A long cherished tradition
Written by: Faisal Ikram, Volunteer MBC’s Coordinator of Marketing Communications
Volunteering as a family goes a long way in teaching your kids to be sensitive to the world around them. A family that combines its efforts together to help a cause has proven to have benefited by developing a stronger bond of togetherness, kindness, love and care.
Often volunteering is considered an act that requires formal association with a not for profit, however, volunteering is simply the act of giving back to the community. Whether there are two of you or you have a big extended family, if you combine efforts to help others - that's volunteering! Recent researchers have suggested that engaging parents and their children in service together has important positive outcomes for everyone involved.
There are many benefits to volunteering as a family, but here are our top 5:
- Kids and teens cultivate positive values, like empathy and develop a commitment to service, both, now and in the future.
- By participating in volunteer activities, kids and teens feel appreciated and respected, as well as learn new skills in the process.
- Parents get to spend quality time with their children in a positive environment, while serving as role models, leading by example and passing on important values.
- Families increase their sense of cohesion, well-being, and connections to the broader community.
- Have fun together free of charge.
- The combination of ages and generations within a family means they have everything needed to make meaningful change in the community: energy, creativity, passion, knowledge and experience, as well as different perspectives and skills.
When the family volunteers together, it helps children of all age groups grasp the ideas of being kind and helping others. These are great opportunities to talk to your child about volunteering and how you, as a family, can help make the world a better place! Also, when families volunteer together, it helps to build a better channel of communication in the family.
However, it is important to understand what kind of volunteering opportunity is better suited for the entire family. A bit of planning and research can help you find the right volunteering opportunity for the entire family. Keep in mind, when you consider your kids' ages, think about where they'll feel welcomed and where their skills can best be put to use.
We at Volunteer MBC have put together a list of Volunteer activities that the families can do as a family unit keeping in mind the age-group of the kids:
Kids 9 & Under
Plan to work alongside your children to guide and encourage them (plus keep an eye on them). That way you can share observations and later talk about the experience.
Kids 10 to 14
Look for opportunities where your middle school kids can have more independence. You don't necessarily have to work side by side plus it gives your child a chance to demonstrate more responsibility. Ensure any supervisory role you do play enhances your child's experience and strengthens their independent abilities.
Kids 15 & Older
Opportunities abound to volunteer with older kids. In addition, your child will be required to perform community service as part of their high school curriculum. Ask your child how you can help: be ready with encouragement and to roll up your sleeves!