One of the most important lessons a child can learn is the value of being kind and helping others. The best way that this lesson can be taught is through volunteering as a family in the community. Not only does it give kids a wider view of the world, but they also make new friends and see how even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference in someone else’s life. But when families volunteer together, everyone benefits from the experience.
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Better Community Through Family Volunteers
One of the interesting aspects of volunteerism is that while you are helping someone else, you also benefit emotionally and psychologically from the experience. Nonprofit organizations are dedicated to serving the needs of the community. When families volunteer together, they also experience benefits by developing or deepening bonds with each other.
When young people and older adults have the opportunity to work together, they get to know each other better and share life experiences while also working to make their community better. And it helps kids who may see grandparents as frail and needing life alert systems in case they fall to see that all people of all ages have their particular needs for assistance, not just old people and not just their own family.
Bonding across generations is the hallmark of a strong family life. The generation often identifies the people that they were born to. You may be a Baby Boomer, a Gen Xer, or a Millennial. This means that you may have different perspectives and life experiences. While these may be stereotypes, it does mean that each generation can learn from one another. One way to do this is to cultivate relationships through service.
Benefits of Volunteering as a Family
Teaching children about the value of service helps everyone. Not only do you help yourself, but you’ll find unexpected benefits. Throughout a volunteering project, a young person will often learn new skills from a grandparent or parent demonstrating something not known before. This is a unique opportunity for grandparents and parents to share some of their life skills with the new generation while still helping others in their community. Just giving some of your time and talents helps build family ties but it also builds the community.
People who volunteer have better health because of increased activity and social interaction. All people can experience the benefits of volunteering, but the impact is even stronger when families work together. Young and old learn life lessons and build deeper bonds. Take a deeper look into the volunteer experience for everyone in the family.
How Older Family Members Benefit
While volunteering with their children and grandchildren can build deeper bonds for older family members and help them if they feel isolated and somewhat depressed. It also means that the person will have to move which helps with any mobility issues. The other benefit is that because they have to figure out a particular task, the work can help sustain mental capacity. Many say they enjoy having a reason to get up in the morning. They know that they are helping a child or a neighbor. Everyone needs to know that they are still valuable and needed.
And for the parent generation busy with work, while you might not be able to join AmeriCorps, as an adult, you can make an impact by building up your community and getting your own parents and children to join in. Everyone can learn the benefits of service together and learn from each other.
Benefits for Teens and Kids
Perhaps the most important lesson children learn is seeing the world as a wider place. Through helping others, they learn from their parents and grandparents, but they also learn from the people they help. If you come from a middle-income family, it may be hard to understand the difficulties that other school friends face every day. This opens new communication and helps develop new friendships. Through working together, generations can teach each other but young people can also learn about helping their neighbors. It helps children and adults look beyond themselves to the wider community.
Finding Volunteer Opportunities
First, decide on the area that everyone wants to work on. It could be helping the elderly with food or home maintenance. It could be working with animals who want to be adopted. It could be creating enjoyable green spaces so that everyone could enjoy them. There are many options. You can also help disabled people through therapeutic equestrian services. Nonprofit agencies focus on areas of need within the community, so you can decide as a family on a particular nonprofit. Maybe you just help an elderly neighbor get her groceries or assist a blind person across the street. While these are small acts of kindness, they are what volunteerism is all about; giving of yourself to help others.
There are several places where you can find ways to support your community. Your local volunteer center is the first place to start. Other options are websites like VolunteerMatch.com which can help you find the right opportunity for you and your family.
Intergenerational volunteerism helps everyone from grandparents and parents to children. It not only helps the community, but it can also build stronger bonds between the entire family. Giving is a part of the human experience, but it is one that has to be learned. From grandparents to children, the experience can make a difference in so many people’s lives, not only your family.
Featured Photo by Ron Lach : https://www.pexels.com/