Volunteering is more of an attitude than it is an action. As I was growing up that helping attitude was demonstrated in my parents and grandparents. I learned by example. Hopefully my daughters are learning to volunteer by my example.
Volunteers by vastateparksstaff on flickr
Volunteering with the elderly
One of the first volunteer areas I learned about was with the elderly. My grandparents ‘adopted’ several people who lived at their local nursing home. Little things made these resident’s days since they had no family that visited or saw to their care. Nursing homes are always looking for volunteers. Beyond formal volunteering such as that there are also opportunities in your everyday. Lead by example by being a reaching arm in the store, sending extra cookies to the elderly neighbor, or asking if they need help with something. Be aware that they may refuse formal help, but a bit of thoughtfulness here and there will be appreciated.Helping with other children is also an opportunity for volunteers. Churches libraries and other community organizations are often looking for helpers in classes and for special events child care. This is an excellent opportunity for older children and teens that may lead to future baby sitting jobs. In your neighborhood, a young or single mother may like a friend whose kids can play with yours or may exchange baby sitting with you.
Where to start volunteering
Your neighborhood can be a excellent place to start volunteering. As you and your family take a walk you could pick up litter. If you or your older child is mowing or doing other yard work you could ask to see if your neighbor would like help with their own yard work. My daughters and I bake cookies at the holidays and then go caroling to distribute them. We are more than rewarded with smiles.
In your own home, I am sure you will see some volunteering occurring. It may be one child doing a chore for another. It may be one child making cookies to brighten another family member or friend’s day. It could even be bathing the dog instead of just complaining that he smells.
Volunteering does not have to a formal set activity. It can be an attitude that allows you to be a helping hand where it is needed. Challenge your family to find something to help others with once a week. You can increase this goal overtime and before you know it volunteering will be a way of life. By definition there is no monetary reward for volunteering, but there are benefits that you will discover for yourself