One of the many pressures of being a parent is setting a good example for your kids. It can be easy to be extra conscious of everything around you and how it affects your children. Since kids can absorb everything you say or do, it’s important that you’re sending the right message and are following up what you say with positive action. With summer rapidly approaching, here are some ways to volunteer within your local community while teaching your children the importance of helping others.
Giving back to the community is an extraordinary thing to do. There are organizations big and small that could use all the help they can get. This can mean an hour a month to every day of the year. At first, it may seem like there is simply not enough time to volunteer for any sort of charity or event, but there are several opportunities if you take some time to research your options.
Charities rely on volunteers to keep things moving, and while some do require a specific time commitment, most organizations are understanding of what it means to volunteer and request simply a few hours a month at most. Your time is valuable.
So, how to begin on the quest of being matched with the charity that works well for you? First, identify what interests you. Are you drawn to helping children? Literacy programs? Homeless shelters? What kind of cause speaks to you? It’s best to choose one that you have ties to or gravitate towards because you will be able to become more invested in your volunteer work. Research each group you’re interested in and check how the opportunities and availability needed works within your day-to-day life.
The next step is to quantify your time commitment. As mentioned before, some charities request that you dedicate at least six months of time or more depending on the type of organization, while others need help for different, shorter shifts. Consider the variables of your daily schedule. When are the kids at school? When are their functions? Have you set aside family time? Don’t feel obligated to fill every hour of your days, but if you find some free time during the week or weekend, volunteering is a great option. Bonus points if you turn volunteering into a family affair!
Once you’ve decided which charity you choose, make the commitment. Set it on your calendar as a recurring event and think of it as an appointment that can’t be missed. Remember that these types of organizations rely heavily on the work of volunteers to boost their worthy cause. However, if you decide that you cannot make an ongoing commitment at this time, you can always opt to volunteer on an event-only basis.
You can also volunteer at a local charity race or with an organization like the Special Olympics. Get some eSigns custom made banners to cheer on the participants. This will make them feel like rock stars and it will make you feel good too once you see the smiles on their faces. Every effort helps when it comes to volunteering, even if you feel like they are small.
Many groups have volunteer orientations that allow you to learn more about the organization and the different areas they need help in, so you can get a feel for what to expect. If unsure, never be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Even if you don’t see a position that you feel you’re quite fit for, share your skills and they most likely can find an opportunity for you.
Organizations will often throw parties or events to raise money for their charity. They need all hands on deck for this to be pulled off smoothly and the more volunteers the better. Depending on the charity, you can man a booth or sign up new volunteers. Susan G. Komen for the Cure hosts three-day walks at different locations nationwide all in the name of raising money and awareness for breast cancer research. If you can’t make the race, you can always be sure you’re sporting pink clothing or accessories for breast cancer awareness from an organization like Choose Hope.
If you don’t want to go through an organization, you can do something as simple as handing out little care packages to homeless people that include toothbrushes/toothpaste, deodorant, water bottles, and calling cards. You can also donate canned goods to your local food bank or clothing or home goods to your local Goodwill. Bonus: this will also reduce household clutter!
Volunteering shows your kids that it’s good to give back to those less fortunate or those that need a helping hand. Share your volunteer experiences with them and allow them to ask questions. Suggest a family volunteer date at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park. Quality time and setting a good example all at once is a win-win situation.