Thank you to Disney and generationOn for sponsoring this post.
When is the last time your volunteered together as a family?
If you have to think about it, it has probably been too long. Volunteering together as a family is a great way to serve your community and spend quality time together as a family. Family Volunteer Day is held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on November 18th and it is an amazing opportunity to focus on the things that truly matter this holiday season.
My family has participated in Family Volunteer Day for the past several years and it has always been a great experience. My kids still talk about all the projects they’ve been able to be involved with over the years and they look forward to each opportunity they have to serve.
Family Volunteer Day is a global day of service created to encourage families to volunteer together in support of their neighborhoods and communities — not only on the day of the event, but also throughout the holiday season and every day during the year. It is sponsored by Disney (always one of our favorites) and generationOn.
Each year they provide opportunities for families to serve together
How are we serving this year?
Now that my oldest son is a teenager, he’s started taking the initiative and finding opportunities to serve on his own. Not long ago, he found out his friend was working on collecting and fixing up bikes for refugees so he pulled our family together to help. We choose to jump in because there is such a need within the refugee community in our area and we had been looking for ways to help.
It was a great experience for our whole family and I love that my son’s friend helped spark the desire to serve in my own family. They collected bikes, fixed them up, and brought them to refugee families who needed them for transportation. My son was even able to take things a step further and go help deliver the bikes. While he was there, he had the chance to help babysit some of the refugee children while their parents were busy collecting bikes and receiving training on important life skills and I know that is an experience that will stay with him for a long time.
I’ve seen my whole family get so much out of serving together. This holiday season, instead of getting distracted by gifts and to-do lists, find ways to get out and serve as a family.
Here are 7 Remarkable Reasons your Family Should be Volunteering:
Your kids need to see you giving service. Kids do what we do. If they see that service is important to us, they are more likely to grow up and become adults who serve their community. I still remember watching my parents serve. Those memories shaped the way I saw them and influenced who I became as an adult.
Service changes your heart. My boys still surprise me with how thoughtful they are sometimes, and I fully attribute that to giving them opportunities to serve, not just in the community but also within our family. My oldest son will often surprise me by making dinner, cleaning the kitchen, or helping with his younger sisters. Seeing that, I know he’s going to turn into an amazing adult and I’m so glad all my kids have opportunities to serve and allow it to change their heart, one piece at a time.
Your community has hidden needs. So often I talk to people who say, “but my community doesn’t have many serious needs”. Even if you are in a well-to-do community, you may be surprised by the needs that are out there. We had the opportunity a few years ago to volunteer as a family at a temporary homeless shelter. The shelter rotated between churches during the winter months. We saw families come through, yes families, who had absolutely nothing and it was devastating to see how much need there was.
You will discover your children’s strengths. During that same volunteer experience with the homeless shelter, my family had the chance to bring in a meal. My family helped to cook our portion and then we went to deliver it. I almost didn’t bring my kids, because I didn’t think there was much we could do at that point. After we had dropped the food off, I was surprised to find my playing with one of the children at the shelter. He was so comfortable and you could tell he really connected with the boy. As we were getting into the car, my son said, “wait. I need to do something.”. He had a brand new toy in our car that he had been looking forward to playing with. Without hesitation, he grabbed it and ran back into the shelter to hand it to the little boy he had been playing with. It was such a sweet moment and really helped me see what a kind heart my son has.
Kids need to feel needed. Everyone has something they can do to serve their community. For kids, this is especially important because finding ways to serve can help them realize that they have value. They can do things to help other people and serve in their local area. Growing up, we’d always hear about what we could do to have good self-esteem. As an adult, I’ve realized that service can do more for your self-esteem than any positive affirmations ever could. Give your kids the chance to improve their self-worth by giving them ways to serve others.
Serving makes you feel good. There are very few things that will help you feel happier than serving someone else. When my kids are feeling down, the first thing I tell them to do is find someone to serve. They often aren’t thrilled with the suggestion but when they give it a try, they always feel better.
Service isn’t about you. Despite all the benefits we get from serving, it really isn’t about us at all. Service isn’t about you. Service is about helping someone when they need help, supporting someone when they aren’t feeling strong. Service is about giving back to your community in a way that only you can do.
Looking for opportunities to volunteer as a family?
They not only have local service projects you can join in your own neighborhood, but they also have more than 100 DIY projects that you can do with your family.
After looking through the list, we found several that we want to do. Next on our list is creating a free bookshare box library in an area of our community that is in need.