Simple ways for your family to volunteer

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Volunteering as a family is a wonderful way to teach children compassion, according to Parents Magazine.  When kids can get involved with volunteer activities at a young age it increases the likelihood that they will continue to volunteer later in life.

One of the easiest ways to get involved is to lookout for projects in your church or community that are easy, one-time commitments that can involve the whole family.

Here are a few ideas:

– Charity walk – not only is it provide a healthy habit, but it can benefit a local charity.

– Food drive – kids can help gather a bag of canned goods for the local food pantry.

– Animal shelter –  you could pick up needed items such as cat and dog food, cleaners, pet beds, or leashes.   Some shelters also often have dog-walk programs where everyone in the family can walk a dog for an hour or so.

Other options:

– Children’s hospital – some might welcome gently used books or DVDs.

– Nursing homes – Some have visitation programs where children can meet and learn something about an older person’s life.

However, for security reasons, hospitals and nursing homes often don’t welcome individual volunteers. You can, however, contact a group such as Volunteers of America or a local church to see the many ways you can help.

Families don’t even need to connect with a large organization. They can hold their own car wash, for example, and donate proceeds to a shelter or another local charity.

Once you find something that you enjoy doing as a family, you might be able to make an ongoing commitment. Even if it’s not a formal arrangement or event, parents can help spread the spirit of volunteerism in their children on a daily basis by teaching them to pick up trash in parks, serving in their church, or tutoring younger students after school.