Community Service and Family Volunteering (page 2)
Show your teens just how much they matter, not only to you, but also to the world.
Encourage your teen or pre-teen to do community service.
Research shows that doing regular community service can help boost teens' self-esteem, teach them about social issues, and lead to success in school and beyond. It may even help them avoid problems like drugs, pregnancy, and trouble with the police.
One of the best ways is to volunteer as a family
If you are like most people, there simply isn't enough time in the day. You have so many demands on your time as it is...from what your boss wants you to do...to doing what your children want you to do. With all the things in your busy schedule, you can't see how you can become a volunteer, even if you really want to help solve community problems. Your teen probably feels the same way.
Well, where there's a will, there's a way&volunteer together. Family volunteering can be initiated by young children, by teenagers, by grandparents, by anyone who has an interest in contributing to their community. There's a role for everyone in family volunteering.
Families that volunteer together will benefit because it:
- Is fun!
- Is satisfying.
- Strengthens families.
- Helps others and strengthens communities.
- Improves family communication.
- Helps create a new generation of dedicated volunteers.
- Teaches kids values like kindness, empathy, respect, friendliness and tolerance.
- Teaches responsibility.
- Teaches useful skills and lets teens explore possible careers.
- Is a good way to meet people or make new friends.
- Gives everyone in the family a new perspective on life.
- Lets teens be a voice for teens, in general.
- Changes lives.
Family volunteering makes a difference
- Family volunteering lets people volunteer even though they have other responsibilities like taking care of children or seniors.
- Family volunteering allows teens and their families to take responsibility for their community. Empowered family volunteers can work to identify and solve their own needs and the needs of those around them.
- Family volunteering strengthens family bonds and communication. It involves parents as proactive role models.
Tips for Volunteering
- Find something that fits your family's interests. Talk about it together.
- Try to find something where children and teens can help plan the activity.
- Be flexible. You may not find the perfect situation right away.
- Start small. Find something that fits your schedule. Do not commit yourself to something you really cannot follow through on.
- Find out what's expected of you or your family. Ask if you will get any training first.
- Be responsible. Show up on time. Dress appropriately. Be ready to do what is needed.
- Make it fun.
- Take time afterward to reflect on the activity. Talk about what you did, why you did it, how it felt, and what you learned.
- Do not forget to celebrate your efforts. It will make all of you feel like doing it again.
The Joy of Family Volunteering
Learning to lend a hand: Fostering the volunteer spirit among children
KidsHealth (Nemours Foundation)
Community Service: A Family's Guide to Getting Involved (for parents)
Volunteering: Why Helping Out is In (for teens)
1 Child Trends. 2001. Civic Engagement Programs And Youth Development: A Synthesis. Villaire, T. Learning to lend a hand: Fostering the volunteer spirit among children. National PTA. Search Institute. 2000. 40 Developmental Assets.
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