Super Smash Bros, some YouTuber “merch,” and a Bright Hope Coin

My heart skips a beat when I look at my kids. Time is going by so fast, and they are growing up right before my eyes. I feel an urgency to hurry up and teach them everything they need to know to be happy and successful in life.

It makes me feel reflective. What do I want for these three as they leave our home? Success? Happiness? A good job and a loving family of their own? Yes, of course, all of this and so much more. But more than anything, I want my kids to be committed followers of Christ. Christians who care about the world around them. People who put the needs of others before their own. Leaders with a vision that casts outside of their own neighborhood.

Let’s be honest, though. Those are challenging things to teach.

So, can I tell you how delighted I was when my 9-year old came to me with his birthday list? He asked for Super Smash Bros for his Nintendo Switch, some “merch” from his favorite YouTuber, and—here’s where it took an unexpected turn—another Bright Hope Coin. (Imagine me—one hand over my heart, the other across my forehead as I proudly bask in this moment and congratulate myself, for sure I’ve done something right as a mother for him to ask for another chance to help the poor in place of a gift for himself!)

The Bright Hope Coin

Several weeks ago, I’d purchased a Bright Hope Coin. When it arrived in the mail, I set it aside for a few days. On a Saturday, I brought my 9-year old, Josiah, over to my desk. Showing him the coin, I explained that it worked like a gift card and could be redeemed on different programs supported by Bright Hope that help the poor become self-sustainable. The coin I purchased was valued at $25. That meant he could redeem it on $25 worth of programs that help those living in extreme poverty.

I asked Josiah, “If our family was really poor and had to skip meals regularly, would you prefer if someone gave us enough food to last a few days, or would you prefer they gave us some seeds and gardening tools and taught us how to grow and sell vegetables?” After he was done joking (“Why vegetables? Couldn’t they teach me how to bake a pizza instead?”), he concluded it would be much better to learn how to grow food that would always be available than to only have food that would last a day or two. Exactly. He was catching on fast.

Redeeming the coin was a meaningful experience

Then we looked through Bright Hope’s online catalog. We saw chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats. There are food bundles, school lunches, and dinners for seniors, microenterprise opportunities to fund, water pumps to repair, and gardens to plant. Get the idea? It’s a little like a buffet of ways to help the poor. And Josiah loved it.

We read over the options once and then went back to review them again. And then a third time. In the end, Josiah liked the idea of selecting a food bundle so a family could eat right away, and also some chickens that would allow them to start a business that would supply them with food and a small income-generating business for years to come. As his mom, I couldn’t have been happier with the thought behind his selections.

When we were done, I put the coin in his hand and told him to keep it and remember to pray for the poor and be thankful for what he has.

Had our Bright Hope Coin experience ended there, I would have been pleased. But then he approached me with his birthday list, and I was floored he wanted to do it again.

A fantastic gift idea

Parent to parent, can I make a suggestion? As you make out your holiday shopping list this year, consider giving a Bright Hope Coin to anyone on your list who has a teachable spirit and would benefit from the opportunity to learn how easy—and rewarding—it can be to help the poor. We can all agree that it’s not easy to come up with practical and engaging ways to teach our kids to be compassionate and generous. The Bright Hope Coin is a fun way to do this. And it’s reasonably affordable. (You can get one for as little as $25, and since you are actually making a donation, your purchase is tax-deductible.) As you do your holiday shopping this year, I strongly encourage you to give a Bright Hope Coin—and make a significant impact in both the life of the coin recipient and the extreme poor.

You can learn more about the Bright Hope Coin when you visit the website.

Leslee Baron
Leslee Baron

My position at Bright Hope has expanded my worldview and passion to help those living in extreme poverty. Being able to use my gifts to help those living on less than $2/day is not just fulfilling, but also an honor and a privilege.