Grandparents teach their grandkids the goodness of service above self

What happens when two young sisters ages 13 and 10 team up with their grandparents to invest their time and creativity to better the lives of families affected by homelessness? Not a one-time act of generosity, but rather a habit of generosity for eight consecutive years and counting!

Since 2008, thirteen-year-old Anna and her ten-year-old sister Mara have invested hundreds of hours befriending and inviting scores of children to donate pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to Wellspring’s Kids Helping Kids campaign.  

Their attitude of gratitude was inspired by their grandparents, Einer and Marilyn Handeland. Einer, a retired civil engineer, has been a loyal, longtime member of Seattle #4 Rotary, which, along with many generous individuals, families, and organizations,  “built” Wellspring’s current offices on Rainier Ave. South.

For freely demonstrating generous, selfless acts, Anna and Mara received the 2016 Kids Helping Kids Child Philanthropy Award. Both girls were accompanied by mother Leslie and brother CJ and, of course, their beloved grandparents affectionately known as Grammy and Powpow.

Whether it’s running thriving lemonade stands, helping host a Caspar Babypants concert, or selling dahlias grown by Einer, both girls’ gestures of generosity have already produced priceless life lessons.

Says Mara, “One of the most meaningful things is to spend time with Grammy and Powpow—and helping other children. I love being around them. I love inspiring them to give.”

“I love to see both girls give back,” says Einer. “Rotary’s motto is ‘Service above self,’ and that’s what Mara and Anna are learning every time they hand out a hundred metal tins and invite kids their own age at a Seattle Storm women’s professional basketball game to support the families Wellspring serves. My wife and I look for ways to give to others. I love helping our granddaughters do the same."

To which Anna says, “Giving has changed us. To give helps us and helps other people. It helps us to be better people.” 

Learn more about Wellspring's Kids Helping Kids campaign