As a part of the #gomighty4kids campaign I’ve been working on with Next Generation, I knew I wanted to take the opportunity to teach my kid about charity while we were finding new ways to spend time together and expand her horizons. I had an amazing time taking her to buy toys to donate to toys for tots for the holidays, and I definitely think she understood the giving spirit by picking out toys for other children rather than herself, but I hoped that there was another way we could explore charitable giving on a level that makes sense to a four year old.

We live in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, a neighborhood that at one time was all orchards and orange groves as far as the eye could see. It’s earth still yields some amazing fruit – almost every yard in the suburban parts of town has a veritable farm of fruits and veggies. Since the trees tend to produce more fruit than any one family could possibly eat there are services that will come to your house and harvest your trees for charity or profit, but more often than not the fruit ends up on rotting on the grass or scavenged by squirrels. Well not on our watch…at least not for a day or two.

With all the kids home from school and the weather still in the 80s (leaving plenty of fruit still in bloom, believe it or not) my little lady and I strolled through our neighborhood offering to pick fruit from our neighbors trees before donating it to our local food bank for the holidays. The sweat equity and the discussion of who would be eating our donated bounty and why took the concept of charity to a whole new level for my little girl. There really are few joys greater than doing something for someone else, and I think my daughter learned that in more ways than one this holiday season.

Getting to work with Next Generation and The Clinton Foundation, not to mention Go Mighty on the Too Small To Fail campaign has been an incredible blessing. I learned so much about what it takes to truly invest in the next generation — all of it, not just our own children — and I feel like my perspective has forever changed. Working to communicate the message that quality time and reading to your children is just as necessary to their growth and development as feeding them and changing their diapers is something I will never stop doing. Both in my own community and every community I am lucky enough to come into contact with through this big bad internet. Viva Community!