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Worker for the World: Khavul/Westhoff Family

Worker for the World: Khavul/Westhoff Family
Becky Ewer

The Khavul/Westhoff family (parents Mike and Gina and children Leah (2nd grade), Miriam (K), and Raya (preschool) recently organized a successful home-grown fundraiser - a pop-up hot chocolate stand to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. Read on to learn more about this great project!

Q: How did you come up with the idea to create your own fundraiser? 
A: The girls often come home full of inspiration to take on a project or share with us about an idea they had at school. This one happened to be focused on tzedakah and felt doable with a little help from us. The idea was to sell hot chocolate to raise money for charity and over the following days we ironed out the details, collected supplies, got the word out, and set up the stand. The response was great and we raised almost $200.

Q: What made you choose to support the Ronald McDonald House? 
A: The girls decided helping kids who were sick would be a great option. Mom is a cancer doctor and the notion of kids who are really sick was something they could fully get and the website had a great promotional video, too. 

Q: In what other ways are you involved in community service?
A: The girls give tzedakah before dinner on Friday nights and then every year they decide where to donate the money that has built up. We also discuss with our kids the donations we make and organizations we support. We try to always contribute to the PJA drive of the month, even though I often don’t remember to bring it in until the last day! 

Q: How have you found ways to incorporate young children in working for the world?
A: I think we have the most success when they are doing the work or making the decisions.  They are very good at doing some of the actual work, like packing lunches, and they enjoy deciding which items to donate or which organization to support.

Q: What advice do you have for families with young children who want to do more for the community?
A: Like with everything when you have young kids it’s about managing expectations and making it easy. For instance, pick just one thing that you or your kids care about and an easy way to get involved. The refugee boxes (a PJA effort to provide household items for refugees arriving in Portland) was an easy example. We talked about our family history which got them interested in helping, then they liked picking out the items to put in the box, and finally they got to be in charge of packing the box. And still sometimes it ends up being a disaster and I just do it myself and that’s ok, too, I think.