David Ervin uses his Oprah's Pay It Forward Challenge money to teach the gift of giving to his sons. "Hopefully this experience will inspire them on a lifelong passion for giving," he says. Six-year-old Will and 3-year-old Johnny decide they want to use the money to give presents to needy children.
After contacting several charities, David decides to donate gifts to the Battered & Abused Women & Children Foundation in Waukegan, Illinois—a foundation that provides shelter, referrals and comprehensive educational and self-defense training for women and children who have been abused.
David and his sons go shopping and then deliver toys and gift cards to the grateful families. David says the experience taught him to involve his family and to be more open and personal in his giving. "My wife and I have given over the years—checks, money and gently-used items. But I have never given to someone whose name I knew, whose situation I found out and whose ages I've known. … That personal element made this experience all the more fulfilling," he says.
To keep it going, the family decides that each year on the boys' birthdays they will give a gift to a child in need. David says continuing the passion for giving "may be the most important lesson we teach our children."