Volunteering as a Family


As parents, you want to guide and support your children toward a healthy future. How can you set good examples for your children? How can you do more together as a family? Community service and volunteering are ways to do both.

Following are some ideas on how you can be involved as a family in your community. With good adult supervision, even your small children can work as volunteers.

What To Know. What To Do.

Children whose parents spend lots of leisure time with them are less likely to do drugs than children whose parents do not. Community service is a great way for families to work together and offers a positive learning experience for children. Children learn selflessness and develop a greater appreciation for what they have and for the caring people in their lives. Check out city/local papers or the bulletin board at your grocery store or place of worship for places and events where you can serve together. Talk to single parents and seniors on your block about their needs; volunteer at the community youth center. Believe it or not, this can be fun and fulfilling!

Volunteering With Seniors:

  • Volunteer at a nursing home. Read to residents with poor eyesight. Help with "event nights" and if you have musical or other talents, be part of the entertainment.
  • Adopt a "grandparent" (or two) on your block. Do the shopping or take him to the store or to doctor's appointments. Walk the dog—alone or as a companion. Offer to do yard work or housecleaning on a free weekend. Bake a batch of cookies, or cook an entire meal and eat it together some evenings.
  • Give a primary caregiver to a homebound senior some free time by taking their place for an evening. Play a favorite family game together. Encourage the senior to talk about herself and share your interests with her. People who do not get out much (or at all) appreciate fresh new faces and experiences.

With the Homeless:

  • Many children living in homeless shelters have parents who cannot provide "extras." Ask permission to take them to a movie, for ice cream, or to a local high school game.
  • Adopt a family or individual and provide them with basic hygiene needs—soap, toothpaste, deodorant. If your children receive an allowance, encourage them to give to this effort. Donate children's books your family has outgrown to children in the family.
  • Organize a clothing and/or food drive—ask for donations from friends and relatives—and help with sorting and distributing the items.
  • Serve at the local soup kitchen, food bank, or food pantry.

With Children:
  • Help coach sporting activities at a youth center or get your own team going. Kids can be part of the team and help with keeping score, managing equipment, or cleaning up.
  • Become a mentoring family for a child without older siblings. Invite him to dinner as often as you can. Your children can help him with homework and other projects.
  • Invite a non-English speaking child to spend time with your family. Improve each other's language skills by learning from each other. Volunteer at an ethnic center to work with an entire family.

Volunteering Other Places in Your Community:
  • Your own children may have outgrown the sand box, but the playground could use a facelift. Plant trees and flowers. Paint the equipment, trash bins, and benches. Your kids' friends and parents may want to help, too.
  • Take your kids' talent for artwork beyond your refrigerator. They could make posters for the children's reading room at the library or design flyers for your place of worship's bazaar.
  • Volunteer at the animal shelter.

There are many other volunteer possibilities for families in any community. You don't have to be part of a really big project to serve. Whatever you choose to do will benefit your family and the community. Just get involved and have fun!


Sarah said...

These are great ideas for family volunteering. My family just got started with Meals on Wheels, and my kids, at just 2 and 5 years old, were delighted by the idea of helping others.

For more ideas about family volunteering, even with very young children and often at your own kitchen table, check out Doing Good Together: www.doinggoodtogether.com.

The have loads of ideas AND discussion questions and resources to help young children understand the value of their community work.

Liz said...

I have to agree with Sarah -- these are great ideas! We've always helped out with our church's giant garage sale (called the Barn Sale) and they were able to help sort jewelry, arrange the ties nicely, go through the old suitcases, etc. I have another recommendation for Christian families, though not about volunteering, as vital as that is. As you know, kids don't always come to you with their questions and concerns, especially when maybe what they learn elsewhere, such as at public school or on the playground or wherever, conflicts with what we teach them. A Christian educator
who teaches in public schools has seen that, and he's written a series of books about how we can counter some of the theories taught in the public schools that are contradictory to a God-created universe. The first is called "Ben's Big Bang Botheration and is about how God created our world; it addresses causation, that God is a necessary cause for the existence of our universe. It's very relevant in today's public school classrooms.

thomas said...

Hi Good day! This is really great things that family are are joining together volunteering. Nice info you got! keep it up!

Anonymous said...

good read, post more!