Volunteering together as a family is not only rewarding, but it is a great low cost way to enjoy quality, family time. We all know the best way to teach our children is through our own positive example. Generosity and helping others is no different. Studies have shown that children who belong to families who volunteer together not only perform better in school, but they typically continue to donate their time and money as an adult.
There are many ways to encourage your family to give and to volunteer. Volunteering together can strengthen family bonds as you work together to complete a task that will benefit others. Ideas for family volunteering can be simple and require little time, or may be complex, long-term projects your family may devote weeks to completing. Choose a family volunteering project that is appropriate for your children’s age level and that reflects your own family values.
There are a number of organizations that sponsor family volunteering events. Religious centers, the United Way, and Habitat for Humanity are just a few ideas for organized family volunteering events. Local shelters, soup kitchens, and area parks and nature preserves can often use the services of a family wanting to volunteer as well. Check the yellow pages and call around to schedule a time to serve food, plant trees, or even clean up trash.
A simple way to give as a family is to participate in area food drives or toy drives. Involve children in choosing items to give or get creative as a family and make rag dolls or blankets to donate. More adventuresome families may want to organize their own charity drive. Your family can collect holiday meal items and deliver the food to local families before Thanksgiving or hold a toy drive for disadvantaged children in the area. Your family can collect school supplies for needy families at the end of summer or needed items for victims of a natural disaster.
Contact your local department of social services or area churches for families who may benefit from your drive. Promote your event by passing out fliers and enlisting the help of friends and neighbors. Talk to businesses, media organizations, and churches in your community about helping get the word out.
If you prefer to keep your family volunteering activities more simple, organize a family charity drive. Enlist each family member in gathering supplies for an armed forces member serving overseas or a care package for an area teen that is away at college. Volunteer as a family to hold a fun event at a local orphanage or children’s shelter. Organize games, serve hot dogs and drinks, and let an older child paint faces with a Galt Face Painting set.
There are many other opportunities to volunteer as a family all around your community. Help out elderly neighbors or local shut-ins by spending a day with them as a family. Help out with yard work, house work, or repair projects the person may not be able to do alone. You may even consider preparing, and sharing, a meal with the person you’ve decided to assist. Animal shelters, the humane society, and area nursing homes may have a need for a few helping hands as well.