giving back

Service Ideas: How To Prepare for the Future

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Service—This week's Season of Service challenge is to "prepare." There are so many ways in which we can better prepare our families and others for the good and bad things that may happen in the future and sometimes it can seem overwhelming. Consider picking only one of the following bite-size ideas and implementing it over the course of a month. After all, better preparation leads to better peace of mind.

10 Bite-Size Ideas for Preparation

  1. Prepare a basic will or estate plan. You may not think you have enough to worry about bestowing, or that making a will is too difficult a process. No matter how much you have, you still need to do it to save your loved ones from unnecessary heartache, and nothing is too difficult a process if you break it down enough. This article about the "12 Easy Steps" may get you started. The Everything Wills and Estate Planning Book has been very helpful for me.
  2. Prepare your family for an emergency by actually practicing escape routes from all the rooms in your house. Our fire drill was very eye-opening for me, as I watched my oldest take 10 minutes to open his window, pop out the screen, and jump out.
  3. Help your kids prepare for the future by teaching them about budgeting, investing, or the stock market in particular. This article from eHow, which says children as young as six can understand it, is a good place to start. Also, try this free, pretend-money Prongo game or google "stock market kids games."
  4. Buy one plastic water storage container and fill it with water. Storing sufficient water is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for an emergency.
  5. Donate $5 to Year Up, a one-year, intense training program that prepares urban young adults ages 18-24 for successful careers.
  6. Prepare a Family Giving Box by designating (and maybe decorating) a medium-sized bin that all family members can help fill by buying an article a week per person, and putting it in the box.
  7. Prepare a list of five good things about yourself, or five good things one of your children did today, or five good things about your husband.
  8. Prepare to contribute some hand-made baby caps to Warm Up America by teaching a friend how to knit if you know how, or asking a friend who knows how to teach you.
  9. Prepare an extra loaf of bread or serving of casserole, or whatever you're making for dinner or dessert tonight, and take it to a neighbor you don't know.
  10. Prepare a written and/or photographic inventory of all the valuable contents of your house, with serial numbers and other pertinent information, and save both a paper and hard disk copy. Then, if a robbery or disaster happens, you will have a better record of all your stuff and help prove what you had in your home when the loss occurred.

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • What other ideas do you have for giving to others through preparation?
  • How has preparing made a meaningful difference for you this week?
  • How have others given to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

Make a meaningful difference this season by taking the Season of Service (SOS) Challenge. Here's how you can participate:

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on the week's challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to the week's challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
  • Enter to win each week's giveaway. Check out this week's prizes from Cherokee and Voice Rockrz.
  • Join #gno this Monday (on Music Education) and Tuesday (on Back-to-School Organization) on Twitter to connect with other Mom It Forward moms about the challenge.
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