Not only will volunteering as a family help you grow closer to one another, but there are some other benefits as well (especially for the kids). For young children, helping others can:
- Instill a good work ethic
- Build self-confidence
- Provide positive role models
- Enhance communication skills
- Supply work experience
- Help develop leadership skills
- Open valuable networking opportunities
All of these qualities combined create a more responsible, more socially conscious citizen -- which are valuable attributes for community members, young and old, to possess. Studies also show that people who volunteer at a young age will continue to volunteer as adults [source: Stratton].
As a young volunteer, your child's awareness of the social and economic situations will lead to better critical thinking and problem solving skills, which are useful both in and out of the classroom setting [source: Jackson].
And, as pointed out in the introduction to this article, volunteering is an inexpensive way to spend more time together as a family. In today's world, hectic schedules coupled with struggling incomes can create a deficit in the family-time department. Volunteering is an easy substitute for those family vacations that no longer fit into your monthly budget. With some activities, there is a minimal cost involved, but with others, all you need to give is your time and energy.
If you haven't yet found the right fit for your family, see the next page for links to more information on group volunteering opportunities.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Earthday Network. (Accessed 5/5/09).http://www.earthday.net/
- Jackson, Nancy Mann. "Six Reasons Why Your Family Should Volunteer." Parenthood. (Accessed 5/12/09). http://www.parenthood.com/article-topics/6_reasons_why_your_family_should_volunteer.html
- Khaitan, Rayna. "The Joy of Family Volunteering." Family Fun. (Accessed 5/11/09). http://familyfun.go.com/parenting/learn/activities/feature/dony1101volunteer/dony1101volunteer.html
- Nefstead, Scott and Sheryl Nefstead. "Recruitment Tips for a Mentoring Program." University of Minnesota Extension. 2005. (Accessed 5/12/09). http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/citizenship/DH6497.html
- Saad, Lydia. "Despite Economy, Charitable Donors, Volunteers Keep Giving." Gallop Polls. December 19, 2008. (Accessed 5/13/09). http://www.gallup.com/poll/113497/Despite-Economy-Charitable-Donors-Volunteers-Keep-Giving.aspx
- Stratton, Jim. "Today's Volunteers -- Tomorrow's Leaders." Boys and Girls Clubs of America. (Accessed 5/13/09). http://www.bgca.org/connections/05_summer/story3.html
- United Way. "Volunteer as a Family." (Accessed 5/12/09). http://www.liveunited.org/volunteer/family.cfm