giving back

Social Responsibility: How to Find Service Opportunities

giving backbettering communities

One of my favorite things about being a mom is how parenting has forced me to pull back and look at the world in the long view. Parenting has forced me to think of the world at large and not just my little corner of it, and as a result, I’ve found myself longing to do good more than I did when I was young and single.

Did you know as recently as the 1970s, the average American belonged to half-dozen or more civic organizations that did volunteer work in their communities? Lions Clubs, the Masons, Rotaries, Chambers of Commerce, etc. Today, we’re lucky to be involved with even one. It’s no wonder everyone joins social media sites like crazy; we miss that connection, not to mention the opportunities for doing social good.

I’m one of those people who doesn't have much outside organizational involvement, I admit. But when choosing a church for my family, one of the conditions for me was that the church “walked the walk,” instead of just talking the talk. My church does many outreach activities, including a monthly dinner at a homeless shelter. This outreach is particularly dear to me. As a recovering alcoholic, I know that the ranks of the homeless are filled with addicts who haven’t been able to find recovery, and reaching out to them with this dinner has helped me connect with them and serve as proof that recovery is possible. Helping the homeless has actually become a family issue; my husband does outreach and photography of the homeless here in Philadelphia as well.

But I haven’t stopped there. Because of my large social media footprint, I try to use that for social good as well. I help promote a variety of women and children related non-profit organizations, particularly those that focus on women’s health. It’s not the same as being hands-on, I realize that, but sometimes it’s better than nothing.

I want to instill social responsibility in my daughter; I’ve considered taking her to the homeless dinner but, unfortunately, the facility isn’t zoned for children. But I talk with her about helping people, about how important it is to reach out a hand and help whenever you can. One of the (very small) things I’ve done is helping her pick out (gently used) clothes and toys to give to our local battered women and children’s shelter. She loves knowing that her “stuff” is going to other kids in need. I’m not sure you can teach generosity, but I’m going to give it a shot.

I wish I could do more; as is typical today, time is at a premium. I work hard, and make my family a priority, and it can be hard to remember that there are plenty of families in need out there, too. One of the ways that I’ve managed to free up my time has been to make sure I keep myself focused and organized; it’s one of the great gifts that working with a startup (that happens to focus on organization!) has given me.

What are you doing to teach your children about social responsibility?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Cecily Kellogg is the mom of near six-year-old daughter, a wife, and the social media strategist for AboutOne, an online family organizer that turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your existing calendar and contact tools so you can automatically organize, store, and share family memories and household paperwork. Through web and mobile apps, AboutOne guides you along the path to organization, rewarding you along the way for meeting your organizational goals.

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