We are entering the holiday season, a time of family rituals that you make look forward to all year long. One family holiday ritual that you may not have considered is volunteering. Volunteering creates unity, builds team, and opens your heart to your community and those in need. It teaches your children compassion and empathy. Here is an terrific article provided by Mother Daughter Book Club on the benefits of volunteering and how to find an organization that matches your family's values and interests.
Thinking about volunteering with your children but not sure if it's right for your family? Consider that volunteering has been shown to not only teach children compassion for others, it can also boost their self-confidence, help them learn new skills, and help them meet people of different backgrounds and beliefs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look for projects your family can get involved in.
Make sure the activity is good for the age of your child. Even younger kids can help organize a neighborhood blanket and towel drive for an animal welfare agency or collect canned goods for the food bank. Your kids also may be willing to give up gently used books or toys they have outgrown. When possible, bring your kids with you when you drop off items you have collected so they can see who benefits.
Consider these three broad categories when looking for places to volunteer: human welfare, environmental welfare, and animal welfare. Choose what most interests your family, and you are more likely to have your kids get excited about volunteering.
Think about volunteering more than once with the same organization so you can see the changes your work makes over time. For instance, if you join a work party at a local park several times, when you visit the park afterward you may be able to see others enjoying the trees you planted or the paths you cleared.
No sure how to find opportunities in your area? Here's a list of national organizations that list opportunities searchable by zip code and interest area: