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How to Encourage Your Family to Pursue Volunteer Opportunities

How to Encourage Your Family to Pursue Volunteer Opportunities
Written by Jennifer Landis

Volunteering is an awesome way to spend time with your family, do good for your community and even improve your resume.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community while doing something that will make you feel good about yourself. As an adult, volunteering is easy — you find somewhere to volunteer, and you do it. Getting your kids, especially teenagers, to volunteer is another matter entirely.

Volunteering is an excellent opportunity for the whole family to get involved, but getting them to do something for nothing can be tricky. Hell, kids don’t even lose their baby teeth without expecting a fairy to leave them money under their pillow. What can you do to encourage your family to pursue volunteer opportunities?

What Is Your Kid Interested In?

Do you have a teenager who has their heart set on being a vet when they graduate from high school? What about a young kid who wants to grow up to be a pediatrician? Volunteering can be one of the best ways to learn new skills to help them follow their dreams.

Find volunteer opportunities that cater to your family’s interests. They’re much more likely to want to volunteer if what they’re doing is part of their passions.

On the other side of the coin, volunteering is an excellent way to find new interests or things that will excite you in the future, or to try things you’ve always been curious about, but never had time to explore, all while doing something good for the people in your community.

Find Kid-Friendly Activities

There are tons of different types of volunteer work, and your kids won’t be suited for all of them. You can swing a hammer and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, but would you really want to live in a house a kid built?

Instead, take some time to find kid-friendly activities. Here are a few ideas.

  • Visiting nursing homes — Lots of assisted-living facilities are always looking for volunteers to come in and socialize with the residents, especially those who don’t have any family or don’t get frequent visitors.
  • Delivering meals — Meals on Wheels is probably the most famous meal delivery program, but your local city or town might have some programs you can volunteer for. Take your kids with you to deliver meals to the elderly or disabled.
  • Scheduling story time — If your kids are good at reading aloud, look for opportunities to share a story time. Nursing homes, hospitals and assisted-living facilities are all great places to volunteer.
  • Cleaning up — Find a location that has litter, and start cleaning it up. Kids, especially little kids, are well-suited for this activity. They’re closer to the ground, making it easier for them to pick up trash.
  • Petting some animals — Socializing a pound full of rescue dogs and cats is a monumental job, so animal rescues and sanctuaries are almost always looking for volunteers to walk dogs, pet cats or play with other animals.

It Looks Good in the Future

Volunteer work does much more than just making you feel good and improving your community. For teenagers, volunteer work looks impressive on future job and college applications. Employers are almost always more interested in hiring first-time workers with volunteer experience under their belts. It’s a good indicator of a potential employee’s work ethic, and showcases

they can follow direction and work as part of a team — skills that are essential to succeed in entry-level positions.

Colleges are also looking for individuals who have volunteer experience — they’re more likely to enroll a student who has volunteered over a student with equally good grades, but no experience.

How to Encourage Your Family to Volunteer

So, what can you do to encourage your family to get out there and spend some time volunteering?

  • Let them choose — Volunteering isn’t optional, but where they volunteer should be up to them. Let kids decide where they want to spend their time volunteering. It’s nearly impossible to keep teens motivated if they’re bored with something.
  • Encourage them to pursue their interests — No matter what your kids are interested in, it should be easy to find some volunteer work that enables them to pursue those interests.
  • Include their friends — Look for volunteer opportunities that allow your kids to include their friends. When it comes to volunteering, the more the merrier, and it works out well for the kids as well.

If you’re not sure where to start, try calling around or checking out sites like Volunteer Match, which is designed to help you find less obvious volunteer opportunities in your area.

Volunteering is an awesome way to spend time with your family, do good for your community and even improve your resume. Take some time to look for volunteer opportunities in your area. You might be surprised by what you find.

Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-AcceptanceAppreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer  the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have writtenIn that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.

Today, I have accepted that I can’t be perfect every day. And that it’s okay to take things one day at a time. 

2. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrastare there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating.

I’ve given birth and I’ve run a marathon and those have always been at the top of my list! It is wonderful feeling accomplished, and I am still setting up some new goals to follow. 

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.

I’ve given birth and I’ve run a marathon and those have always been at the top of my list! It is wonderful feeling accomplished, and I am still setting up some new goals to follow. 

4. Of course, we all have imperfections, or so we think. In truth, we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? Likewise, what imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I eat way too much peanut butter. 

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to appreciate and express all the positive traits that make you…well…YOU! In fact, sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (We assure you!) Therefore, Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

Bangs! I grow them out, and then get sad, and then cut them back in and am so happy again. 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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About the author

Jennifer Landis

Jennifer Landis is tea sipping, yoga loving mom, wife, and healthy living blogger. She enjoys a good run – once she gets past the 3-mile mark. You can check out her blog, Mindfulness Mama or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

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