How to volunteer as a family
What are you and your family passionate about? Do you love animals or learning about cultures around the world? Do you like science projects or cooking meals? All of these skills and passions can be used to help make a difference in the world.
You and your family can volunteer to share your talents with an organization and not only better someone else’s life, but also your own.
You and you kids may have done volunteer projects separately, but have you ever gone together? Research has show there are many benefits of volunteering as a family, including:
- 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
Tips for family volunteering
GenerationOn, a global youth service movement, has 10 tips for guaranteeing volunteer success:
- Pick an activity all can enjoy.
- Ask about: ages, safety, dress & training.
- Try it before committing long term!
- Be prompt, courteous & eager to help.
- Praise & encourage little ones’ “big” efforts!
- How was it? Swap thoughts & stories.
- Celebrate! What a great achievement!
- Scrapbook memories & keep a volunteer calendar.
- Ready for more? Brainstorm ideas together!
- Invite other friends & families along next time.
Picking a nonprofit
Deciding where to volunteer can be easy – just think about your skills and passions:
- Cooking – If you like to cook, volunteer at a soup kitchen or meal service.
- Construction – If you can build or paint, volunteer somewhere that builds homes for those in need.
- Listening and storytelling – If you are all about the spoken word, visit patients at a hospital or residents at a nursing home.
- Animals – If you love pets, volunteer to help clean up after and entertain the pets at a local animal shelter.
If your kids are too young to participate in volunteering outside the home, start projects at home. Examples:
- Collect toiletry items for homeless shelters
- Collect toys for kids in need
- Collect books for a school library
- Send care packages to soldiers
- Write a letter to your congressperson about an issue you care about
- Create a lemonade stand or have a garage sale to raise money to donate to your favorite cause
Still can’t think of a project you would enjoy? Well, there is a website for that! Volunteer Match will help you get in touch with a cause you care about.