Volunteering as a Family
Today, families are finding new and creative ways to spend time together. Volunteering is one way to do just that. And, you not only strengthen the community, but also enjoy a positive impact within your family. Research has shown that volunteering as a family:
- Increases understanding of social issues
- Provides positive role models and passes on family values to children
- Provides new learning experiences and skills for both children and adults
- Provides a rewarding opportunity for quality time
- Increases communication between family members
- Increases problem-solving ability of family members
Before making the commitment to volunteer together, there are several important issues for your family to consider:
- It can be helpful to start slowly. Consider a one-time or short-term activity before making a long-term volunteering commitment.
- Consider doing your volunteer activity with other family groups (PTAs, religious organizations, neighbors or workplace groups).
- Consider everyone’s busy schedule when volunteering as a family. You may decide to volunteer individually at different times.
- If volunteering with children, be prepared by asking about any issues related to their needs or safety concerns before making a volunteering commitment.
During and After the Volunteer Project
- Take responsibility for supervising your children. Their experience and that of anyone working with you will be more positive and rewarding if everyone is focused on the work to be done.
- Talk openly about your experiences on the drive home, during meals or whenever your family has time together. Family members will continue to benefit from the opportunity by taking the time to discuss everyone’s reactions to the activities.
- Let your volunteer coordinator know if your family has any special concerns or problems, and discuss how you can work together for a satisfactory solution. Share your positive experiences, too!
- Keep a journal with photos and stories of your family’s volunteer activities so you can share your experiences with relatives, co-workers and friends.
- Have fun! Remember the positive impact you are making on yourself, your family, and your community.
Be proud of what your family has accomplished. Your family will continue to enjoy the benefits of volunteering together as you move on to future projects.