making a difference!
Volunteer: Ideas to Help You and Your Kids Give Back
We all want to have an influence for good on others and to help them. Volunteering and giving charity is an innate quality that can be ignored or polished. As we polish our good works, we must focus on our children as well. How can we teach them the importance of volunteering? Modeling volunteerism is the best way we can teach them.
Opportunities to serve are everywhere, though you may feel you still don’t know exactly where to start or what to do or who to talk to. A few weeks ago, at a Mom It Forward #gno Twitter Party, sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities, Tweeters discussed why volunteering is important and shared ways they volunteer to give you some ideas.
Encouraging Your Kids to Volunteer
“We talk about it as a family,” said @melaniemiddle1. “How making small decisions to help can yield amazing results.” “I want my kids to know just how lucky they are and how much a hand actually helps,” said @dfalln1.
@JeanetteElb encourages her kids by being a good example, “being caring is a daily activity.” “I think volunteering is all about finding moments in your day-to-day of life, not officially sponsored to volunteer,” said @KathyDaltonSLC.
Most Popular Volunteer Opportunities:
- Schools. “I volunteer in my kids’ school, I read with students and do lots of odds and ends for the teachers,” said @christielomb. “Donating school supplies is so important, considering what teachers usually spend out of pocket,” said @jylmomIF. Schools also encourage fundraisers and giving back, perfect for getting your children involved. “Our schools encourage giving by hosting cold weather apparel drives,” said @melaniemiddle1.
- Food. There are many organizations that help feed those who aren’t able to afford a full meal every night. @fowler121600's family volunteers at their local soup kitchen and emergency shelter every month. @Mrs_Riot does the same at their church food pantry and compassion center. “Food drives. An easy way to make a big difference,” said @melaniemiddle1.
More Volunteering Ideas and Tips for You and Your Kids:
- “I've taken them with me to the nursing homes during rec time to help with bingo.” @PaulinaChills
- “You can walk for a cause & raise money.” @penny_candy
- “Love to clean up our local parks and playgrounds.” @Momstifer
- “We have made yummy treats and delivered to neighbors just because! It is always fun to see their faces!” @karinawetzel
- “We talk as a family once a week and come up with a name of someone that needs our attention or help.” @jillgreenlaw
- “Love volunteering at the library as a staff ... my daughter learned to love books!” @weareofficially
- “I love teaching little volunteer opportunities for my children, like making cards.” @KathyDaltonSLC
- “I love helping my neighbors. We have some elderly neighbors that struggle with their yard work.” @Jillgreenlaw
- “Teach people how to effectively use coupons. A great way to stretch dollars.” @Melaniemiddle1
- “Sometimes it’s simple things, such as donating free home or baby supplies on Craig's List to those that need it.” @roasted_beanz
- “We do fundraisers: sundae bars, breakfasts, bake sale, pasta, Chinese/silent auction gift baskets/prizes.” @penny_candy
- “Raise lots of awareness for important causes, take dinners to neighbors when they need it.” @PaulinaChills
- “You should all have this in your car.” @karinawetzel
- Check out “this post from @jillgreenlaw about her visit to the @RMHC in SLC.” @jylmomIF
As the holidays approach, there are even more opportunities available for us to volunteer. Here are some more ideas for this season of giving:
- “I like to volunteer at the homeless shelter on the holidays.” @LobatoVicky
- “We always work on Thanksgiving Day and the day before Christmas at the soup kitchen, serving the people.” @fowler121600
- “Try to pick a child on a giving tree/angel tree.” @penny_candy
- “We donate small gifts to our local nursing homes for the residents who are alone for the holidays.” @melaniemiddle1
- “Volunteer as home-room mom at school and help with holiday class parties, etc…” @CammiLH
- “We love Toys4Tots, Christmas toy drives, Tree angels, and Red Kettles!” @roasted_beanz
- “Each year, we collects funds and provide Christmas gifts for a family in need. So cool to watch my kids get into it.” @linzlinzlinz
- “We shovel lots of snow in SLC Utah for our elderly neighbors.” @KathyDaltonSLC
Volunteering can sometimes fall by the wayside in your busy life. Set goals and strive to reach them. They could be to volunteer a certain amount of times, to fundraise a certain amount of money, or to affect people’s lives. @MegO_McD said, “My volunteer goal is to sign up to volunteer regularly. Not once a year, but at least once a month!” @JeanetteElb plans to do one project a month as well. “It’s very doable and a great four week goal!” @Chermarsh3000 designates specific weekends to volunteer to ensure there is time. Give as much time as you can to others and you will find that the satisfaction you feel improves every other aspect of your life and your children’s life as they grow into giving and charitable adults.
What are some other ways you volunteer?