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Get the whole family involved!

From United Way Worldwide:

Today, families are finding new ways to spend time together-and volunteering is one way to do just that.

Research has shown that volunteering as a family:

  • Helps families learn about social issues and provides a new perspective on the world
  • Provides positive role models and passes on family values to children
  • Provides new learning experiences and development of new skills for both children and adults
  • Provides quality time for the family to spend together
  • Increases interpersonal communication and the problem-solving abilities of family members
  • Helps youth decide what they want to do with their life

Why Children Should Volunteer

Kids have fun when they volunteer, but volunteering also:

  • Enhances 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. It also provides opportunities to apply newly learned material.
  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle and choices — Children who volunteer are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviors.
  • Teaches social responsibility — Volunteering helps children develop empathy and learn that one person can make a difference.
  • Creates 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.
  • Improves the community — Volunteer activities are essential for advancing the common good, and children can be part of the change.

Here are some ideas for volunteer projects that you and your family can enjoy together:

  1. Hold a bake sale, garage sale, craft sale or lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.
  2. Let your children pick out a few perishable good items each time you go to the grocery store and then deliver them to your local food bank or homeless shelter.
  3. Next time you visit your favorite beach, bring a trash bag (or three!) along and do a mini-beach cleanup.
  4. Collect your recyclable goods and use the money you earn to make a donation to your favorite charity.
  5. Collect used books from friends, family and neighbors and donate them to your local shelter, community center, literacy program or other charity of your choice.
  6. Volunteer as a family to work at the local animal shelter - your children can learn valuable lessons about responsibility, pet ownership and good old fashioned hard work!

These are only a few ideas, get creative and see what your family can come up with!