20 Ways your family can give back
Raising a compassionate child starts with parents leading by example. Acts of kindness do not have to be an individual effort, however. Working as a family to do community service, volunteer free time to local organizations, and coordinate charity efforts is not only a great way to help others -- it's a great way to grow as a family, too.
"Through volunteering, children feel valued, acquire new skills, and develop compassion and understanding for others," says Heather Jack, Founder of The Volunteer Family. "Parents are also given the opportunity to connect with members of their community while spending more time with their children and passing on important values at the same time."
Here are 20 ways your family can give back to the world around them.
Assisting children in need can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your lives and often hits home with young volunteers the most. Try a few of these ideas with your family:
- Donate backpacks and school supplies for less fortunate students at your local school.
- Donate toys or clothes to an orphanage year 'round, not just at Christmas.
- Organize sports events with children in low-income areas.
- Volunteer time at the library reading to children.
The elderly are often overlooked when the opportunity to volunteer arises; however, seniors are full of experiences, wisdom and hope that can be passed on to your brood. Take the time to help the elderly through these volunteer options:
- Make trinkets and hand-deliver them to a retirement home.
- Hold a bingo night at a nursing home.
- Volunteer to do yard work at an elderly neighbor's house.
- Spend time with a senior and listen to her stories.
Helping the less fortunate can help your family appreciate their own good fortune and understand others' difficulties. Some ways your family can give time to the homeless and the hungry:
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Have a canned food drive.
- Make blankets or knit scarves for a homeless shelter.
- Assemble bagged lunches for homeless children or a shelter.
Giving back to the community by helping animals is a rewarding way to spend time with your family. Here's how:
- Give time to an animal shelter or animal rescue such as LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-Racers.
- Host a party to which guests bring animal-oriented gifts for the local humane society.
- Make a birdhouse to shelter feathered friends in your yard.
- Adopt an animal from a shelter or a rescue.
Sick and disabled
Volunteer with your family to help the sick and disabled members of your community through goodwill actions:
- Organize a stuffed animal drive and donate to a local children's hospital
- Volunteer at or attend a Special Olympics event
- Participate in memorial walks or walk-a-thons, such as the Cupid's Chase 5K.
- Make crafts and gifts to donate to a local hospital.
There are so many opportunities to give. The hardest part is choosing! If you are looking for ways to give back that are specific to your community, check out TheVolunteerFamily.org or CMTOneCountry.com for local charities as well as other family-friendly ideas.