Friend Campaign Invites Children to “Give Us a Hand”
Contributed By Austin Cannon, ChurchofJesusChrist.org Church News staff writer
- The “Give Us a Hand” campaign invites children to find and do service, then trace their hand on a piece of paper and send the handprint in to the Friend or Liahona with their act of service written on it.
- Already, more than 8,300 handprints have been submitted from children all around the world!
“We hope they’ll feel empowered. We hope they’ll realize that there are really important things they can do and that serving will become a habit. We hope this idea of being able to help others will become something they’ll remember and carry with them.” —Jan Pinborough, managing editor of the Friend
Hands, just like service, come in all sizes. The Friend magazine incorporates both into its new “Give Us a Hand” campaign.
The campaign, which was introduced in the January 2015 Friend and Liahona, encourages children to find ways to serve. It invites them to find and do an act of service and then trace their hand on a piece of paper, write their act of service on the handprint, and send it to the Friend or Liahona. Handprints are being published in both magazines during 2015 for children to see.
“We often receive letters from children telling us how they are trying to follow the Savior by serving others,” said Jan Pinborough, managing editor of the Friend. “And we wanted to show them the significance of what they’re doing. There are about a million Primary children around the world. If a million children around the world are all finding ways to serve others, think what a significant difference they will make.”
The inspiration for the campaign comes from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s April 2010 conference address entitled “You Are My Hands.” President Uchtdorf told the story of a certain statue of Jesus Christ damaged in World War II. The townsfolk, unable to replace the statue’s hands when restoring it, added these words to the base: “You are my hands.”
Everyone, no matter their age, can be the Savior’s hands by serving others. “Often children are the ones who get the most excited about serving their neighbors,” Sister Pinborough says. “They are just innately loving and brave.”
The response to the “Give Us a Hand” campaign so far has been incredible. Already, more than 8,300 hands have come in from children all around the world, from Amsterdam to Argentina and from Bangkok to Brazil, with more arriving every day.
Miriam, age 6, from Bosnia and Herzegovina sent in her handprint, saying, “I made a card for my mother when she was sick.” David, age 11, from Colombia wrote, “I helped someone read at their home.” Nicki, age 11, from Utah, USA, said, “I donated blankets, toys, food, food bowls, and treats to the animal shelter.”
Thomas, age 9, from Norway, wrote, “I helped make back-to-school kits for needy children.” And Ella, age 3, from Ontario, Canada, said, “I give people hugs when they are sad.” These children are just a few among thousands who have sent in their handprints, each with their own story to tell.
Families and entire Primaries have sent in handprints as well.
Michelle Rodgers of Folsom, California, said that she saw the activity in the Friend and thought that it would be an excellent family home evening idea. “It was really easy and quick, and I thought, ‘Perfect, this is just what we need tonight.’”
Sister Rodgers, her husband, and their four children, ages 4–12, each submitted a hand. They spent two family home evenings doing the project. The first night they had a quick discussion about service and what they might do. The next week they talked about what they’d accomplished and cut out and decorated their handprints.
While the Rodgers children most enjoyed crafting the hands, Brother and Sister Rodgers appreciated the valuable lesson of service. “I like having a chance to teach my kids about important life lessons,” Sister Rodgers said. “And I really liked how they accepted the challenge and ran with it.”
The Rodgers family realized that they already did a lot of service for one another, but this activity helped them pay attention to it and look for opportunities to do more.
“As the children who are sending us their handprints this year get older, we hope their love for serving will only grow,” Sister Pinborough said.
The Friend and Liahona will continue to collect handprints until October 2015. Magazine staff are keeping a tally in the magazine to let children know the progress they’re making. They also plan to creatively display and photograph all the hands so they can share the finished project with all the children.
If you would like to participate, learn more at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/friend/2015/01/friends-who-care or at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/liahona/2015/01/children/give-us-a-hand?lang=eng. Parent or guardian permission must be given to have the handprint appear in the magazines. Fill out the form on this page and send it in with the handprint and the child's photo so it can be used.
Join in to see just how much of a difference your hands and service can make!