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Family,  Family and Parenting

How to raise kids to make a difference in the world

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Is family volunteering essential today? 

Social problems like homelessness, poverty, hunger, and unemployment have increased and are continuing to increase.

So there is a desperate need now more than ever before for a culture of volunteerism to be built in all communities.

I know what’s going through your mind. Life is busy – work deadlines, soccer games, household chores, grocery shopping, laundry  …  how will you ever find the time to volunteer?

Well, ONE good reason to open your mind to family volunteering is that it will accelerate the personal growth of your family almost overnight.

What is family volunteering

It means starting a family project where you give your time and skills to serve those in need. The payoff is in the feel-good factor.

An example is getting together as a family to prepare and serve a meal to the homeless.

Who needs family volunteers 

Volunteers are needed by community organizations to bridge the gap left by government programs.

Family volunteering allows welfare agencies to use the skills of people of different ages and backgrounds. They can then better serve a wide range of people in need of help.

Let’s take an example of a family of 5 – 3 teens and 2 adults. Mom’s a fashion blogger and Dad’s a web designer. The teens excel in academics and sports at school.

This is a family that rivals a fully loaded takeout meal in skills.

Here’s how they could use the combined family skills to serve a local children’s home.

•   Update and improve their website

•   Design a fashionable T-shirt to start a fundraising campaign

•   Start a social media strategy to source funding

•   Tutor the kids in subjects they need help with

•   Coach the basketball or baseball teams 

The gift of volunteering as a family

 

Motivation to dd voluntary work

 

Imagine giving a blanket to a homeless man who is sleeping under a bridge in temperatures of 10 below.

Imagine a hungry child guaranteed a hot breakfast daily.

Observing the happiness and gratitude these simple acts bring to those in need is a life-changing experience.

Susan McQuillan M.S. in this article  in states:

When you improve someone else’s level of joy and quality of life, you give your own sense of happiness and worthiness a boost.

You have the power to allow your family to be a part of such priceless acts of kindness by starting the unselfish tradition of family volunteering.

The benefits of family volunteering

 

Serving others brings happiness

 

Have you tried the wellness shots that are so trendy now?

Well, volunteering as a family is like an immune-boosting wellness shot. You get a high from doing good so that others may benefit.

What’s in it for your family:

– the chance to engage and connect as a family

–  the opportunity to strengthen your family bonds

–  reinforces the family as a team working to realize a common goal 

–  you grow values such as responsibility, discipline and compassion

–  develop new skills or enhance old ones

–  widen your family social circle

So, don’t you think family volunteering ought to be a priority on your To-Do List?

This post gives you simple steps to make your family volunteering project zoom from hopeful to downright helpful.

Overcoming obstacles to family volunteering

OK, the kids may find the idea uncool. The teens may even reject it straight away.

Woo them with stories of the rich and famous who volunteer. Name drop that Angelina Jolie, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Oprah Winfrey are very into volunteering.

Here are two such celebrities.

Hilary Swank, star of Million Dollar Baby, time volunteered in India with United Planet. She worked with children in an orphanage in a village in Northern India.

 

 

 George Clooney, the silver-haired star, established an organization called Not on Our Watch to draw attention to the atrocities in Sudan.

 

 

First, win the family over. Perhaps a subtle but skillful stab at the family motto

Also, remind them of how the words, ALWAYS BE KIND TO OTHERS, lightning flashes at you whenever you pass the family vision board.

Well, that is exactly what a family volunteering project is. An opportunity to show kindness to those in need.

Besides, getting your kids involved, especially if they’re teens, is a lasting, character-building gift that they will thank you for.

Even if now they think volunteering in any shape or form is uncool, stick with it.

Volunteering at a soup kitchen

How to plan a family volunteering project

Planning and getting your project going takes hard work, organization and determination.

It may be a good idea to start small to see how you gel as a family on a project.

Planning and organization are vital to success. Steps to take:

–  a family meeting to decide on a project

–  take into account the family’s schedules

–  brainstorm a list of volunteering ideas

–  decide on the activity

–  set up a plan of action

Here’s an example of the planning process using the earlier idea of volunteering at a local orphanage:

–   Draw up a  To-Do list

–  Allocate tasks to each member of the family.

–  Make a formal offer to help the orphanage

–  Brainstorm how you can best meet its needs

–  Organize, collect or buy items needed

–  Enjoy your family volunteering date

Your project does not have to be so involved. Look first at the needs of the people living on your street and see how you can help to improve their lives.

The elderly and single-parent families are always in need of help. So you could start with them.

Examples of simple family volunteering activities

1. Help the elderly with their tech devices

 

Family volunteering| A great idea is to get tech savvy teens to help the elderly with their cellphones and tablets.

 

Give your tech – smart teen a chance to show off by helping senior citizens use their tech devices better.

Start a program like Make Seniors Tech Wise

Many seniors especially those in their 70s are technophobic.  They find digital technology – be it a cellphone, tablet or computer – intimidating and complicated.

The ageing process affects vision, hearing, hand-eye coordination. This makes old people fear the very devices that are the lifeblood of your teen. Seniors don’t want to feel stupid and so become wary of or stay away from such devices altogether.

However, there are many benefits of seniors getting to know tech devices like cell phones, tablets, and laptops:

  •  better social interaction via WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook groups
  •  mental and physical agility by taking online quizzes
  •  starting new hobbies with help from Pinterest
  •  joining age and interest-related online forums

The reward will be the happiness on the face of a lonely grandmother who chats to a grandchild via Skype for the first time.

Or the joy of shopping online for the first time.

Or the thrill of chatting to family on their cell phones.

Seeing the positive impact on the lives of senior citizens is sure to make volunteering as a family a regular event.

2.  Start a sandwich drive

 

 

Family volunteering| Provide breakfast sandwiches to help needy students. This will help them to concentrate better in school.


We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But many children go to school without having breakfast.

Breakfast is important for mental and physical health. It gives the body the energy and nutrients it needs to concentrate at school.

The American Dietetic Association states that a child who has breakfast is likely to be more successful at ‘ problem – solving and eye-hand coordination skills. ’

This is a great opportunity to provide needy kids with a packed Sandwich breakfast. A wonderful bonding spin-off for the family too.

Your hearts will swell with pride and compassion when you see the kids’ gratitude for the sandwiches

3.  Do a community clean-up

 

Family volunteering| Start a clean up of a neglected area in your neighborhood. Serve the community and the environment at the same time.

Start a community project to clean up an area that is an eyesore in your neighbourhood. Maybe, it is a garbage dump of litter and discarded waste.

Some shocking facts about refuse :

  •  plastic bags take 20 years to decompose
  •  cans and bottles take 100 years to break down
  •  styrofoam takeaway containers never disintegrate

Keep America Beautiful reports that the taxpayer pays more than
$1.5 million a year to fund clean – up operations.

These statistics demand that communities play their part in keeping the environment clean for future generations.

This cleanup project is a small step towards that goal. 

The satisfaction is a pristine, beautiful area that was once a cesspool.

The skills to be gained from such a project are leadership, negotiation, communication.

Most important of all are the many new friends of varying ages and backgrounds you’ve added to your social circle.

 

4.  Homework help 

 

 

Are your kids straight-A students? Start a homework help project to help struggling students.

Very often a struggling student cannot afford to pay for a tutor to help him catch up academically.

So he finds himself in a vice grip – underperforming but unable to get the help he needs.

Here’s where your family can step up to the plate.

One- on- one tutoring is sure to benefit the underachieving student. A peer is not an authority figure like a teacher and so all barriers to the learning process fall away.

The needy learner is free to ask for help in areas of weakness. Your teen can tailor – make a program to best meet the needs of the struggling child.

The result will be active learning because your teen will deliver the content in simple ‘teen – speak’ format.

Instant gratification from a peer tutor – such as ‘ High fives ’ motivates the student to focus and learn.

This is a win-win situation for the tutor and student.

The payoff for your teen – a sense of pride and in rescuing a student from failure.

Peer to Peer Homework Help on a regular basis makes a wonderful volunteering opportunity.

5.  Adopt a grandparent

 

Family volunteering|Offer comfort to the elderly with a adopt a grandparent program.

The old tradition of Sunday lunch at Grandma’s house is no longer practised today.

Nowadays, families are scattered  – living in different cities, states and even countries. So many grandparents find themselves living on their own far away from their children and grandchildren.

Not everyone who lives in a retirement or nursing home gets visitors. Some only socialize with others in the same boat as they are. This often leads to depression. 

An amazing project to be a part of is Adopt a Grandparent.

Regular meetings with a grandkid – gives the grandparent a friend he can talk to. They could play board games, read, watch movies together or just chat about their lives.

The benefit is mutual. Your family acquires invaluable life lessons as you listen to the story of the grandparent’s life – the problems he experienced and how he overcame them. 

Lessons likely to be learned:

•   Friendship can develop despite great age differences

•   Acceptance – there are cycles in life of joy and sadness. You have to experience sadness in order to appreciate happiness

Family volunteering ideas

Here’s a list of simple activities to get started with volunteering as a family.
family volunteering worksheet

Your turn

Volunteering is tough. It demands time, effort and perseverance.

But the result will be crafting an extraordinary course for your family.

One filled with fulfilment and satisfaction.

Are you ready to create the life you want for your family? Take the first step. Start your family on a volunteering program.

Then sit back and watch your bonds strengthen and values deepen.

Do you have a tradition of volunteering in your family? Share your story in the comments below.

 

If you enjoyed this post, please help to share it on PinterestTwitterand Facebook because I need your help to motivate others to do their share to make the world a better place by volunteering as a family.

 

 

 

 


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A former English teacher turned lifestyle blogger. Content creator for blogs and websites. Book lover, scrabble addict and crime show obsessor.

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Poovanesh PatherJen @ Jenron DesignsNita OkoyeNokulunga KhuzwayoRebekka Recent comment authors

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Jen @ Jenron Designs
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Volunteering is an important part of raising kids. I remember in school in order to be on track for college we had to a required number of volunteer hours or community service. I volunteered at a nursing home and delivered mail and read it to the residents.

Nita Okoye
Guest
Nita Okoye

I love all these ideas! Indeed it’s our job to raise our kids as the future generation. Volunteering is something I always say all kids must be doing as it helps them see the other side.

Nokulunga Khuzwayo
Guest

Great suggestions especially for teenagers my heart sank yesterday when I read that a 15yr old killed schoolmate. I don’t know what it is but something is not all well for this generation

Rebekka
Guest

I cannot wait to volunteer with my son once he is older (he is 15 months old right now). Volunteering is so important for the soul and connections.

Chelsea Messina
Guest

I think volunteering to help others or the community is so important for people, children especially. I was privileged and grew up very sheltered from the “yucky parts” of life. I regret that though, and wish I had been exposed to more diversity, and volunteering at an earlier age. In college a class I was taking gave us the assignment to visit or volunteer at a different “community” that you had never been exposed to. Some people choose visiting a different church/religion. Some choose volunteering at a soup kitchen or local homeless shelter like I did. They gave me a… Read more »

Valentina
Guest
Valentina

This is such an amazing and detailed post on family volunteering. Thanks so much for sharing.

Shellie Lynn
Guest

When my son’s biggest “problem” is when is he going to get the newest iPhone, I know we need to spend time volunteering. It has been on my radar for a while now, but with busy schedules, it quickly escapes my radar. Thank you for the reminder and the suggestions. Back in my radar and soon into action now 😊

I believe we often think of volunteering to give back and help others, but we overlook how much we are helping ourselves in the process.

Cindy
Guest

This is so important! It teaches all of us life lessons and broadens our minds and souls. I did this with my children and now work with my grandchildren on volunteering to help others. Right now they are especially drawn to animal rescue. That’s ok. They are growing their compassion!

Katie
Guest

This is a very through post! You have included some great ideas as well as the ‘why’ behind families volunteering. Also, that list is a great option to be printed out and it’s simple, easy to read, and all around a ‘thumbs up’. Great work! 😊

Pamela Jessen
Guest

Wonderful ideas and suggestions for a family volunteer event. You’ve done a great job highlighting why it’s so important to volunteer…I Tweeted this article as well as left this comment.