For Taylor Kaye, her husband Greg and their three daughters, giving back is family affair—both during the holidays and year-round. Read on to see how the Kayes bring a spirit of giving into everything they do.
Given that Taylor Kaye and her husband Greg happen to share a birthday on December 18, nobody would blame them if they decided to celebrate by sneaking off for some grown-up time away from their three kids—and their busy holiday schedules.
But that’s not how this family rolls. Instead, they host an annual birthday/seasonal bash and ask their friends and relatives to bring non-perishable food donations in lieu of gifts, collecting two or three large boxes of food to donate to a local food bank.
“I want my kids to know that helping others is just part of being human and being a good person,” says Taylor, a broadcaster and mother to Jenny, 10; Julia, seven; and Jackie, six. “It’s what my mom taught me and what I want to teach my children.”
It’s a philosophy Taylor has been modeling ever since Jenny was a baby, volunteering in the community with her first-born in tow. “Going door-to-door canvassing, working with Diabetes Canada—these are things that have affected our family that we feel we should bring awareness to,” she says.
Having grown up with this encouragement, it’s no surprise that Jenny was inspired to set up her first charitable initiative at the tender age of four: a lemonade stand to raise funds for a local hospital that helped her after she was injured at the cottage. Every summer since, she and her sisters continue the tradition by operating the stand at the family’s cottage a few hours away from their home in Toronto.
The three girls now also run a monthly bake sale at a community recreation centre (helped by dad, Greg, who loves to bake), raising money for various causes locally and globally. And when the holidays come, Jenny, Julia and Jackie are only too eager to join their parents in some special charitable traditions, including that joint birthday shindig turned food drive.
This year, Taylor is looking for even more ways her family can integrate a spirit of giving into their holiday traditions, including introducing them to the idea of socially conscious gifts, such as handmade Rafiki bracelets from ME to WE, or giving a goat to a family overseas.
“Kids go online all the time and say, ‘Oh I want this, I want that,’” she says. “Why not go online with them [to the WE website] and say, ‘Listen, let’s think about redirecting some of our money here.’ It’s really simple.”
For Taylor, that simplicity is key in inspiring her daughters to give back, both at the holidays and year-round. Her advice? Choose fun activities that your children enjoy—whether it’s a lemonade stand, baking or doing crafts—and make it part of your family’s regular schedule.
“Maybe one Saturday, instead of playing basketball, schedule your kids to do a bake sale with their basketball team to raise money for a cause,” she says, adding that giving back as a family has definitely brought them closer together.
“I’m really proud of what our family’s doing,” she says. “To me, it doesn’t matter how much they raise, it’s that they’re spending the time doing it.”