Volunteering for community causes is something most of us think about — but we don't always take the time to do it. What if you could rally your whole family behind a local cause and volunteer together? You can when you participate in national Family Volunteer Day, which is on Nov. 23, 2013.
Family Volunteer Day is a Signature Points of Light Day of Service, and it falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. The Points of Light organization created Family Volunteer Day 22 years ago in an effort to highlight the benefits of family volunteering opportunities and to join forces with local community organizations that could use a helping hand. Families volunteering together provide a powerful force that can create big changes in their neighborhoods and communities — and in the world. This year, Family Volunteer Day is sponsored by Disney Friends for Change and is powered by generationOn, Points of Light's youth-service enterprise that provides tools and resources to help kids change the world — and themselves — through community service.
Volunteering together as a family has benefits that extend way beyond simply giving back. Families who volunteer together strengthen their bond by sharing an experience that benefits others while giving them a boost as well. In addition to these benefits, volunteering as a family provides children and their parents with an opportunity to see each other in a different light, even as role models. Family Volunteer Day is held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving as a great way to kick off the holiday season, but it's also the start of National Family Week.
According to the Family Volunteer Day site, research suggests that when parents and their children participate in service projects together, there are positive outcomes for everyone. The benefits are as follows:
Family service benefits children and youth by cultivating positive values such as caring and empathy and by developing a commitment to service both now and in the future.
Family service benefits parents by giving them more quality time with their children and by providing them with all the other benefits of volunteering, including increased interpersonal skills and improved health.
Family service benefits families by increasing their sense of cohesion, well-being and connection to the broader community.
Family service benefits sponsoring organizations and civic life by attracting more volunteers, increasing volunteer commitment and bringing new energy to traditional volunteer opportunities.
It might seem difficult to find a volunteer opportunity that fits all members of your family, but most community organizations that need help have multiple needs to be filled. Here are a few ideas to spark your family in their quest for an opportunity that everyone can participate in.
Would your family like to get involved in volunteering together? You can search for volunteer opportunities by area of interest and zip code on the Points of Light website, or you can contact your local Chamber of Commerce or community center for opportunities in your local area. Volunteer together to grow together — not just on Nov. 23, but year-round.
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