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Families That Volunteer Together Grow Together

May 10th, 2018

Thanks for stopping by the Director's Blog. For this entry, I hope you'll enjoy this guest piece by Jackie Waters of hyper-tidy.com

By Jackie Waters

When you are trying to think of family-friendly activities to do together, do you often find yourself opting to stay home and watch television or paying to do something the kids are only half invested in? For some reason, many parents don’t consider volunteering together as a way to spend time and bond. However, it is a wonderful activity that helps your children learn about giving back to the community, and instills lifelong lessons.

You get to bond and grow as a family while also having a bit of fun. Volunteering teaches your children compassion, empathy, tolerance, gratitude, and community.

Here are just some of the ways volunteering benefits a family.

  • Volunteering exposes your children to the world while teaching them to be kind and giving while in it.

  • It helps build trust in each other.

  • You will learn new things about your children as you witness them work and interact with others.

  • It teaches them to find solutions to problems

  • Volunteering exposes you to a network of people that your family can bond with.

How to Volunteer as a Family

If you want to add volunteer activities into your family life, talk to your children about what interests them. Working for a cause that appeals to your kids will keep them interested and encouraged. Your kids may even have some creative ideas on what to do. But just in case you need a nudge, here are some great ideas you can bring to the table.

  • Sign up for a charity walk, and petition donations from friends and neighbors.

  • Pick up litter at a local park.

  • Volunteer at a local animal rescue shelter. You can walk dogs, play with cats, and help staff with organization.

  • Deliver meals to homebound people to fight hunger.

  • Spend time with senior citizens at a shared living facility.

  • Volunteer to work at a community-supported agriculture farm.

  • Create care packages for troops deployed overseas.

  • Help build homes for families with Habitat for Humanity.  

  • Start a drive to gather supplies for a local food bank.

  • Contact a local women and children’s shelter and find out what they need. Create care packages and deliver them to families.

Once you’ve chosen an activity, contact your local organization and ask them about family availability. Some nonprofits require volunteers to fill out a waiver and for children to be supervised in order to volunteer. They may also have requirements such as what to wear and what not to bring, or some other information meant to keep you and your family safe while working. Chances are, they will also want to schedule your volunteering date and time so they have a prepared volunteer coordinator available to lead your family.

Post-Volunteer Rundown

Congratulations! Your family just completed your first volunteer outing. Now what?

Chances are that your kids are feeling pretty pumped after experiencing the joy of giving back to their community. Capitalize on that momentum and ask them about what they learned, what they liked, and what they want to do next time your family volunteers. You will learn so much about their hopes, dreams, and character with this process. By giving back, they’ll start to solve problems creatively and apply the skills they learn to their everyday lives.

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Volunteering to give back to the community is a perfect activity for family bonding. It teaches children compassion and hard work and creates bonds of trust within the familial unit. Talk to your kids about what volunteer activities interest them. Once you pick one, contact the nonprofit or community center to get all the necessary information on how your family can help. After volunteering, be sure to talk to your kids and find out what they learned and how they want to help the next time.

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