Volunteering with a charitable organization is not just good for the world, it’s good for you. The mental health benefits of altruism are well documented, and there is also evidence that it could lower blood pressure. However, getting involved in charitable work as a family can be even more rewarding, allowing you to strengthen family bonds while teaching your children the importance of selflessness. Lunch Break presents some tips and resources to help your kids get involved.
Why Volunteer as a Family?
We know that volunteering is good for adults, but what about children? According to research by the Corporation for National & Community Service, children who volunteer are three times more likely to volunteer as adults, allowing them to reap the benefits of altruism throughout their life. They are also 50 percent less likely to use drugs or engage in destructive behaviors in their youth.
Aside from the statistics, charitable work actively empowers your children to do something about the issues impacting the world. By volunteering as a family, you are showing your children they can bring positive change to their community and that everyone is capable of making a difference.
And then there’s the benefit to your family. Regularly volunteering for an activity gives you all the chance to talk, connect, and catch up away from school, jobs, homework, television, and smartphones.
Start in Your Community
There may be a lot of opportunities in your neighborhood to help. If you have a senior in your neighborhood, consider reaching out to help with their home. Maybe they have maintenance issues or could use some aging-in-place upgrades. By lending a hand, you could effectively help improve their home’s value, which is important if they decide to downsize or transition to senior living.
Go to a Shelter
Kids love animals, and one way to get them excited about volunteering is by taking them to a shelter where they can learn to take care of dogs, cats, and other pets. Many animal shelters welcome volunteering families, although many will specify a minimum age. Check with your local shelter for more information.
You might need to have a difficult conversation with your children about the realities of an animal shelter, and you will have to impose some rules regarding adoption. However, your children will enjoy the opportunity to hang out with and help some animals, and the experience will help them develop a real understanding of animal care and its responsibilities.
Join a Community Garden
Getting involved in a community garden as a family is a great way to expand your social circle while educating your children on healthy eating, sustainable growing practices, and environmental issues.
This is particularly valuable if you live in an urban area, and your children do not interact with nature very often. Spending time outdoors with nature is incredibly good for their health, not to mention your own. Gardening is also a good form of exercise, meaning the whole family will get a workout.
Agreeing on An Activity Together
According to experts at Care.com, giving your children some input into the decision is essential, as it helps you choose an activity they truly enjoy. It also helps them feel involved from the beginning, making them more likely to be enthusiastic about the work.
Getting involved in charitable work as a family is one of the best things you can do to ensure your child grows up valuing compassion, empathy, and kindness toward others. It is also a great way to spend quality time together, allowing for collaboration and conversation in a way that is becoming increasingly rare. Keep an eye out for opportunities near you, and start volunteering together today.
Lunch Break strives to bring food, clothing, life skills, and fellowship to those in need. To learn more about our services or you know someone who needs our assistance, call (732) 747-8577.
Guest Blog ByCharlene Roth
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