Community involvement and philanthropy are common dinnertime conversation topics for the Woods family, so it’s no surprise that Lisa and Josh Woods of West Los Angeles fully supported their children’s decision to start their own nonprofit to help less-fortunate kids.
Created by 11-year-old twins Ryan and Jack, and their 8-year-old sister, Marley, Your Golden Ticket gives disadvantaged youth an opportunity to experience the excitement of live events such as ball games, concerts and theater performances. The nonprofit, launched last year, has already provided several dozen kids with the chance to attend fun events throughout the country. Golden Ticket recipients have attended Broadway shows, rock concerts, Dodgers, Galaxy, White Sox, Yankees and Mets games. We recently chatted with Lisa Woods about parenting and the importance of instilling a sense of giving in children.
What was the inspiration for Your Golden Ticket?
As a family, we are involved with a lot of charities and we are always talking about our community and ways we can give back. We always encourage the kids to volunteer as well. They really wanted to create something that was their own, and they started talking about different ideas, and eventually they came up with the idea of giving kids a fun experience. We wrote a vision and mission statement and started drafting letters to various leagues and ticketing agencies. We also reach out to organizations that work with low-income or at-risk youth in order to get the tickets to the kids. My husband and I take a backseat and let the kids really run with it.
How has the first year been?
It has been amazing. It is so exciting to see what has become of this idea. The kids take all the calls and they have presented in front of major sporting teams. We recently started a junior ambassador program to enlist the help of kids around the country. It’s wonderful to see kids encouraging other kids to become involved in philanthropy. The majority of the time, the tickets are donated and the funds raised go toward providing food, transportation and souvenirs for the participants.
What has been the most gratifying part of starting this foundation?
The kids send us photos of themselves at the event, and to see the smiles on their faces and how happy they are is the best part for all of us.
Why is philanthropy and community involvement important for families and young kids?
We are so fortunate in our lives and, often times, we don’t appreciate everything we have. Our children have been lucky to be able to experience many live events. There are so many kids, so many families, who never have these types of experiences. We want to provide the fun. We enlist the help of other kids because it is important that kids, even at a young age, know that they can play an important role in the lives of others.
What’s the best way to instill this sense of giving in our children?
Start small. Expose them to volunteering in your local communities. Our family started by participating in beautification days at local schools and by passing out food to the homeless on Thanksgiving morning. They got to experience firsthand how good it felt to give back and it sparked their interest to do more.
Learn more about Your Golden Ticket at www.yourgoldenticket.org.