The Benefits of Volunteering as a Family

Last updated on June 7th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Volunteer MatchLooking for ways to keep your kids busy and entertained during summer vacation? Consider volunteering as a family. There are many opportunities available for adults and kids to volunteer together to support a cause or make a difference in the lives of others.

Volunteerism has many benefits for families and especially for children. Spending time volunteering as a family promotes togetherness and family bonding as you all work towards a common goal. Through helping others, kids learn selflessness, compassion, empathy and responsibility. They may also learn more about the world around them and the rich diversity of our society. Volunteering can also teach new skills and give kids the opportunity to share their talents and abilities.

When my kids were younger, they enjoyed creating cards and pictures for hospice patients. A family friend is a hospice social worker and would deliver their creations to her patients. The patients loved them and it made them feel good that someone was thinking of them and cared about them in their time of need. My children felt good because they were bringing some joy into the life of someone who was in distress. My oldest also spent 3 years volunteering at a therapeutic horse riding facility that worked with children with disabilities and special needs. The experience of volunteering with these children inspired my child to learn sign language tovolunteer with kids better communicate with the children who were hearing impaired. It was an amazing experience that taught my child many lessons; such as, looking past disabilities to discover a person’s abilities, empathy, responsibility for the children and taking care of the horses, communication, teamwork, and much more. Our family has also enjoyed volunteering at a local food bank packing boxes for Christmas for children in third world countries. It was a good way for our kids to learn appreciation and gratitude for all the things in their lives they took for granted.

Volunteering can also be a therapeutic way to help children cope after a tragedy or disaster. Here in my home state of Oklahoma, we’ve been hit hard by several devastating tornadoes and severe storms in the past couple of weeks. The destruction and loss of life has left many feeling anxious, sad, and helpless. I was feeling that way myself and it helped me greatly to go volunteer to help victims. While children may not be able to help with clean up efforts after a natural disaster, they can volunteer in many other ways. For example, a preteen girl in Tulsa has partnered with Build-a-Bear to raise funds to give bears to children whose homes were destroyed. Some young girls had a lemonade stand to raise money for storm victims. A teenage boy has started a book drive for the two elementary schools that were hit by the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. These are just a few ways kids are getting involved and volunteering their time and abilities to help. Volunteering can help kids feel less anxious and give them a sense of empowerment and community in times of tragedy. It can also help them learn what happened and show them how people come together in times of trouble to care for each other, which may offer them some reassurance and comfort.

I was asked last week to speak on this topic on Fox 23’s Great Day Green Country show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here I share more tips for volunteering as a family:

If you want to volunteer as a family in your area but aren’t sure where to start, check out VolunteerMatch.org for opportunities for all ages.

About the Author

Tamara Walker, R.N., aka “MomRN”, is the mom of two teenagers, a registered nurse, a child safety expert and instructor, and host of the “Ask MomRN Show”. Her passions are to help parents as they navigate the journey through parenthood and to protect children of all ages. Her websites are http://www.MomRN.com and http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FlyLady.MomRN has been a member of the PedSafe Expert team

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