think of some amount of your PFD you can do without, and share those resources with less fortunate Alaskans.

The last day to apply for your PFD and participate in Pick.Click.Give is March 31, which happens to be Easter Sunday. Celebrate the promise of spring and new life, and create happiness for yourself and others by giving a little bit of your dividend to others.

Mead Treadwell was elected lieutenant governor of Alaska in 2010.

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