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Adventures in Giving

‘Tis the season of giving, but most of the time during the holidays kids are consumed with thoughts about what they are getting. One answer: hand your youngsters Charity Checks, along with whatever else you deem appropriate. Our guess: your children will remember the Charity Checks and their turns as secret Santas long after the sweaters have been handed down or the ice skates outgrown.

Like gift certificates, you select the cash value and give the Charity Checks to your children (or other relative, friends, or business colleagues.) Instead of spending the designated amount themselves, the recipients select the organization to receive the money, choosing from any of the 1.8 million IRS approved charities and exempt organizations.

With a Charity Check, you switch the holiday focus from acquiring toward contributing. “Gift certificates,” says Lisa Sonne, Charity Checks co-founder with husband Victor Dorff, “can buy goods. Giving certificates can do good.”

Charity Checks are available in denominations of $25-$250. "Watching a child decide where to donate a $25 Giving Certificate is wonderfully fulfilling,” says Victor Dorff, co-founder with his wife Lisa Sonne of Charity Checks.

“We originally thought kids might resent not being able to spend the money on themselves, “ says Dorff, “but that's not usually what happens. Whether they decide to help feed a family, save an animal, or cure a disease, kids feel empowered when they know they have really made a difference. And that's how young philanthropists are born."

Notes Sonne, “I just had a woman call me this week who has been using Charity Checks for Hanukkah gifts for her family for many years and she said her sister looks forward to getting the envelope each year and she looks forward to talking to family members about their causes. ”

As the purchaser of a Charity Check, you receive the charitable tax deduction. You can order Charity Checks online or go to their Web site and print the order form. There are additional fees for shipping and handling. For questions—not to order—call 800-854-5601.

Even with a Charity Check your kids are still likely to crave the newest Nintendo or PlayStation; however, your gift of enabling them to give reinforces generosity and caring –the real holiday ideals—and, hopefully, sparks a life-long interest in helping

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