giving back

Service: Simple Ways to Make the Most Use of Your Time

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Service—Your Season of Service challenge this week is to serve with Time, or do acts of service involving time. This does not necessarily mean "time" as a verb, nor "time" in too broad of a sense.  This just means that, as kids return to school, you may find yourself with a little more time on your hands. While you should definitely invest some of that time in yourself, there are ways you can carry out one or two of these simple ideas that use time in a title or as a concept.

10 Bite-Size Ideas for Serving With Time

  1. Do any act of service (see my past Season of Service posts if you're lacking in ideas), and log it on On this site, for every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.
  2. Donate your somewhat-old-but-still-usable computer (i.e., six years old or newer) to First Time Computers, if you live in or around Washington D.C., to be refurbished and given to a low-income family.
  3. Vote for a community to receive a free fruit orchard on, a campaign sponsored by Dreyer's Fruit Bars and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. They say that "when an orchard is planted, generations may benefit from the possibilities: the chance for a greener neighborhood, improved air, water and soil conditions and a community that could become healthier with its own fresh fruit supply." There's not much time left, though: voting ends on August 31st.
  4. Help family members survive difficult waiting times while loved ones are in surgery by donating your used books and magazines to your local hospital to be used in their surgical waiting rooms. This idea was provided by Stacie Haight Connerty of
  5. Take your kids on a timed scavenger-hunt type of tour of a nearby library. For your younger child, finding certain sections, books, reading kits, and activities at your local library may be the trick that's needed to get him or her more interested in reading. For an older child, finding these things at a larger city or college library may open ideas previously unrealized.
  6. Participate in this science lesson about reaction times with your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader, to help them (and you) understand more about their learning style.
  7. Take the time to sit down with your child(ren) and make a list of their positive qualities or accomplishments, then post the list(s) in a prominent place.
  8. Offer your time to babysit autistic children while their parents attend educational classes, through opportunities like this one.
  9. Take the time to visit the Montclair Community Wildlife Habitat Project site, and learn about what it takes to make your backyard wildlife-friendly.
  10. Make a mini-time machine with your kids: collect information about years past, make up information about years future, and pretend to travel to them.

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • What other ideas do you have for giving to others by going green?
  • How has going green 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 Seventh Generation by clicking here.
  • Join #gno this Tuesday on Twitter to connect with other Mom It Forward moms about the challenge.
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