April 20, 2010. People around the world were glued to their TV’s as hundreds of millions of gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. For Olivia Bouler, then age 11 and an aspiring ornithologist and artist, her first thoughts went to the countless birds that would be impacted. Immediately, Bouler set out to do something about it. In a letter to the National Audubon society she introduced herself as “11 years old and willing to help…” and proposed a fundraising idea where she would create paintings and drawings to distribute to people who donated to wildlife recovery efforts in the wake of the tragedy. A little more than a year later, her efforts helped to raise $200,000, which was used to establish a volunteer center for bird cleaning in Moss Point, Miss.
For Bouler, now 14, the importance of young people giving in a community cannot be overstated.
“I think that people our age are still learning and growing. We haven’t been told that everything is impossible yet, because we haven’t had the level of responsibility and reality that adults have to face every day,” she stated.
Bouler’s stand-out effort begs an important question: How can adults support children — including young people with limited resources — to be philanthropic?
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