Children learn blessings of giving

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The four-year-old team captains of the Mothers Day Out Heart Walk team at First Baptist Church are possibly the youngest captains of any American Heart Walk team.

And, they are probably among the most inspiring captains.

Betty Bateman, program director, believes that children should learn at an early age to do for others.

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She also believes that pennies save lives when they are used for research into killer diseases and the discovery of new treatments and the development of medical techniques.

Bateman knows that heart disease is a major killer of Americans today and that children need to learn at an early age the importance of a healthy heart.

“Each year, Mothers Day Out participates in the Pike County Heart Walk as a team and our four-year-olds act as team captains,” Bateman said.

To prepare the children to “captain” the team, they learn about the heart and the importance of keeping it healthy.

“They learn that that they need to eat healthy and exercise so their hearts will be healthy,” Bateman said.

“But they also learn that there are people whose hearts get sick and, when they do, the money we give to the Heart Walk helps them to get better.”

The children understand that that by giving to the Heart Walk, they are helping people with sick hearts get better and they are willing and eager to earn money to give.

“I want the children to earn the money that they give,” Bateman said.

“When they earn the money themselves, it means much more when they give.”

Bateman said a note goes home with the children explaining about the Heart Walk fundraising project.

And the response from the parents is enthusiastic.

“The parents and children come up with ideas of things that they can do to earn money, not for themselves, but to help others,” Bateman said.

The chores the children do include helping with the dishes, taking out the trash, picking up their toys and helping with yard work.

“When they are paid for their chores, the children put the money in a big jar and watch with great excitement as the jar fills.

But it’s not just the four-year-olds who participate in the Pike County Heart Walk fundraising campaign.

All of the other children at Mothers Day Out are invited to participate by making a donation.

Each child who makes a donation has a heart with his or her name on it placed on the Heart board in the downstairs area.

“Last year, the children at Mothers Day Out raised $1,244 for the Heart Walk,” Bateman said.

“That was the most ever and we’re hoping that this year will be do just as good. It is a joy for us to give.”