Former Boston University hockey player starts platform to teach kids the value of giving

BOSTON — Craig Sanders walked on to the Boston University hockey team as a freshman in 2004. He didn’t see much ice time in his four seasons with the Terriers, but that perseverance stuck with him.

“I played 18 games. I failed to crack the lineup 146 times, so I’m hoping those lessons learned there and a little determination I can transfer over and start fundraising pretty soon here,” Sanders said.

That fundraising is for a charitable platform he co-founded in November. It’s called Helpen.

“They could plant a tree, provide PPE or even contribute colorful bedsheets to children undergoing cancer treatment in the hospital,” Sanders said.

Here’s how it works. Parents subscribe and every week, Helpen sends a postcard with a listing of pre-screened, age-appropriate nonprofit organizations. The kids then pick a charity they want to learn more about and support with a $1 donation.

“It’s been so nice for them to have a positive way they can give back,” said Erin Elefante.

Parents enter donations using a special QR code on the cards and then activate Amazon’s Alexa to share a customized message about their chosen cause and how far their $1 contribution can go.

Pete and Erin Elefante of Hingham use Helpen with their three boys to show them a positive way to give back.

“Our four-year-old, Blake, chose this charity in Vermont that helps feed horses that have been left and he really liked the idea that that one-dollar actually buys hay for those horses that don’t have a home,” Pete Elefante said.

A subscription to Helpen costs $7 per month, which includes the postcards.

You can learn more about the organization and sign up here.