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Tax Breaks & Benefits: How the Gift of Giving Comes Full Circle

The holidays are a time of reflection that inspire multitudes of people to reach out to those who are in need. As the old year ends and a new one begins, we’re reminded of the blessings and benefits we’ve received in the past year, and many of us feel the desire to help others get ahead in the year to come.

Donating to charity is a wonderful way to give back to the people who are the most deserving. Here at Save the Children we feel all children are deserving of good nutrition, good education, and a good start in life. While donating to children certainly comes with the warm fuzzies, there are also more quantifiable benefits to donating to charity – including health benefits and tax benefits. The end of the year is a sign that tax season is right around the corner, and in order to qualify for tax deductions for the current calendar year, you must make your yearly giving contributions by December 31st.

If you’re thinking of making a year-end holiday donation, here are three steps to take advantage of the tax benefits of donating to charity.

2-year-old AJ snacks on an orange slice to promote Healthy Choices on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in Clay Country, Kentucky.1. Research and Itemize
The first step to receiving a tax benefit on your donations is to itemize carefully. There’s a specific section of your tax returns that is dedicated to listing your itemized deductions. A helpful tip for itemization is to keep track of each charitable donation you’ve made throughout the year by holding onto any receipts and documentation. A spreadsheet can make this process easier at tax time, especially if you make lots of donations throughout the year.

Secondly, it’s also important to do your research on the charity of your choice. The organization you’re donating to must fall under the guidelines put in place by the IRS in order to qualify for deductions. You can find a full list of qualifying guidelines on the IRS website. You may also want to research the charity on watchdog websites, such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Great Nonprofits (spoiler alert: Save the Children has high ratings on all of these sites!).

2. Check Your Limits and Know Your Expectations
Donating a percentage of your income is a great way to receive tax breaks in April; however, there are limits to the number of charitable deductions you can receive. Typically, this number is capped depending on your income. Rates fluctuate each year, depending on the state of the economy at the time. However, limits tend to fall within the 20%-50% threshold of yearly gross income. It’s also important to know that charitable deductions vary widely based on income. This amount is typically averaged around 3%-6% of a person’s adjusted gross income.

3. Save the Date
As mentioned before, contributions must be made before December 31st in the current calendar year in order to qualify for deductions in the following year’s tax season, so make sure your contribution counts!In order for a deduction to qualify, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your donation has to be taken out of your bank account during the current calendar year. For instance, text message contributions (when you text a code that adds a certain amount to your phone bill) count as long as the text was made prior to January 1st.Credit and debit card charges are acceptable as long as the transaction is made by the end of the year, even if they’re not paid before the end of the year. This also applies to checks that are written and postmarked by the end of the year, even if they’re not cashed until after January 1st.

Making a Difference

2017 Hurricane Harvey- Child Friendly SpaveAs you get into the spirit of giving this holiday season, take a moment to ensure that your donations are contributing the greatest benefit for the causes you care about most. The gift of giving always comes full circle and generosity can be infectious.

If you’re hoping to contribute to a good cause before the end of the year, please consider the children around the world who need your help. Not only would your donation benefit countless children, but you’ll also receive the added benefit of a legitimate tax deduction. With your donation, Save the Children has been able to make meaningful impacts for more than 157 million children around the world, including preventing newborn deaths in Bangladesh, responding to 131 emergencies, giving refugee families food and healthcare, and providing healthy choices in after school programs in 10 states.

Now is your chance to make a difference in the world around you. Get involved and join the cause. Each child around the world deserves a bright future. Donate today to help give a healthy start in life to the children around the world who need it.

The Health Benefits You’ll Receive by Donating to Charity

The season of giving is upon us once again and it’s time to jump back into the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The gift of giving is a wonderful feeling. It’s a happy moment seeing the smile on your loved one’s face as they open each gift you’ve picked out just for them. However, studies show that giving has added health benefits for the giver. Moreover, there are a variety of ways that those who give charitable donations can reap added (and surprising) health benefits while helping those in need.

Whether we are offering emotional support for loved ones, volunteering our time to assist an organization, or donating money to charity, there are more ways to enjoy the health benefits of giving than simply shopping for the perfect gift. Giving to a charity may also help boost your physical health and mental well-being.

Check out these reasons that demonstrate how giving is good for you!

Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Donating is a selfless act. One of the major positive effects of donating money to charity is simply feeling good about yourself. Being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth. Instead of putting money toward a gift someone may look at once and never use again, you can donate that money to a charity in need on your loved one’s behalf or send a symbolic gift (check out Save the Children’s gift catalog for ideas). This leads to a feeling of self-worth knowing that you’re offering much-needed resources to a great cause for those in need. As an added benefit, you and your loved one will both feel good about giving back to others.

Positive Moods and Low Depression Rates

With positive self-esteem and self-worth comes a genuinely more optimistic mood and outlook on life. Studies show that donating money to charity has been proven to have a positive impact on the brain. These effects are similar to activities people usually associate with joy and happiness such as eating, exercising, or affectionate gestures like giving someone a hug. Different chemical reactions can lead to an ongoing pattern of improved mental health and well-being. Keep this in mind the next time you’re having a bad day and need something uplifting to draw from. Donating can help better somebody else’s life and lead to a healthier you.

Longer Life Expectancy

As much joy as the holiday season brings, it also brings with it a great deal of stress. It’s no surprise that stress, depression, and anxiety can lead to a number health issues, headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure (which affects 30% of all Americans). One of the reasons why giving is good for you is that it acts as a way to de-stress your everyday life. With the simple act of charitable giving, not only are you assisting the world as a whole, but you receive the added benefit of a more relaxed holiday season. As an added bonus, some studies show that the gift of giving and unselfishness is an altruistic personality trait that is closely aligned with people who live longer.

Improving the World Community

We’re all trying to make the world a better place. The holidays are a time where we can appreciate the people and causes we hold dear. One person’s charitable giving can help the greater good of humanity, positively impacting more people than a giver may ever comprehend their donation could reach. In many parts of the world, others are not so fortunate. Charitable communities help foster a happier and healthier world by improving the quality of life for those around us as a whole.

Make a Difference

The gift of giving always comes full circle. Giving is receiving and generosity is contagious. So, the next time you’re thinking about treating yourself, instead remember the positive benefits on your health that donating to charity can bring about, as well as the positive change you can help bring about around the world. Why not start now? Get involved and join the cause. We believe every child around the world deserves a bright future. Make a donation to Save the Children today to help give a healthy start in life to the children who need it most this holiday season.

“I’m a hero because I’m… smart!”

Malachi Blog - USP -1
Save the Children USA

May 17, 2017

In Southern Kentucky, 7-year-old Malachi is excited to send a personal note to his sponsor. This thoughtful little boy puts a lot of heart into the words he chooses. “I’m a hero because I’m… smart!” he writes. He then adds a colorful drawing of his mother, wearing a pink cape — an example of his very own super hero.

Growing up in Kentucky has not been easy for Malachi and his mother. Their small, rural community struggles with the all too familiar challenges of poverty – lack of teachers and materials for quality schooling, few jobs that pay a living wage, and high unemployment.

With his teacher’s help, Malachi is able to practice reading and get the writing support he needs to thrive.
With his teacher’s help, Malachi is able to practice reading and get the writing support he needs to thrive.

Malachi is lucky, however. He has a very close relationship with his mom – a single mother who is working her hardest to create a good life for her family. She has been able to find jobs, but their two-person family has faced significant financial setbacks in recent years, and she cannot meet his basic needs. On top of this, Malachi has had difficulties focusing on his studies in school.

But while they may not have many material possessions, they are grateful for the richness of the love they share and their strong bond. Malachi’s mom has been an advocate for Malachi and a strong supporter of his education.

“Malachi has expressed how much he enjoys the after-school program. I feel that he is safe and well taken care of,” says his mother. “I have to work, and it gives me a chance to better our lives.”

Before being sponsored two years ago, Malachi was tracking behind the average literacy expectations for kids his age. He didn’t always turn in his homework and struggled to focus in the classroom, more than his peers.

Since joining the sponsorship program, his word recognition, basic literacy skills and reading comprehension have all shown improvement. Paying attention in class is no longer a struggle.

-Check out that big smile! Thanks to sponsorship, Malachi now loves to read – and it shows!
Check out that big smile! Thanks to sponsorship, Malachi now loves to read – and it shows!

“After-school I go to Bulldog Club,” said Malachi, beaming. “My favorite thing to do there is read!” Malachi’s favorite books are about dinosaurs and he takes great pride in the fact that he can now read confidently.

The after-school program is funded by sponsorship and includes reading practice, writing support and listening to stories read aloud. Malachi’s mother is just one of many parents who has seen the after-school program make a significant difference to her children and in their close-knit community.

Save the Children’s literacy program helps give children growing up in America’s poorest communities a the opportunity to learn. Children in these places have the potential to improve their knowledge and boost their confidence — the stepping stones for a successful future.

For the Mothers and Babies of Abnoub

Author Portrait_Samar Abdel Fattah, Health Worker
Samar Abdel Fattah

Health Worker

Save the Children in Egypt

May 3, 2017

25-year-old Samar lives in Abnoub, Egypt and worked as an unpaid volunteer for the Community Development Association for Orphan Care, known locally as CDAOC, for a full year. However, she felt that she could do even more to help children in need. She wanted to prove herself and also showcase the work she was already doing to help local children. She took on a number of health projects initiated and funded by local foundations and government entities, including the Ministry of State for Family and Population Affairs. In these projects she conducted health-awareness campaigns, for example spreading messages on the importance of keeping a clean home and properly disposing of garbage to reduce the spread of disease, among community members.

Samar conducting a training with local nurses.
Samar conducting a training with local nurses.

Despite her efforts to document and share her successes, Samar didn’t feel that her work was well recognized. Until one day, the senior supervisor of health projects from Save the Children paid her a visit. Samar jumped at the opportunity to connect with the organization. She introduced him to her work, and he went on to spread those successes in improving health and hygiene in communities to other governorates all over the country. After that, when Save the Children was looking to select new health program team members, they chose CDAOC to partner with and specifically reached out to Samar.

Samar began conducting workshops to train female village leaders, community representatives, mothers and nurses on Sponsorship’s evidence-based and innovative programs, which spread health messages to local women using tools like educational videos and play-acting to keep them engaged. Topics include how to recognize dangers signs during pregnancy, the health benefits of breastfeeding infants, the importance of vaccination, basic first-aid for accidents in the home, and much more.

Samar with participants of one of her health sessions, and their children who will surely benefit!
Samar with participants of one of her health sessions, and their children who will surely benefit!

She also received trainings in what Sponsorship calls “Kangaroo Mother Care”, an initiative which imitates the way the kangaroo carries her baby. This improves mother-to-child attachment, providing newborns with continuous affection and tenderness that aids in a healthy upbringing. Through these sessions and other trainings, Samar learned how to examine a new-born child, as well as deliver community- and home-based meetings for pregnant women and mothers of newborns on skills for the healthy nutrition and care of their babies.

Today, Samar feels fulfilled in her life. She is now a certified trainer of the Assiut Health Directorate, thanks to her work with Save the Children, and possesses countless health certificates. Her name glows next to the names of university professors, doctors and hospital managers on training materials that are shared nation-wide. We are very proud to have her as a partner!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Firas* sits with his daughter, Layla*, five, at an abandoned petrol station where he and his family now live. .The petrol station, badly damaged by war, is now the home of five families who have returned to Tel Abiad district, Raqqa Governorate, Syria, after fleeing from ISIS two years earlier only to find their homes destroyed.

The day the Syrian war becomes longer than World War II

Originally published on Devex.com  

After six years of war, people were weary and on edge. Neighborhoods were hardly recognizable. Fresh food was a luxury that no one had. Schools were closed or moved elsewhere. Children’s bodies displayed pealing burns that only a bomb could cause. Nearly everyone knew someone who had been killed.

It’s hard to know whether I’m describing the end of World War II, or Syria today. Both wars battered entire generations of people, but one notable date separates these two horrific events. Today inexcusably begins the seventh year of the war in Syria, and on Friday, the war in Syria will become longer than World War II.

Sadly, the psychological toll of war is one of the greatest similarities between the two and will have the longest lasting impact in Syria, just as it did after WWII. We need to invest more in psychosocial support and make another concerted effort to convince all sides to end the violence.

Daily exposure to the kind of traumatic events that Syrian children face will likely lead to a rise in long-term mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and social anxiety. Living in a constant state of fear can create a condition known as “toxic stress,” which, if left untreated, can have a life-long impact on children’s mental and physical health. Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child reports that toxic stress can disrupt the development of the brain and other organs and increase the risk of stress-related diseases, heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, depression and deep-rooted emotional scars.

Among the 3.5 million Jewish people who survived World War II in Europe, and the 183,000 people who survived the atomic bomb blasts in Japan, many are known to have suffered from physical and psychological problems decades after the fighting ended. Research done by the Never Ever Again organization in Scotland even shows that the grandchildren of Holocaust and bomb survivors have experienced secondary and transgenerational trauma.

A new study conducted by Save the Children inside Syria shows that people are feeling the psychological effects of war: 84 percent of adults and almost all children said that ongoing bombing and shelling is the number one cause of psychological stress in children’s daily lives. And 48 percent of adults have seen children who have lost their ability to speak or suffer from speech impediments as a result of living in such a dangerous and uncertain environment.

A teacher we work with in the besieged town of Madaya told us that children are psychologically crushed and tired. “When we do activities like singing with them, they don’t react at all, they don’t laugh like they would normally. They draw images of children being butchered in the war, or tanks, or the siege and lack of food.”

Another teacher told us that children have been so traumatized they express wishing they were dead because at least heaven would be warm and would offer food and a place to be safe and play.

While the world has clearly not learned the lessons of past wars in many respects, as the war in Syria continues, one lesson we can learn from World War II is the importance of addressing psychosocial issues among children early and often.

U.N. Security Council members, and other countries that have been unable to bring warring sides to the negotiation table, need to increase investments in mental health care inside the country and insist that all sides agree to a minimum set of measures to ensure the protection and safety of children in Syria.

Programs that support children’s resilience and well-being must also be given special attention and additional funding. Children are incredibly resilient but only if they are given the proper outlets and tools to recover and thrive. Programs to support parents could also help children feel more supported.

Finally, relatively small investments to train teachers and school personnel in conflict sensitive approaches to education, such as art therapy, would yield positive results now and into the future.

In the U.S., Congress should take such critical investments into consideration as it determines the 2017 international affairs budget. Cuts now will hurt Syria’s children in the short and long term.

Children who survived World War II in Europe and Asia went on to become Nobel laureates, actors, scientists, fashion designers, teachers and more. Syrian children hold the same potential, but as the war drags into its seventh year, individuals and leaders must summon the will and the means to support children during this horrible time.

Communities Take Ownership

Author Portrait_Yamileh Théodore, Sponsorship Operations Officer
Yamileh Théodore

Sponsorship Operations Officer

Save the Children in Haiti

February 24, 2017

Sponsorship’s ultimate goal is always to prepare the communities to be able to continue our programs on their own one day, without Save the Children’s support. As we are now about halfway through our planned time in Dessalines, from arriving in 2012 to our planned exit from the community in 2020, we want to make sure that the capacities of the communities and schools we work with are strengthening.

A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.
A child participating in one of our summer camp activities, making art from recyclables.

One aspect of our work through which we can assess the success of our programs is by the local summer camps, which were started thanks to Sponsorship funding. Week long camps this year welcomed more than 600 girls and boys from ages 7 to 16. Kids received lessons in arts and crafts on skills like making floral arrangements, macramé and ways to recycle trash into art. Children also benefited from sessions on health and hygiene topics, for example how to identify nutritious foods or, for adolescents, how to maintain their sexual and reproductive health.

These camps also provided an opportunity for the school council members, representatives from the local government, trained teachers and volunteers from the community to demonstrate the skills gained through trainings provided by Sponsorship. Save the Children in Haiti program staff watched as camp activities unfolded – both camp facilitators and children were eager to share all they had learned. For the adults present, it was clear they shared great interest and a common sense of duty and responsibility to ensure that the highest standards are maintained for educating the local children.

 Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.
Children performing a song during the closing ceremony for the summer camps.

The camps closing ceremony was the perfect moment for the participants and actors to express their joy with the summer camps and likewise the good work Save the Children is doing throughout the community. It was agreed on by everyone that next summer the camps would continue, and the community happily offered to lead in taking ownership in running the camps this time. We look forward to a smooth and efficient transition of activities!

Your sponsorship supports your child’s growth and development and empowers community members to sustain the work we’ve started. For our sponsors of children in Dessalines, we hope you continue with us on this journey through the end of 2020 – when our programs will be solely run by community members and we will move on to other areas in need in Haiti.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

The Day of the African Child

Author Portrait_Memory Mwathengere, Quality Communications Officer Memory Mwathengere

Quality Communications Officer

Save the Children in Malawi

January 19, 2017

For many people, the 16th of June represents a special day every year, as the Day of the African Child. This day has been celebrated since 1991, originally honoring the South African children who marched against the government in their mission to receive a better quality education. Today, celebrations are held every year in all African countries with the aim of raising awareness on the challenges children currently face across the African continent. Themes for the celebration are chosen on an annual basis. The 2016 theme was Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting All Children’s Rights.

The aim of this theme was to elevate the child protection agenda in conflict situations in Africa, as well as generally furthering the well-being of the African child.

A group of teens presenting with the large crowd behind them.
A group of teens presenting with the large crowd behind them.

The commemoration took place at a Sponsorship-supported primary school. Save the Children, together with other stakeholders such as local youth groups, universities and government partners, supported the day’s activities, and it was a very flamboyant event! The day started with a street march led by a police band, who walked from the community’s trading center to the school grounds where the celebrations would take place. The brass ensemble, clad in their standard khaki outfits, pulled crowds to the ceremony as they played in beautiful rhythm. All around gathered many spectators and children, visibly dressed in the Day of African Child t-shirts Save the Children had provided.

Children while watching the days festivities
Children while watching the days festivities.

Though it was scorching hot, it did not quench the children’s excitement. Songs were sang, plays were staged and their voices were heard. Teenagers in particular had fun role-playing for the crowd to demonstrate the harsh realities many children face. The messages from the children were clear: stop abduction and killing children with albinism, protect children from hunger, stop sexual abuse of children during crisis. Government representatives and stakeholders pledged their support in protecting and promoting the rights of children, and the children joined them in their commitment as partners for the future.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

 

Uli and His Dream of a Better Future for His Daughter

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Malini Ribut Setiawati Febriliani Lalo

Project Assistant

Save the Children in Indonesia

January 12, 2017

Life in Weihura, Wanukaka may not be easy for Uli, a hard working farmer. Yet he never fails to welcome each day with a smile. With that gap toothed smile, he shows his daughter how to appreciate simple beauties in the midst of life’s difficulties. Ignoring his constantly sore back from ploughing the paddy fields, he still carries his four-year-old little girl, Tika, on his shoulders to kindergarten. “I want all my children to be well-educated so they can have a better future. There is no future without education. I will do whatever it takes for them to get the education that they need,” he said enthusiastically.

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Sponsorship staff member Malini meeting with Uli to hear about his experience in parenting classes.

Uli is one of the many parents who has seen the kindergarten in his community make a big difference in his child’s life. It is one of the kindergartens in which Save the Children implements its early learning programs, thanks to Sponsorship funds. This Sponsorship program includes trainings for teachers, the provision of teaching and learning materials, and even parenting classes for the parents. Uli enjoys his daily routine of taking his beautiful daughther Tika to school and picking her up afterwards. For Uli, nurturing and taking care of children is not just a mother’s responsibility, but also a father’s. At home, Tika always shares her endless stories about her activities at school with him. Uli always wonders what his daughter will learn the following day, and is always ready to hear about it. Will it be singing, dancing, or making crafts? Will she sit on his lap and show him her drawing? He tells Sponsorship staff, “Tika learns much faster now as they have learning materials available at school. Her teachers also know well how to treat children and how to learn and play with them.”

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Eli’s daughter, four-year-old Tika.

On certain days, Uli attends parenting classes with other parents at school. In these classes, he learns how to communicate with his children in a better way. He used to get angry very easily with them even at their small requests. Now he has found himself more patient and communicative. He has also found that Tika is getting closer to him. They now spend time after school playing together. There is no longer fear on Tika’s face every time she comes to him for a question. He has learned how to explain things to her very gently, “It is redemptive to experience the better connection between Tika and I. I feel like I am a good father to her,” he proudly said with a big smile on his face.

Thanks to our sponsors, parents like Uli in Indonesia are learning how to better connect with their children each day, not just in terms of their learning but also emotionally. Building the relationship between fathers and daughters is so important, not only in the places where Sponsorship works but also here in the US. Do you have a special father-daughter memory you can share with us?

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Meet Mikenzie: All Smiles Because of Sponsorship!

Child Portrait_Mikenzie, Sponsored ChildRebecca Poehler

Program Operations Coordinator

Save the Children U.S. Programs

January 5, 2017

Mikenzie is a happy first grader who participates in our in-school literacy and Sponsorship programs. Mikenzie usually has a smile on her face, but when she receives a letter from her sponsor this causes an even brighter smile to appear! She loves receiving letters in the mail and keeps them in a memory box at home. The encouragement and praise she hears from her sponsor about her schoolwork has had a big impact on her confidence.

Mikenzie had some anxiety related to reading and had been diagnosed with dyslexia before participating in our literacy program. Through the in-school program, she has discovered a love of reading and now has a drive to learn new words and challenge herself. Her current favorite book is “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss, but she hopes to learn to read “big, hard books.” Mikenzie’s teacher has seen a difference in the classroom with her reading fluency and her confidence.

Mikenzie playing a math game.
Mikenzie playing a math game.
 

Mikenzie’s mom reports that Mikenzie cannot wait to get to school. She now has a love for learning that her mom has never seen before. The Save the Children program also provided much needed support when Mikenzie recently lost her grandmother, whom she was very close to. When asked what changes she’s seen in Mikenzie since she began participating in Save the Children programs, her mom says, “I never knew it was possible but she smiles more.” The Save the Children literacy and Sponsorship programs have helped Mikenzie develop a love of reading and learning, provided a strong support system and boosted her confidence.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Make the world great for all of our children

refugeekids_getty_0

Originally published on thehill.com

In the weeks following the election, when many of the divisions in our nation have come to the forefront, it has become clear that we need to find ways to bring Americans of diverse viewpoints together around issues we all care about. A divided America will not be made great again no matter how much we might wish it to be unless we focus on the foundation of our future: our children.

In my work for Save the Children over the last 18 years, I have visited children and families in more than 80 countries and across dozens of states. The desire of parents to give their children a healthy and safe childhood and an education that helps them gain the skills they need to find jobs and happiness is something I have seen in all corners of the world. Whether living in a wealthy suburb in America, a poor rural town, or in a refugee camp in the Middle East, the biggest sacrifices parents and communities often make are for our children.

We have a lot of work to do for kids here in America. Visiting a literacy program in rural Mississippi this October, I met children struggling with basic reading but who were making progress thanks to extra support for books and technology and caring teachers and specialists. Yet one in four children in the United States never learns to read. That’s 25 percent of our future parents, leaders, and workers. According to the Council for Advancement of Adult Literacy, as of 2011, America was the only free-market OECD country where the current generation was less educated than the previous one. Schools in poor neighborhoods of the United States are, and have been for decades, woefully under-resourced with too few books, no access to computers, and where parents are unemployed, or are working far from home. Kids in these communities are working against long odds and we need to put funding into these schools and provide parents with paths to real employment.

A brighter future for America must mean a better future for our poorest kids. In Mississippi, I met families – white and black – living in the toughest conditions you can imagine in a state that voted solidly for Donald Trump. These are the families that are truly disenfranchised and hoping that change in the White House will bring better opportunities for their children.

Last month, I also visited Jordan, a country that has taken on an enormous number of refugees from the Syrian crisis. More than 650,000 Syrian refugees, half of them under the age of 18, are living in Jordan – in refugee camps, or in poor communities where residents are often struggling, too. Jordan is working hard to meet its international obligations to refugees from neighboring countries, and the United States provides significant foreign aid for refugee programs there. Funding is used to feed young refugee children, to provide them with a chance to get back into school after years of being away from home, and on vocational training for Syrian youth to give them hope for a productive future.

This funding from the United States is critical for a country in the Middle East like Jordan, on the frontlines of a refugee crisis and doing its best to meet its responsibilities, and which exists in a complicated neighborhood. It is also essential if we are to avoid a lost generation of young people who eventually can help put their country on a better path to the future. The good news is that the cost is tiny in relation to the overall federal budget, with all foreign assistance to all countries of the world adding up to less than 1 percent of the U.S. federal budget. When I speak with Americans, they agree that programs for young Syrian refugees is one of the right things – and the smart things – on which to spend our small foreign assistance budget. They often donate to our work as private citizens, adding to the funding from the U.S. government to make those dollars go further.

There will always be people trying to divide humanity up into various formations of “us” and “them” – whether by race, nationality, class or geography. But in my work, I’ve seen people break down these barriers in the interests of children. We can help children both in the United States and around the world, and we must. A focus on making America – and the world – great again for every last child would be a lasting legacy for the new administration and something around which we could all support proudly. To make a safe and secure future for us all, we need not choose “our” children over “other” children. Many stand ready to help on this effort that unifies us rather than divides us, as parents and as humans.