Volunteering in your community is an act of love. It can also be an amazing way to draw your family close together over something selfless that will lift your spirits long after it is over. Volunteering together is not always easy, as different members of your family may have different ideas on what that looks like, but when you can find an organization you can help together, the feeling is unmatched. Start here with some ideas and tips.
First, a quick word on service as a family: it can often be difficult to put aside petty arguments and discordances to put your heads and hands together in service, but it is incredibly rewarding. It's a way for you to mend those broken bonds by giving of yourselves to those in need. And it's a chance to set aside any superiority complex and realize that the people you are helping are just as human and worthwhile as you are. Remind your children of this, especially if you are going to work in a field that leaves you prone to looking down on those you are helping.
Make sure to keep it kid-friendly. Depending on which organization you choose to assist, there may be limits on the age of volunteers, due to things that young minds would be too sensitive to handle. Check with organizations you're interested in to see what days or times they allow children to help out, and see if you can find a perfect place. Remember, though, that you don't want to try to shelter your child completely from the pain in the world, simply break it to them gently.
Some good places for family volunteering:
- An animal shelter -- what's more endearing than fluffy puppies and kittens? Sometimes, the sad eyes of the older animals can really break your heart, and if you volunteer a few hours a week to help clean their cages and keep them company, you could find yourself with a new family member.
- A soup kitchen -- if the atmosphere is too rough out front, you and your family can help run the organization in the back: stirring pots, preparing rolls, cleaning plates.
- A food bank -- even if you can't stand out front and help guide people through the lines, you can go out and collect donations from independent grocers who don't have the vehicles to bring them in.
- Park beautification service -- help clear out the local parks and keep them lovely for visitors. It's back-breaking work, but you can see the results right away.
Visit our home page for more activities you can do with your family.