"Caring" Ideas for National Family Volunteer Day
In the same way you care for your family, your family can care for the community and world in which you live! National Family Volunteer Day (the Saturday before Thanksgiving) is a day of service dedicated to celebrating the power of families working together to make a difference in their communities. Volunteering together instills and demonstrates the value of caring for others and builds a special closeness among your family itself. Families may not have a lot of extra money to donate, but serving together shows that acts of kindness are often equally or more important.
Four Ways Families Can Care Together & Change the World!
- Care for Your Neighbor: Encouraging social responsibility in kids starts close to home, and there are opportunities for even the smallest of kids to help out there. If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor, your family can work together to spruce up her landscaping and lawn. Make a meal and take it to your neighbor. Offer to take your neighbor’s trashcans to the curb. If your neighbor has a dog, offer to take it for a walk twice per week. If your neighbor doesn’t drive, offer to drive him to the grocery store periodically, and take the kids along to help put things in the cart and carry the bags out.
- Care for Your Neighborhood: Enlist the help of other families in your neighborhood for a Care for Our Park or School event, picking up litter and planting bulbs. Community ball fields often need re-striping or help with fence or bench maintenance. Younger family members can help with raking leaves and picking up trash. This type of action instills a sense of pride among the people who live there, making your neighborhood less vulnerable to teenage pranks and vandalism.
- Care for the Unfortunate: One of the best ways to foster kindness in your kids is to model caring for those less fortunate than yourselves. Even the youngest members of your family can participate in making Blessing Bags to distribute to the homeless, and keeping one or two bags in your car allows kids the opportunity to hand them out as they see needed. As the cooler weather sets in, conduct a coat drive, collecting gently used or new coats, mittens and/or boots in all sizes for donation to the local shelter. Collect canned food donations for the food bank. Showing your kids that even the most vulnerable neighbors are worthy of their time and effort builds a foundation of compassion that will serve everyone well.
- Care for the Animals: Show your kids that compassion extends beyond people! Gather pet toys, food and old towels to donate to the local animal shelter – ask your neighbors to donate items, too. If your local shelter allows it, schedule a regular time to help walk the shelter dogs, or volunteer your family to help staff adoption fairs. A trend among animal shelters is to recruit families to foster dogs and cats that are not yet ready for adoption – making a short term commitment to raise and socialize kittens in your home, for example. Just be aware that the term “foster failure” exists for a reason! Sometimes the family bonds with the foster pet, and it’s impossible to return it to the shelter.
How will your family practice acts of caring this November? Share with us on Facebook!