Set a good example for kids of all ages. November 19 is Family Volunteer Day!

family-volunteer-dayFamily Volunteer Day is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Volunteering is a great way for kids and adults to make new friends, develop compassion for their neighbors, and even pick up a new skill or two!.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to make a big difference.

There are lots of easy and fun ways to get involved no matter how much time you have.  From small acts of kindness like donating books or toys to enlisting your family to take part in a community service project, doing good with your family is easy and the list of possible activities is endless.

According to author  Karen Bantuveris of VolunteerSpot in a recent Parenting Magazine article entitled Simple Ways to Volunteer with your Family this Holiday SeasonHere are some ideas for service activities for kids of all ages:

Younger kids can:

  • Decorate reusable grocery bags and fill them with their favorite non-perishable food items.  Feeding America offers a Food Bank locator, searchable by zip code.
  • Stuff new, warm socks with water bottles and granola bars to give to homeless men and women you pass on street corners.
  • Decorate holiday cards for soldiers overseas. Red Cross-sponsored Holiday Mail for Heroes will deliver letters postmarked before Dec. 10, 2010.

Older kids can:

  • Donate their gently used books and DVDs to a local children’s hospital.
  • Make holiday decorations and sing songs for nursing home residents. Call ahead to schedule a visit.
  • Rake Leaves or shovel snow for an elderly neighbor.
  • Collect used towels and pet toys for the local animal shelter.
  • Host a hot chocolate or cider stand and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choosing.
  • Adopt a family for the Holidays through a local business or faith group, and have your kids help with the shopping for that family.

Making volunteerism “stick”

Volunteering as a family while kids are young cultivates a positive service habit that sticks long into adulthood. Here are a few tips to help ensure your kids understand the impact of their good work.

  • If donating goods or money to a local charity, deliver the items in person with your kids so they can better visualize how they made a difference.
  • Be sure to talk about your family’s service experience. Discuss what you did, why you did it, how it felt, and what you learned.
  • Celebrate your service!
  • Build on your kids’ enthusiasm and choose your next service project together.

Family volunteering resources

To learn more, visit Family Volunteer Day.

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