Smiles, A Penny At A Time

The Difference A Little Loose Change Can Make

Since becoming a mummy I’ve noticed two changes:

1. I am not only my children’s mummy but have also ‘adopted’ every child on this earth. As such, knowing that a child is suffering affects me greatly.

2. My mortification level has dropped since my children embarrass me on a daily basis.

I’ve decided to put these two changes together to help support a charity that is very dear to me. The Smile Train offers free cleft surgeries to children in developing countries. Rather than just donating to this charity I wanted to get my two boys (3 and 4 yr olds) involved.

Knowing the sheer excitement my boys get when they find coins on the sidewalk I decided to ask them if they wanted to donate all the money they find to help children around the world smile. Both boys were on board with this idea and so our lives as scavengers has begun.

Since late last autumn until the end of 2009 we will be hunting and prowling for stray coins. All ‘found’ money counts. From coupon/rebates to spare change found in old coat pockets and my husband’s car. From dirty dimes spotted on the parking lot to shiny quarters winking at us from the floor in a mall.

At the end of the year I will take all the found money and match it (not sure how much we will actually make and want to make sure I give adequately) and donate it to The Smile Train.

At first I was pretty embarrassed at all the stares I got from strangers as my children would run to me clutching a dirty wet penny. I just shrug and give a little ‘kids will be kids’ look to the gawkers.

Thankfully, I am usually out with my little ones when a stray coin is sighted. I will point it out and they will pounce on it. On the occasions when I am alone I have developed a sneaky way of scooping the coin with minimal stares from passersby. I casually step on the coin, then crouch down to tie an invisible shoelace-all the while snapping up the coin and shoving it into my pocket. Victory is mine!

The kids and I are having fun hunting for coins, my boys have even taken to sticking their fingers inside pay phone coin slots but I feel slightly too dignified to attempt this (just slightly).

I find this method of donating a challenging and enlightening experience. Not only am I learning about human nature (just love watching the people watching us!) but I am also teaching my children that little difference do add up. And of course, we are helping children in need...helping them smile one penny at a time.



Lillian Canini is a working mummy with two busy boys.  In her spare time, she loves to put her feet up and bog about her misfit adventures in mummyhood at Inner Ramblings Of A Misfit Mom