This year make a commitment to get your kids more involved in your community. There are plenty of fun volunteer activities that can include your whole family.
Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale
Ask neighbors to participate, and to contribute a percentage of their profit to a local charity, such as an animal shelter or food pantry. Your kids can help design, print and pass out fliers. They can blow up balloons on sale day, or paint poster-sized signs for your yard, the neighbors and nearby intersections.
High schoolers can be asked to photograph the day’s activities, and even create an online album to commemorate the event. Encouraging them to get involved, in whatever way they’re comfortable, is a great way to build confidence and a sense of community. Afterwards, ask them to help collect the funds and send thank you notes to the other families with an update on the grand total collected and how the charity plans to use the funds.
Squeaky-Clean Block Day
If your neighborhood is in need of a little sprucing up, organize a clean up day. Post flyers on nearby houses and invite participants to have cookies and lemonade, or a similar treat, afterwards. If there is a large amount of trash, ask the local government to provide an extra trash or recycling collection that day. Plan games or a competition to see who can collect the most bottles or cans, and offer small prizes like a gift card to a local restaurant.
Extra-special Meal Delivery
Offer to volunteer the family, and its vehicle, to Meals-on-Wheels on an upcoming holiday. Ask your children to create something, like a card with a positive message, or a colorful hand-crafted item, to deliver with each meal. Kids can also help carry items to each residence, chart the route, or even help volunteer in the meal preparation, if they’re old enough. Giving should be its own reward, but it wouldn’t hurt to plan a small surprise, such as pizza or a special dessert, for your own crew if they all work hard.
Older kids and teens are welcome to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity if their parents come along. Sometimes a project that produces concrete results can reach young people who are self-absorbed, or addicted to their tech gadgets. The physical activity, meeting the prospective homeowners and other volunteers, and seeing their contribution make a difference in someone else’s life, can really inspire kids. Don’t be surprised if they come home tired and covered with sawdust or paint–and ask you if they can do it again!
More and More Murals
If you notice any graffiti or ugly brick walls in your neighborhood, check with the local government about painting a mural on it. Consult with your local art teachers to gather ideas and plan the project. Ask kids to pass out fliers inviting local residents and businesses to donate supplies or lend equipment. You could even organize a design contest, with the winner’s artwork featured on a portion of the wall. Perhaps a local business can be convinced to sponsor the event, in exchange for publicity. On a painting day, have different teams assigned to prep the area, paint it, and clean up afterward. A separate team can oversee a refreshment table, a bake sale, or provide musical entertainment while everyone else is painting.
These activities help build awareness in young people, who might not otherwise sympathize with stray animals or residents of a nursing home. HBNewsNetwork.com has tons of creative ideas to build relationships with your own family, friends and neighbors.