Giving back is always a rewarding experience worth your time and energy. As Money Crashers points out, “Volunteering doesn’t take any special skills or extensive experience—and there’s never a shortage of organizations looking for help.” Here are a few ways you and your family can get more involved in volunteering this year.
- Deliver meals. Drop off meals to those who are homebound and unable to get out or cook for themselves. Give them a smile to better their day.
- Mentor youth. Be a role model for the boys and girls club in your area and provide companionship as well as advice for struggling kids.
- Write grants. Lend your professional skills pro bono to help ensure your charity has the resources needed to lend a helping hand. If you’re good at marketing, raise awareness through an online campaign.
- Habitat for Humanity. Learn valuable construction skills and help make a home for someone in your community by building and funding it.
- The Red Cross. Giving blood is perhaps one of the easiest ways to give back. However, helping out during a natural disaster is another way the Red Cross allows you to serve your fellow man.
- Donations. Periodically go through your closet and eliminate things you no longer use or enjoy that someone else most likely will. This includes clothes or toys that can be given to a thrift store or charity such as the Goodwill or Salvation Army.
- Cleanup. Help make the community a better place by raking up leaves and shoveling snow for elderly neighbors. Kids can also pick up trash and recycling and plant flowers or trees within the town and its parks.
- Hospitals and nursing homes. Brighten elderly or sick people’s days by visiting with them or making cards and gift baskets to drop by.
- Feed the homeless. Stop by a food bank or kitchen and help out by donating canned goods or money as well as preparing and serving meals to those less fortunate. Your kids could also start a collection at their church or school to collect additional items that may be needed.
- Animal shelter or rescue. Animals are a great avenue to get your children interested in volunteer work. They can donate pet supplies such as food, treats, leashes, beds, and toys, as well as help walk the dogs and clean the shelter.
Find the time to give back by taking advantage of a company initiative or by redefining family time. In order to stick with it and really make a positive impact, you should pick the right organization for you based on your skill set and or interests. Fast Company recommends researching the cause to make sure it is trustworthy and then using it as an opportunity to connect with new people. Encourage your kids to grab a friend to bring along to make it a more fun experience. However, be realistic with your time constraints before you commit.
Chances are volunteering will bring you closer together as a family and teach your kids valuable lessons such as hard work, responsibility, empathy, and generosity. Giving back is not something that is reserved for the holidays or emergencies. Make it a habit and be sure your kids follow through with their promises and understand the power of sacrifice. They will likely inspire one another and see for themselves how fulfilling it can be to be involved in their community. Just one person and act can make a difference, no matter how small.
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