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I’m labeling myself as one of those “seasonal” volunteers…and trying not to be. We all deal with that on a yearly basis, right? We know how important it is to volunteer and to give back to the community, but then life happens and we find ourselves only being giving to others during the holiday season because that is what our schedule allows. Sounds all too familiar, right? Well, sad to say…it happened again to me this year. (I’ve got to stop this vicious cycle!!!) My goal for the new year, and the remainder of this year? To up our game of being able to volunteer as a family.
It CAN be difficult to find locations that will allow children to volunteer, but not impossible. There are always ways to get involved and to have your children get involved too. It teaches them so much and instead of constantly lecturing them on how important it is to give back, you show them. I’m a hand-on-learning and teaching kinda gal, how bout you?
So, what ways can a family volunteer?
- Check out local churches and shelters. They may not allow children to help volunteer at serving meals, etc., but if not, then ask if they need help with donations and have your family start a coat drive or a blanket drive, etc.
- Animal shelters always seem to be in need of volunteers. Either there, showing the animals some love or by donating food/litter/toys. We are actually fosters are our local shelter and take cats home here and there to give them time away from the shelter and to have human interaction. I think at last count, we have fostered over 18 cats!!!!! and fostering works so great for us! Why? Well, none of us agree on the type of cat that we want….My husband wants a large cat that is a lap buddy, my girls each want a cat that will forever remain a kitten that they can lug around and dress up in clothes (truth!) and me? I want a hairless cat that I can have sitting on my shoulder and I can just walk around the house with it being my buddy. So, see? All totally different wants but we compromised and found a way to make everyone happy. (well, no hairless cats yet…but fingers crossed!!)
- Give gift bags. This is another great way that my family was able to get involved. We made an assembly line and we made up PB & J sandwiches, chips and water bottles and put all items in a brown bag. We then drove around town, located those in need, and offered. In one day alone, we handed out over 50 gift bags to those who were hungry or needed food for later on. We made certain to pack items that wouldn’t spoil and would last for quite some time if needed. It was amazing to be able to help in that capacity.
- Donate your time at local festivals. My daughter and I found a way to be involved with an art gallery here and town and we donated our time to run the Welcome booth were we handed out cookies and apple cider. and by handing out…I mean, one for them, one for us kinda thing. 😉 We may have eaten our fair show of cookies, but it was so awesome to be able to see and interact with local artists and to have our daughter exposed to that. The cookies were just a bonus.
- Get active in your local school! This is a biggie for our family. We help out when we can and children are usually always welcome to help because it’s based in a school! 🙂 We help clean up after the carnival, we donate our time and efforts to help fundraise for the PTA…it’s all very enjoyable and extra bonus? Keeps us involved and in the know of what is going on as well!
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There are so many ways to volunteer as a family. Just remember: Volunteering doesn’t mean that you have to physically be there on location. Offer to take something home and work on it, or make calls for them, or hand out flyers, etc. True volunteering comes in all forms with the bottom line being that you are helping them by donating your time to whatever they feel that they need help with. Win/win, right?
So, are you a “seasonal” volunteer like me? or would you like to become a little bit more well-rounded?