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Giving Tuesday shows Las Vegas' softer side | News

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Giving Tuesday shows Las Vegas' softer side

LAS VEGAS -- Kids at CP Squires Elementary School sang and danced to get the word out about Giving Tuesday. 

The kids joined the After-School All-Stars to take pictures and tweet about the day meant to help others.

Giving Tuesday has been gaining in popularity around the United States and in Las Vegas.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy says Las Vegas is the 26th most generous city. The average Las Vegan gives 2.8 percent of their paycheck to charity.

Lindsay Harper, the executive director of the "I Have a Dream Foundation," knows the story of Las Vegas generosity first hand.

"We actually had some financial challenges," Harper said.

The foundation helps about 85 at-risk youth a year succeed in school. It provides backpacks and mentorships to the kids. When the foundation was in trouble, the community stepped in.

"When we started telling our story to the community, we had multiple donors, new donors answer that," Harper said. "We want to make sure these at-risk students have the tools they need for success."

Philanthropy expert Julie Murray runs a group connecting different foundations and charities. She also founded Three Square during the recession.

She says Las Vegas often ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to charitable donations, but believes that's an underestimation.

"While we might not be giving as much cash, if you look at the amount of volunteerism and in-kind giving, I believe if you added volunteerism, in-kind, and cash we would rate much higher," Murray said.

Harper says people didn't even realize how significant their help was when they saved to the I Have a Dream Foundation.

"If you sit down with a student and tell them that somebody cares about them, all of a sudden the whole world opens up to them," Harper said.

She says donations of any kind mean support and any day is a good day to give.