Can you remember the first time you made a difference in someone’s else’s life?
When was the first time you gave to charity or volunteered for something?
My first memory comes from my childhood. As a little girl, I remember taping flower bouquets to papers. I think I wrote my name across the bottom. I went around the neighborhood, placing them on doorsteps, ringing the bell, and running away. From those early days I knew I wanted to make a difference.
Fast forward some 30+ years, I’ve done a lot of volunteer work and I am still leaving things on doorsteps and disappearing. :) I’d like to think I am still making a difference, but these days it comes with a challenge. Not only do I want my service to be an example to my children, I want my children to have opportunities to make a difference to others and spread smiles throughout their community.
Consider this from the United Way,
“Research has shown that volunteering as a family:
- Helps families learn about social issues and provides a new perspective on the world
- Provides positive role models and passes on family values to children
- Provides new learning experiences and development of new skills for both children and adults
- Provides quality time for the family to spend together
- Increases interpersonal communication and the problem-solving abilities of family members
- Helps youth decide what they want to do with their life”
Consider this too, as we all rush from here to there, and there to here; shouldn’t the time we spend together be quality time? What better memories can you make than by doing something together that makes your community better?
Again from the United Way”
“Why Children Should Volunteer
Kids have fun when they volunteer, but volunteering also:
- Enhances development — Volunteering can benefit a child’s psychological, social and intellectual development. Volunteering increases self-esteem, responsibility and an interest in learning and helps children develop new social skills. It also provides opportunities to apply newly learned material.
- Promotes a healthy lifestyle and choices — Children who volunteer are less likely to become involved in at-risk behaviors.
- Teaches social responsibility — Volunteering helps children develop empathy and learn that one person can make a difference.
- Creates a lifelong ethic of service — Individuals who volunteer as a child or who observed their parents volunteering have a much higher probability of being a volunteer in their adult years.
- Improves the community — Volunteer activities are essential for advancing the common good, and children can be part of the change.”
It is with these ideas in mind that we are introducing our Make a Difference Monday column. We want to help connect you and your family with opportunities to volunteer and do community service, TOGETHER, as a family. We hope you will not just read the articles, but we hope you will, from time to time, join in on these opportunities. We’d love to hear about your family’s volunteering and see your pictures.
If you have a volunteer opportunity or community service project that is open to families, please tell us about it by emailing [email protected]