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Teaching the Gift of Philanthropy

Sunday, May 9th, 2010


All three of Angela Mia De la Vega's children are very different, yet they share in their love for giving and sharing. At their young age, Alexa - 15, Arianna -14, and Federico -10, are already practicing philanthropists. The De la Vega children live in Dallas, Texas and for many years, have made contributions to FEMAP through the FEMAP Foundation.

To raise money, Arianna and Alexa De La Vega set-up lemonade stands. Young Federico asks that his birthday party guests please make a contribution to Boquitas Bonitas in lieu of gifts. Their proud mother, Angela, talked to us about her children’s altruistic activities: “Since they were very little, we have tried to instill in our children a strong sense of appreciation for their blessings in life and subsequently a responsibility to share and proactively give to those who are less fortunate,” she said.

The awareness of helping others grew from the influence of their grandmother, Guadalupe Arizpe de De la Vega, founder of FEMAP in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua. Being around Grandma has given these three children the opportunity to learn and understand the importance of philanthropy. “It is more meaningful and relevant for the children when they can conceptualize the recipient of their donations,” said Angela.

Alexa says that when people ask her what FEMAP is, she is more than happy to explain. “I have even printed out flyers containing information about FEMAP and handed them out to my customers. I want to spread the word about the great work FEMAP does as much as I can in order to spark people's interest,” she adds.

The sisters create colorful signs to help them attract customers driving by in cars. “I made up a dance and song one time for the people who had their windows rolled down which they seemed to really like,” says Arianna. She also added that they do not want to hold lemonade stands forever and are looking for other ways to help FEMAP.

“I have started giving singing lessons and babysitting too,” explains Alexa. Both Alexa and Arianna said that they would really love to see their efforts pay off in helping people. “I like to see how the money I have donated is used by FEMAP. They do wonderful things, and I know that any way they choose to use the money will be beneficial, so that is all that matters to me,” said Alexa.

The FEMAP Foundation has restricted the De la Vega Grandchildren's donations to the Boquitas Bonitas Fund which provides specialized pediatric medical care to children who otherwise could not afford it.

When asked what advice they have for other children who'd like to help others, they provided the following advice: "It is important to spread the word of philanthropy to everyone, and to every child out there that wants to help their community The more you have the more you should give. We are all God's children, and in his eyes we are all equally significant and beautiful,” Arianna explains. “My advice to any child, who wants to give, is that they should talk to their parents and let them know they would like to become more involved in giving. There are many different forms of giving, and even the slightest contributions can make a difference,” adds Alexa.

“There was a sermon at church that helped me understand the value of love. Nobody wishes they had more money or more time to work when they are dying. Most regrets are about not having loved or been loved enough- and by giving and teaching the joy of giving to others, love prevails,” said Arianna.

“I think that all three of the children understand the real joy of giving - that when a person feels entitled and is on the take, he or she is left with a numbing void. It makes me happy to know that in life my children will be able to experience a deeper personal fulfillment through giving,” said Angela De la Vega.