Encourage your children early on to become “Goodwill Ambassadors” by including them in your projects. They are naturally curious about what you are doing, so why not show them? Explain what you are doing and why; then take them along on your mission. Make your kids feel important by assigning them special projects.
Here are five ways to involve your kids in community service activities:
• Work at a community food bank – This is a perfect way to teach your children responsibility by committing them to a project and having them see it through. In Stockbridge, Georgia, the Helping in His Hands Food Pantry is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to help provide food and other essentials for families in need. This organization is always looking for volunteers to stock shelves, break down boxes, work the grocery assembly line, and to help load cars.
• Arrange a garbage detail – If you have younger children, this is one of the simplest ways to work together as a family. Get your gang together, grab some garbage bags and venture out into the community. Supervise and praise your smaller children as they pick up paper and other trash. This will give them a sense of pride that they are helping. Cutting back on recreation time to help in a cleanup teaches your children that there are important things besides their immediate needs.
• Visit the elderly – Find a local senior citizen home and schedule regular visits. Many elderly spend long hours alone and are more than happy to welcome visitors. Let each family member spend time with individuals playing games, reading books, telling or listening to stories, or taking walks together. This act helps your children develop empathy and compassion for others.
• Help repair and renovate projects for low-income residents – While younger children might not be suited to do the large jobs, you can still include them by assigning them as your “wing-man”. They can help out by handing you items as you work, holding tools, picking up small debris and even serving drinks to the workers. Such volunteer work helps your kids develop valuable job skills they can use in future careers.
• Conduct a donation drive for an animal shelter – While most animal shelter volunteers must be 16 years or older, children of any age can be part of a donation drive. Many shelters need items for their animals. Contact your local one to find out what they need. Then organize a drive by sending out the shelter’s “wish list” to friends and family. Let your children collect and deliver the items to the shelter. Make sure they also send Thank You cards to all donors. This gracious deed empowers your children to feel like they can make a difference.
Everyone benefits from volunteering; so get your kids involved in community service activities today!