April is National Volunteer Month, which is the perfect time to talk about volunteering as a family. As a parent, I want to give my boys a sense of community—and a feeling of responsibility for that community. As we all know, it's important to model behaviors for our kids, so my guys have seen me give my time in their classrooms, on school committees, and with other organizations in our town. But even more key, I think, is getting them to help with volunteer projects from a young age. Over the years, Cooper, Bryce, and Ryan have helped gather native prairie plant seeds (picking flowers!), worked a food drive (showing their muscles by lifting heavy bags of groceries!), and walked in local Relay for Life events (a cause with real meaning to our family).
Here are a few ideas to help your family find inspiration for a project you can do together.
The Cunningham Family from Texas were the most recent winners in our FamilyFun/Disney Friends for Change Volunteers Contest. The family collects blankets and books for disadvantaged kids. You can read more about their efforts and those of our other 8 winning families here.
Kids and superheroes go together like Batman and Robin. FamilyFun teamed up with Craft Hope and Enchanted Makeovers to create these capes for kids in shelters.
I recently heard about this Bot Buddy Project for the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. You start with a plain domino, then use permanent markers to draw a robot friend who has special powers (joy, bravery, hope). The oh-so-sweet buddies are presented to kids in the hospital to help give them courage during their hospital stay. I love this idea, and my boys and I will be making some soon.
If you're planning ahead, Points of Light has a resource guide for Family Volunteer Day, which will be held on November 21.
Let us know what volunteer projects you and your family are working on.
This weekend, Senior Associate Editor Ellen Harter Wall and her sons, Ryan and Bryce, along with the coaches and members of the boys' lacrosse team, will be helping cleanup a local park.