Volunteering as a Family
September 18, 2013
No one has the exclusive rights to busy, but if you have a family you often feel as if you do. At the Community Foundation, we work with many families and know how difficult it can be just to get everyone together for dinner in the evening. And, as kids get older, they seem to get pulled in many directions on weekends and after school. But, spending time together is important and, if you’re looking for a fun and meaningful way to do this, consider volunteering together. It will take a bit of schedule juggling, but it can be done and it’s worth it.
Volunteering as a family to help others will not only provide an opportunity for you to spend time together, it will reinforce family values and allow your children to see firsthand the difference they can make, an empowering lesson for kids. We know the influence family has on kids and by volunteering together, your children will be inspired by seeing you and other role models help others. Beyond quality family time, many parents want their children to develop a perspective on the world outside of the ‘bubble’ we often find ourselves living in. Volunteering exposes us to issues facing our community and ways we can help address them. Looking for more reasons to volunteer with your kids? Not only will they have fun, volunteering will also:
- Enhance development — Volunteering can benefit a child’s psychological, social and intellectual development. Volunteering increases self-esteem, responsibility and an interest in learning and helps children develop new social skills.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle and choices — Children who serve are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviors.
- Teach life skills – Children who volunteer are exposed to new skills and perspectives necessary for a productive life including punctuality, reliability, task completion and getting along with others.
- Teach social responsibility — Volunteering helps children develop empathy and learn that one person can make a difference.
- Create a lifelong ethic of service — Individuals who volunteer as a child or who observed their parents volunteering have a much higher probability of being a volunteer in their adult years.
- Improve the community — Volunteer activities advance the common good, and children can be part of these efforts.
So are you on board? Stay tuned for next week’s column when we’ll talk about how to select a family volunteer project. Suggested Reading: